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Paul Mc Girr U16 Championship Too Close To Call

Friday 22.12.2023
Team Talk Mag


History beckons in Pairc Gheardhromma Dromore this Saturday when two of Ulster’s most famous clubs seek to add their names to the illustrious list of winners of the Paul McGirr Ulster U16 Club Championship in what promises to be an intriguing tie between Armagh champions Dromintee and Tyrone’s Errigal Ciaran.  Both teams qualified in impressive style with comprehensive semi final victories and will be full of confidence heading into the decider, there will not be much between the teams and it could come down to whichever side gets over the nerves and settles into the game quickest.

Errigal came through a very tough Tyrone campaign before accounting for Kinawley in the Ulster semi final, probably the more physical of the two teams they have a very strong defense conceding only two scores in the semi final.  Team captain Paul McGinley and Lorcan McGarvey form a strong spine while wing backs Aodhan Quinn and Michael Mullin will both be trying to make penetrative runs deep into the Dromintee half. However there is no doubt that they will have their hands full on this occasion against a pacy and talented Dromintee attack. The Errigal management will be hoping their midfield pairing of the hard working Ciaran Mullin and towering Matthew Hacket can give them the upper hand and this is the area that could be key to deciding the game for the Tyrone kingpins.  Up front the highly talented Shea McDermott who has been making waves at school and inter county level will be the key threat and both Charlie Maguire and Dan Loughran also know where the posts are as the Dunmoyle men seek to put their name on the coveted Cuchaillan trophy for the first time.

Without wanting to heap more pressure on his charges Errigal manager Hugh Quinn knows the significance of the trophy to the Errigal club. “Errigal Ciaran Club has a very strong connection with the McGirr family. Paul’s brother Mickey was an integral part of our championship teams of the 90’s and early 00’s having won a number of Tyrone senior championships and an Ulster Club in 1993 and indeed Paul himself began his career as an Errigal player before moving to Dromore.  From the club’s perspective it’s  been 11 years since we last got a chance to play in the Paul McGirr competition when our U16s won the 2012 championship and although the club has had success in Ulster in adult, minor and ladies competitions we have never been able to prevail in this competition so that makes this opportunity even more special. This group of players is delighted to have retained the Tyrone U16 championship and to get to the final of the Paul McGirr Ulster U16 Championship is a great honour.  They have worked extremely hard over the last number of years and have been fortunate to have some success along the way.  Having said that they are very aware of the quality within the Dromintee squad and realise they will have to perform to their best to meet that challenge and we have no doubt as a management team they will give a good account of themselves. Its a great honour for both sets of players to get to the final and with the quality of players in both squads we have no doubt this will be a great game and no matter what the outcome we hope that football is the winner and Paul’s memory is reflected in the quality of play on show – may the best team win.”


Dromintee entered the tournament as many people’s favourites for the title, having tasted success in the All Ireland Feile a few years previous.  The favourites mantle seemed to weigh heavily on them early on but their second half performance against a strong Carryduff side in the semi final where they held their opponents scoreless will certainly give the Tyrone men plenty to ponder.  Their level of organization and teamwork is a sight to behold for such a young team with Fergus Toale in particular standing out as he dropped back to cover his defence and stepped forward when the ball was turned over to be the catalyst for many of his team’s attacking forays. He is certain to be given special attention by the tight marking Errigal side.  Full back Gavin O’Rourke was a colossus in the semi final while Keane McArdle and the impish Tomas Fox will keep the Errigal half forward line on their toes with their commendable workrate.  Conor Laverty and Michael Walker will have to battle hard in midfield to nullify their Errigal opponents while up front the prolific Diarmaid O’Rourke, Fionnan Toale and Odhran Carnegie will spearhead the Armagh side’s attack and will be looking to penetrate a rock solid Errigal defence.

Joint manager Kevin Toale who, along with former Donegal manager Aidan O’Rourke, has been coaching this team from when they were U6’s so he is well aware of the talent he has at his disposal and it’s a challenge Toale is very much looking forward to.

“The Dromintee club is very proud of this group of players. They have been successful at every age group in Co Armagh competitions. It is truly a great honour for the lads to participate in the Paul McGirr tournament. Having overcome a very strong Carryduff team in the semi-final, we now look forward to the final against Errigal Ciaran. We know the opposition will be strong but we have every confidence that the team will do us proud and hopefully our captains Fergus Toale and Diarmaid O’Rourke will lift this prestigious trophy after the final whistle. The entire club and Dromintee parish has given Aidan, myself and the whole team their full backing and we know we can count on a large travelling support on Saturday.”

A large crowd is anticipated for the 1:00pm throw in with both teams bringing a passionate support. The game looks like it will boil down to the finest of margins, Dromintee while impressive in the second half last day out will be well aware that they cannot start as slowly as they did in that game as they will be severely punished by a potent Errigal forward line.  Errigal look to have the stronger of the two benches but in what is a very difficult game to call it could be the honour of being the first Dromintee team to win an Ulster title that might be enough to give the south Armagh men that extra push to get them over the line.

Admission to the game is by donation will all funds going to the Spirit of Paul McGirr Trust for their work in Lusaka, Zambia and for those that cannot make the game there will be a live stream on the Spirit Of Paul McGirr Facebook page.



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