DANSKE BANK ENNIS CUP FINAL
St Patrick’s Dungiven v St Patrick’s Dungannon
Friday 11.00 - MUSA Cookstown
WITH an average of eight goals a game, St Patrick’s Dungiven will be hoping to maintain their knack of finding the net in Friday’s Ennis Cup Final (U14.5 football).
Shea Millar and Dylan Newland bagged nine goals between them as Dungiven powered to the final with a high-scoring win over Castleblaney in December’s semi-final.
It is the school’s first Ulster final since the 2006 Vocational Schools Final defeat to St Columban’s Kilkeel, who went on win the All-Ireland.
This year’s team is managed by Enniskillen man Michael O’Callaghan, Lavey’s Mervin McMullan and former All-Ireland winner Richard Ferris - who coaches the side as part of a link with Limavady Borough Council.
“For the school it is a big thing, it is the first time the boys have been in an Ulster Schools Final and there is a great buzz in the school,” O’Callaghan told the County Derry Post.
Last year, as year 8s, Dungiven were beaten in the semi-final by St Joseph’s Coalisland.
“We should’ve beaten them but we missed five or six goal chances and they’ve been determined all year to get to this final. They have been training once or twice (a week) after school, they have been going flat out and they have done everything we have asked them to do.”
“The only correlation is that both of us have played Lumen Christi and both of us beat them fairly comprehensively – so it is going to be tough enough."
Learning from their shortcomings last season, the Dungiven squad have been coached to go for the jugular at every opportunity.
“That’s the thing we have worked on, between myself, Richard and Mervin - we have been drilling the boys about putting it in the back of the net.
“We have been conceding goals, but that is because we have been going at teams. The boys have been told, if you get a chance, to go for it.”
At the start of the season, St Patrick’s got their season up and running with victory over St Paul’s Kilrea in a challenge game, a Kilrea team competing at a grade above. It gave Dungiven the belief to stake a claim for the Ennis Cup title.
Standing in their way are St Patrick’s Dungannon, coached by former Derry assistant manager Brian McGuckin.
Dungannon beat St Ronan’s Lisnaskea in their semi-final, a newly amalgamation of Newtownbutler and St Comghall’s Lisnaskea.
“It was a tight game and they only won by five points. They are a big, strong and physical side. They play a direct brand of football, a bit like ourselves,” O’Callaghan outlined.
“The only correlation is that both of us have played Lumen Christi and both of us beat them fairly comprehensively – so it is going to be tough enough.
“When you get to a final, it is usually the two strongest teams that get there and there is going to be a couple of points in it and that’s just it.”
ST PATRICK’S DUNGIVEN SQUAD: Brandon Deeney, Eoin Kealey Ciaran Devlin, Fergal McIntyre, Oran McAteer, Shea Harkin, Chad Deeney, Cal Mullan, Dara McGonigle, Caelean O’Neill, Shea Millar, Eoghan McCloskey, Caihir O’Hara, Caolan Hazelett, Dylan Newland, Enda McBrearty, Jamie McCormick, Oran Duddy, Odhran Murphy, Sean McLaughlin, Lorcan Gribben, Rory O’Hara, Ciaran O’Neill, Kian McLaughlin.
PATH TO THE FINAL
St Patrick’s Dungiven 2-9 St Marys Limavady 0-4
St Patrick’s Dungiven 8-9 Lumen Christi 0-3
St Patrick’s Dungiven 5-10 De La Salle Downpatrick 2-5
St Patrick’s Dungiven 3-11 St Patrick’s Banbridge 5-3
St Patrick’s Dungiven 12-4 Castleblaney College 4-4
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