Ulster Schools' Nannery Cup Final
Lumen Christi College were crowned Nannery Cup champions for only the second time after goals from Flionn McLaughlin (2) and Eoin Canavan secured the Under 14.5 Ulster title against Inver College, Carrickmacross in horrendous at Garvahey on Wednesday.
The Derry boys were favourites going into the game and fully justified that status with a controlled display. Despite falling two points behind in the opening 10 minutes of a first half in which they faced a gale force breeze, Lumen rallied to keep their Monaghan opponents scoreless for the rest of the game with Flionn McLaughlin’s goal minutes before the break proving the final’s pivotal score.
The Doire Trasna man’s brilliant finish saw Lumen turn around at 1-0 to 0-2 and while they had to survive a late Inver penalty miss which would have tied the game with 15 minutes remaining, once Cathal Deery’s two second frees edged them in front, there was little doubt where the Ulster title was heading.
A second McLaughlin major and an excellent third goal from Eoin Canavan capped an impressive display which Lumen manager Michael McCullagh believes his players fully deserved.
“It was a great result and I’m absolutely delighted for the boys. You only really realise what it means to the players when you see them with a trophy but this has been a great group,” explained Mr McCullagh.
“They have been very dedicated from the first day. We’ve been lucky in that we have a few of the Year 10s, guys like Eoin Canavan, who have been great leaders within the group. They all get on well but if someone misses training they try to find out why and encourage them to get back as soon as possible. Things like that help the group immensely.
“We have a great mix of clubs in the panel, seven or eight represented, so the clubs deserve real credit for the work they are doing which is allowing us to compete. Some of the Steelstown players have been playing at ‘A’ grade in the league with their club and that makes a huge difference.
“Brian McKeown is the man who deserves the real credit. He has taken this team from the start and has been a huge help to the boys throughout the year.”
Mr McCullagh admitted conditions dictated the final was never going to be a classic and praised his players’ character in terrible conditions.
“We played against the breeze in the first half but it was never going to be a day for pure football,” he explained, “It was a day for digging in and grinding out a result but the boys proved they have character to go with their talent.
“Defensively we were very solid throughout. Conditions were terrible but we played against the breeze in the opening half and limited Inver to only two points. With the wind being such a factor we knew if we didn’t give away any goal chances after the break we had a great chance.
“It was tough game made tougher by the conditions. In the end we only scored six times and we did have a scare with the penalty but I still believe the boys would have gone on to win. This is, I think, our fifth Ulster title in the last 10 years or so and only the second at this age grade but I’ve said it before, we are only as strong as the work being done by the clubs.
“It’s a lovely way to end the term before Christmas but the boys deserve the success for all the hard work they have put in throughout the year.”
Lumen Christi College: Tomas O’Boyle; Joshua Doherty, Odhran Campbell, Adam Devine; Luke Harkin, Cillian Doherty, James Conlon; Eoin Canavan, Flionn McLaughlin; Cathal Deery, Mark Chester, Ethan McClelland; Evan O’Neill, Niall Brolly, Cal O’ Reilly.
Subs used: Ryan Lundy for Cillian Doherty; Matthew McCormick for Niall Brolly; Keelan Kilkey for Cal O’Reilly; Conor Dooher for Luke Harkin; Daniel McLaughlin for Joshua Doherty; Tony Gallagher for Evan O’Neill.