Best Minor Team?

21st Jan 2011
The debate for Team of the Tournament from the Northern Bank Ulster Minor Club Tournament (see below) has taken off with some excellent submissions and suggestions. I'll put up my final selection next week. 

Monday, January 24
From the Northern Bank Ulster Minor Club Tournament Final

Congratulations to Lamh Dhearg on becoming Northern Bank Ulster Minor Club Tournament champions after beating Magherafelt O'Donovan Rossa in the Final on Saturday, January 22. 

They are a great bunch of lads with a terrific captain, two seriously committed managers and a club that is glowing with pride at their achievements. I first came across them at the Antrim Final when they demolished St John's, so much so that it was hard to evaluate that victory. Back in the Lamh Dhearg club that night, up the hill in Hannahstown, Frankie and Terry (sounds like a restaurant in Victoria Square) told me that their team was special. 

To be honest, I hear that kind of comment a lot and Belfast folk tend to be a bit brash about themselves so I was a bit sceptical. I can say that about Belfast people because I have lots of family from the city. In fact, my grandfather captained Antrim in the 1918 Ulster SFC Final. 

Anyway, when the draw was made in the City Hall back in November, with Lamh Dhearg out first in the Preliminary Round against defending champions Omagh St Enda's, complete with four All Ireland winners, even Frankie looked a bit stunned when he said it was the best time to play Omagh. 

The rest is now history. LD are Ulster champions after beating Omagh, Aughadrumsee, Kilcar and Magherafelt. Frankie was right all along. They are good, they are special and they are the first Antrim winners in a quarter of a century. 

Magherafelt were excellent too and could easily have won it. They had the only goal chance which was brilliantly saved early on when the LD goalie Gerard McKeown was partially unsighted and still got a hand to a drive from Conor Kearns. 

Mention of Conor Kearns brings me to my Team of the Tournament. He's got to be in there at No 12, while other 'certs' are Declan Stranney at 6, LD wing-backs Marc McGarry and Michael Hynes, Kilcar's Patrick McBrearty and Jerome Johnston from Kilcoo though they can't both have the No 11 shirt so we'll move one of them over to No 10. McBrearty also played midfield so he could move there. 

The LD goalkeeper was only beaten once in four games and that was from a penalty, so you can mark Gerard McKeown down for the No 1 shirt. Ryan Murray has to be in there at No 13 but after that the rest of the positions are up for grabs. Both of the LD midfielders are in with a good shout, as well as James McClean from Kilcoo. 

So it's looking something like this... certs and contenders... feel free to send me your suggestions... (Note: TBD = To be decided) 

1 - Gerard McKeown (LD)
2 - TBD
3 - TBD
4 - TBD
5 - Marc McGarry (LD)
6 - Declan Stranney (LD)
7 - Michael Hynes (LD)
8 - Stephen Tully (LD) / James McClean (Kilcoo)
9 - Declan Lynch (LD)
10 - Patrick McBrearty (Kilcar)
11 - Jerome Johnston (Kilcoo)
12 - Conor Kearns (M'felt)
13 - Ryan Murray (LD)
14 - Cillian Laverty (Kilcoo) / Dermot McGinley (Kilcar)
15 - TBD

Looking at the full-back line, Magherafelt captain Enda McLaughlin is of course in with a shout, wearing 13 but playing in the backs, but you could say that both full-back lines from the Final have  strong arguments for being included. 

Magherafelt forwards Anton McElhone, Stephen Lagan and Chris Spiers were all unfortunate not to play in the Final after excellent campaigns. 

Let me know what you think - leave a comment below..

NOTE: Jerome Quinn Media filmed the entire competition exclusively so you can only see it here, and you can only get DVD copies of games from here. There will also be a compiliation DVD available shortly. You can book a copy by email: 


JJ Lad - 31 Jan 2011

Turlough Faux from Aughdrumsee played outstanding in their opening game! Although he only played one match, he still deserves a shout

Michael - 27 Jan 2011

Dheargs forward ger slane and mark jordan would have to be in with a shout, poppin in goals left right and center. Also magherfelts peter quinn, top quality.

Hugh Ruddy - 26 Jan 2011

Of course the majority of the team should be made up of the eventual winners Lamh Dhearg however the competiton as a whole was not as clear cut as that. Magherfelt were right in the running for it up until the very end and i thought there centre back on the day was a pivotal factor and should be considered for a defensive slot. I felt Kevin Gallagher from the donegal champions, Kilcar, was lively in his sides stint in the competition providing space for the teams star performers of McBrearty and McGinley and should be in with a shout. Clontibert the Monaghan champions were outplayed i their match up with Kilcoo But i thought Ryan McGuigan and his namesake Eoin epitomised everything that was good about the performance. Jerome Johnstone was probably the outstanding player of the tournament for me, playing with great style and pinache.

P.J Lynch - 25 Jan 2011

I was at the majority of the games and I would agree wih most of what people are saying. The lamh dearg midfielders dominated every game they played in so they definetly deserve their place in the side. Other candidates for making this team would be Eoin Mc Guigan from Clontibret who was impressive in their defeat to kilcoo, Ryan McHugh from Kilcar was excellent in their games considering his stature and is value for a spot in my opinion, the Kilcar full back Pauric Carr was also accomplished and solid in everything he done, John Joe strain was good for the Fermanagh champions considering the ineptitude of his team mates, Player of the tournament was Declan Lynch for Lamh Dearg I think he was central to everything that went well for them and he is an exciting prospect for the future.

Marc - 25 Jan 2011

Aron mc caufield No3 from LD didnt seem to concede whole tournament and was solid in Full back

Gaelic fan! - 24 Jan 2011

Been at all the matches and Peter Quinn definetly deserves a place as full back NO 3 as he has been consistent throughout the season! One to watch for in the future!

FAN - 24 Jan 2011

it could easily b a all rossa half back line Micheal kerr and nial higgins both quality.  Although Antone McElthone missed the final 2 man of the match certainly should b wearing 15 in that team

Jose Mour - 24 Jan 2011

Michael Kerr was wing back for Magherafelt and kept his men scoreless in semi and final. He had Jerome Johnston to mark after Furry went off and never gave him a kick of it.

Magherafelt Man - 24 Jan 2011

LD No.6 & captain was Man of the Match in Ulster Final.  His ability to win breaking ball in last 15mins was awesome.  Kilcoo's No.7 (Johnston i think) a brother of No.11 was brilliant against us.  Mfelts full back line and 2 wing backs should be in with a shout.  Conor Kerrins was all we had up front until big Chico came on.

John Smith - 23 Jan 2011

No 1 jersey should have gone to magherafelts GK good and solid every game. No 3 is definitely magherafelts full back.
Also thought Ryan Murray deserves a mention here pure class however their "captian" should be replaced with kilcoos no 6 he's quality also.

Gaelic head - 23 Jan 2011

Ger slane in with a shout, so's c.monaghen from LD. Also i remeber cavan gaels had a lovely corner back

Simon DOherty - 23 Jan 2011

Ah quore game yesterday nai, young fella Boyle from Mara deserves a place even though he is injured he has a great future

Cavan man in the know - 23 Jan 2011

Number 3 would have to go to either LD's fullback or maghfelts. Also the no.15 spot would go to big chico from magherfelt for his great performances throughout the tournament, kilcoos cillian sheridan or LD's m.jordan.

Simon Dotherty - 23 Jan 2011

Araon Mc Caulfield LD no 3 has to be in the full back line!

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