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Sigerson Memories

11th Feb 2011

It's funny the way things come full circle. 

Take the Sigerson Cup and the freshly-named Team of the Century. Peter Canavan was named at No 15 so when he attended the Ulster Bank Vocational Schools Celebration at the Armagh City Hotel I took the opportunity to ask him about him about the prestigious honour. 

In typically modest fashion, Peter paid credit to everyone else at St Mary's Teacher Training College during his four years there. He singled out the management duo of Peter Finn and Jim McKeever who also led St Mary's to their only ever Sigerson triumph in 1989. 

I remember that weekend at the Dub very clearly as I was a budding young reporter with the Irish News at the time. It was a fantastic introduction to the new wave of talent that was about to rock both the Ulster and All Ireland football scenes. 

Joe Brolly was on the Trinity team that lost a classic after extra-time to UCC in the fading light on Saturday evening. Maurice Fitzgerald popped over amazing points from either sideline off either foot for the winners. The same Maurice has also been named on the Sigerson Team of the Century, and rightly so. 

Henry Downey (QUB) marked his brother Seamus (St Mary's) in the other Semi-final, while Armagh trio Benny Tierney, John Rafferty and Jarlath Burns stood out in the Final for the Ranch. Cathal Murray was pretty handy too, landing mighty frees from half-back. I'll see Cathal at the MacRory game this weekend. 

I was back at the Dub on Wednesday afternoon to see the Queens Freshers succumb to a powerful DCU team despite meticulous planning and preparation by Anthony McGrath and his management team. And who was on the sideline watching the game, only Sean O'Neill who has also been named on the Sigerson Team of the Century. 

Then I headed to St Mary's Magherafelt to visit the Year 11 Business Studies class as they have designed pink football jerseys as part of a Young Enterprise venture. Fair play to them and their teacher, it's gone so well they have sold hundreds and raised money for charity. 

Henry Downey taught at the school while captaining Derry to the Sam Maguire in 1993, and who did I bump into on the Main Street while filming outside the Sportique sports shop but gentleman Jim McKeever, still smiling and courteous as always. 

Yep, it's a funny old world. And the really nice bit about it is the friendships that have developed from the Dub all those years ago. Great memories and great people. That's the GAA at its best. 




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