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Paul McGirr Final Report
Sun, 06 Dec 2015
Clann Eireann 2-10 v O’Donovan Rossa 0-04

Clann Eireann became the second Armagh winners in three years of the Paul McGirr Ulster U16 Club Champions Tournament when they comprehensively overcame the challenge of O’Donovan Rossa at a sunny Gardrum Park Dromore on Sunday afternoon. While their opponents struggled to settle into the occasion, Mairitn McConville’s charges put on a display of composed defending, insatiable workrate and ruthless finishing with the majority of the damaged done in the opening thirty minutes. Rossa dominated the early possession stakes but having scored nine goals in their previous two games they failed to penetrate the Clann Eireann defence where semi final hero Thomas French was doing a great job in curbing the influence of the dangerous Dominic McEnhill, keeping him scoreless throughout. Ruairi McConville got the first point of the game before the Antrim boys equalised via a free from Connell Devine. Points from Ryan Lewsley and Tiernan Kelly gave their side a two point advantage before two sublime passes from the superb man of the match Rioghan Meehan changed the course of the game. The first one resulted in a Kelly goal and the second released full forward Aodhan McConville to put his side five points up. Manus Smyth replied before three points in a row from the raiding centre back Jack Haddock, Meehan and a wonderful outside of the boot effort from Kelly left the Lurgan boys 1-07 to 0-02 ahead at the break.

Rossa driven on by captain Michael McGreevey and Eoghan McMenamin once again started the half well and a well taken point from the determined McMenamin gave them a good start but it was their failure to capitalise on the possession during this period that was to ultimately cost their team. Time after time the Clann Eireann defence shut them out with organised defence and disciplined tackling, the Armagh champions with captain Sean McCarthy retreating into defence always had two or three extra men back and the goals that Rossa were seeking never materialised. Then eight minutes into the second half the game was all but over when Ruairi McConville pounced on the breaking ball after the unlucky Michael Bryne superbly denied Ethan Kearney to bundled the ball over the line for Clann Eireann’s second major much to the delight of their large travelling support. Rossa’s Michael Close converted a free but this was to be his sides last score of the game as Clann Eireann tightened their grip on a first ever Ulster title at this level. A wonder score from a narrow angle from Kelly followed by another from Haddock and the final point from Aodhan McConville sparked jubilous celebrations as McCarthy lifted the wonderful Culchuillan trophy presented by Paul McGirrs parents Francis and Rita.

Understandably winning manager Mairtin McConville and his management team were ecstatic with the result “We are absolutely delighted to win this prestigious tournament and the performance from the boys all around the park was top notch. We have played this Rossa team on many occasions over the last few years and they have always been tough, well contested battles so we expected no less today, but the boys really rose to the occasion and were superb throughout. There is some wonderful work going on at youth level in our club and to be crowned Ulster champions is an incredible achievement, one that we will certainly savour for years to come” said McConville.

Clann Eireann: Chris McAlinden, Thomas French, Adam O’Connor, Conor McDonald, Jack Conlon, Jack Haddock (0-2), Callum Magee, Conor Turbitt, Sean McCarthy, Rioghan Meehan (0-1), Tiernan Kelly (1-3, 1f), Ethan Kearney, Ruairi McConville (1-1), Aodhan McConville (0-2) and Ryan Lewsley (0-1) Subs: Sean McKeown for McDonald, Rory Shine for Meehan, Oscar McKeagney for Conlon

O’Donovan Rossa: Michael Byrne, Conall Shannon, Matthew McIvor, Jack Morris, Manus Smyth (0-1), Michael McGreevey, Tiarnan Murphy, Eoghan McMenamin (0-1), Martin McCashin, Dominic McEnhill, Daire Matthews, Emmet Burns, Connell Devine (0-1, 1f), Lorcan Fitzsimons, Michael Close (0-1, 1f). Subs: Conor O’Neill for Devine, Cormac McGettigan for Morris, Adam Cunningham for Burns, Sean Wallace for Close, Close for Murphy