posted 11 Nov 2017, 10:44 by Derrygonnelly Harps

Spirit of Paul McGirr Ulster U16 Club Competition. 

Derrygonnelly Harps 0-8

Gaoth Dobhair 0-4.


In our fourth go at it after 2009, 2014 and 2016, our Under 16s had a super performance today to take a victory and move on into the Ulster Club semi-final when they put in a brilliant 65 minutes to defeat the Donegal champions.

The half time score was 0-3 apiece, with Rian McGovern driving through for our first score, lively sub Eoin Magee scampering through for a neat left footed point, and Leigh Greene, full of desire and will, bombing through for our third. Gaoth Dobhair, with the wee slope towards Omagh, had two frees and a score from play, but they were finding it hard to get through the Harps in any comfort. In fact they had no comfort at all. Everywhere they went, they were harassed and turned and blocked. The Harps were working like absolute demons, and Gaoth Dobhair were a bit surprised. Big time.

And so the second half continued. Derrygonnelly patient with the ball, trying to use it, making sure not to give the thing away. Gaoth Dobhair under pressure in possession, but dangerous. They had a few wides and close shaves in fairness, but we kept the scoreboard ticking over, through Rian with two frees. The second one was to put us ahead, an absolute legend of a free from the right wing, outside of the right boot job, nailed it and went back out to the middle to get back to work, and boy did he work. He and his cousin Gareth’s workrate was just top drawer. Gareth carried the ball upfield, out of defence, into Donegal territory time and again, and he put us two up with maybe ten to go. But still, the Harps physical commitment did not wilt for one second, with Aaron Jones, Rhys Campbell, Ronan McGovern, every single player putting in a massive shift to contest everything once, twice, and a third time if necessary. There was no standing up watchin your man soloing up the field, it was non stop work and pressure. Skucey, as ever, proved a very safe last line of defence, and Darragh Burke proved a great influence in terms of interceptions and  bringing the ball out well umpteen times over the hour. He is very assured with the ball, but he had to have lads looking to take it off him, and that’s why we got the result, everyone was up for it. Cian Corrigan, who had a great amount of tracking and possession, and Conor Burns picked off two great counter attacking points to see us home, and  now we’re in an Ulster semi. 

It was a great win for our club. For every one of our club coaches, and most importantly for our young players. Some of them probably don’t appreciate it, but they just put in maybe the best performance a Harps underage team has ever had. I honestly can’t think of many to match it. They played with skill, with their heads up in possession, but most of all with fantastic commitment. And despite everything just written, we have to get better. We have to work just as hard again, a wee bit harder, we have to be better at supporting each other getting the ball upfield, maybe in twos and threes, and we have to score more than eight points. 

But they have given themselves and all of our other teams a reference point that we can draw upon time and again, no matter what happens anywhere else: “Why did we win that game that day in Dromore?” The answer can be applied to a lot of games in future. Absolutely brilliant lads, just great stuff today.  

Lee Skuce, Rhys Campbell, Ronan McHugh, Brandon Curry, Niall Maguire, Leigh Green Aaron Jones, Rian McGovern, Gareth McGovern, Cian Corrigan, Conor Gallagher, Darragh Burke, Connor McGovern, Conor Burns, Ronan McGovern, Eoin Magee, Robert Grannell, Aaron Skuce, Bryan McKenna, Jonny Duffy, Jamie Thompson, Ronan Leonard, Ben Foy, Rory Joe Duffy, Ben Foy, Micheal Glynn.