Beragh U-14 Boys’ Team secures League, Championship & Féile titles

Friday evening last (6th July) in O’Neill Park Dungannon, saw the U-14 boys’ team add the Grade 3 Championship title to the League title which they had secured earlier in the season. The lads produced a committed powerful hour of football to overcome a competitive Edendork team who asked plenty of questions of the Beragh lads, particularly for long periods in the first half.

Enjoying the benefit of great support from parents and the wider community, the team made a good start with strong running and fielding from Cathal Donnelly, Terence McKenna and captain Patrick McCann among others. However there were concerns as the half wore on as Edendork slowly began to gain a foothold in the game, and in particular were causing problems for Conor Owens at full forward who was having to contend with 2 man markers. The team went in at half time with a 5 point lead and plenty to think about.

However, the third quarter saw a rejuvenated Beragh up their game and began to physically assert themselves with a strong running game. Led by the mid-field pairing of Donnelly and McCann, and ably assisted by Fiachra and Seanan Donnelly and substitute Rory Donaghy, the Beragh lads scored heavily during this period and effectively ended the game as a contest. Conor Owens also found a lot of freedom during this period which enabled him to handle a lot of possession at full forward, which he either converted, or cleverly passed on to team mates in a better position.

As the management gave substitutes their chance in the final quarter, the players continued to keep the pace of the game high and ended up running up an impressive 9-21 to 2-7 score-line.

This Championship victory caps quite a fantastic year for the lads who also won the Tyrone Féile title earlier in the year which qualified for them to go to the national Féile Peile na nÓg over the weekend of 29 June – 1 July. Beragh Red Knights was hosted by the Clonard Club in Co. Meath (the smallest GAA Club in Meath), and the players and their families had a thoroughly enjoyable weekend, both on and off the pitch. It is placed on record the Club’s gratitude to Clonard, for the excellent organisation and the kind and welcoming way all the Club’s players, management and supporters were treated.

On the pitch saw the team successfully top their group, qualifying for a Quarter-Final with Cortoon Shamrocks (Galway) on the Saturday afternoon. In a very tense and exciting tussle, the players had to dig very deep in the last few minutes to gain a deserved and hard earned victory.

Moving to Darver in Co. Louth on the Sunday, the team comprehensively defeated Chicago in the Semi-Final. The final saw Beragh meet Eadestown (Kildare) in what was a fantastic advertisement for youth football. Beragh made a great start and enjoyed the early running, but Eadestown came back into the game which ebbed and flowed there-after. In fact, it took extra time to separate the teams, with the young Red Knights coming up agonisingly 2 points short at the very end.

Please read this wonderfully writen artile from Clonard GAA about the weekend…

Whilst understandably very upset at how the result had gone against them, the players carried themselves with great dignity in defeat. When the dust settled after the contest, they were able to take on board the fantastic achievement of getting so far, and use the result as motivation going into last week’s County Final.

The players will certainly be looking forward to the Club’s Youth Presentation Night in the autumn when they will receive their medals and further deserved recognition for their quite outstanding success. It is an outstanding achievement to win 3 county titles and reach a Féile Final in a playing season, made all the more notable by the fact that they were undefeated within Tyrone all year.

It is also worth noting that for some of the older lads on the panel, they have added this treble success to last year’s U-14 treble success, and that the Féile Final defeat after extra time, represents their only defeat over that 2 year period. A fantastic journey indeed and suggests that there will be good times ahead for this group, if they can continue to work on and improve their game over the next few years. Well done indeed lads!

The boys would like to place on record their thanks to their parents, who apart from ensuring they were on time for all training and matches during the year, also arranged the refreshments after the Championship Final in the pavilion. It was greatly appreciated by all.

Thanks to Barry Conroy for this report and thanks to Stephen Mullan who provided the rememberable photographs of the team.
View more of Stephens photos of the weekend here: