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Second Semi Final In Paul Mc Girr Tournament Of Champions

Wednesday 21.11.2018
Team Talk Mag


Lavey v Burren Preview

Two heavyweights of Ulster football go head to head this Saturday in the second semi final of the Paul McGirr U16 Club Champions Tournament when Derry hotshots Lavey and Down kingpins Burren face off to earn a spot in the final where the winners will be eagerly awaited by last week’s semi final victors Carrickmore. Both teams are laced with names synonymous with the heydays of Ulster football like Burren’s Murdocks, McKernans and Magills and Lavey’s Downeys, McGurks, and McGills’s and with both teams playing all out attacking football there is no doubt that the scoreboard men in Gardrum Park will once again be kept on their toes.

Burren enter the contest having had a comprehensive quarter final victory over a fancied St Galls side and star of the show that day was undoubtedly corner forward Niall Toner who was firing scores from all angles amassing a personal tally of 1-10 with all but one of the scores coming from play.  Their philosophy of going man for man is based on a strong belief in their defenders man marking ability and with Tony Magee and James Kelly in particular in fine form they restricted St Galls to a measly tally of 0-6.

Odhran Murdock and Conlin Bradley form a steely midfield partnership and Zach Murdock  at full forward will provide a potent partnership with Toner that will leave the Lavey defence with much to ponder on. U14 star Eoin Loughran made an impressive impact when introduced against St Galls and he will be pushing hard for a starting slot this time out.

Burren manager Aidan Woods feels though that his side have a huge task ahead of them. “We’re looking forward to playing the favourites for the competition this Saturday. Lavey are probably a year ahead of us in their development as we have a very young panel. They are a team full of big names and so we know this will be the toughest game we’ve had this year and we’ll need to produce a massive performance to get anywhere close to them. However our boys love a challenge and so, we’ll give it our best shot and see where it takes us.”

Having come through a very tough Derry campaign, Lavey faced the challenge of Armagh champions Madden in the quarter final where a dominant display led them to a 3-19 to 2-06 victory. That result though came at a cost when they lost centre back Jamie Duggen to a straight red card. Duggan’s loss could be vital as he is likely the man that would have been tasked with nullifying the threat of Toner.  Enda Downey is a player who has been earning many plaudits in college football with St Pats Maghera. A superb footballer with power, pace and vision and Burren will certainly have their work cut out trying to curb his influence. The tireless James McGurk and Rory McGill form a strong engine room with Downey while in attack Lavey are blessed with the talents of Matthew Downey and Jack Scullion among others.

Lavey manager Johnny McGurk is no stranger to the big occasion. “Having lost in the first round last year, we were delighted to get through against the Armagh champions in our first round game. Burren will be a completely different test and we are looking forward to renewing rivalries with one of the greatest clubs in Ulster football. The Down championsKilcoo won last years competition and having defeated Kilcoo comprehensively in the Down final Burren will be confident of progressing, however we will be extremely competitive. Carrickmore, Burren and Lavey in the last three has a nice ring to it and we are determined to get to the final which would be a great occasion for our club.”  


The experience of playing in the tournament last year could prove vital for Lavey but Burren are no strangers to the competition and this side will be looking to emulate their team of 2014 who won the tournament outright. This is a game that will really appeal to the neutral supporter with a high quality contest guaranteed and with some of the top underage talent in Ulster on view there is no doubt there will be a large crowd in attendance in Gardrum Park to witness what promises to be an intriguing contest that is almost impossible to predict. Throw in on Saturday is at 2:00pm and all proceeds from the tournament go to the Spirit of Paul McGirr Foundation to aid the tremendous work the foundation does for less fortunate children in Lusaka, Zambia.

Our thanks as always to photographer Martin Mc Glone for the use of his photos.



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