Lavey hoping for bigger things after St Paul’s MFT win

LAVEY boss Michael Hasson hopes that their Ulster Minor Championship triumph will be the start of something very special for this famous Derry club.

Not only will they want to go on and replicate their success at senior level, but they have every chance of faring similarly well in next year’s tournament with 12 players still eligible for selection.

Lavey claimed their first ever Ulster Minor Championship title at St Paul’s on New Year’s Day with a 0-9 to 0-8 win over Termon, and in doing so became the 19th club from Derry to win the prestigious tournament.

Underage success isn’t always a guarantor of senior success later down the line, but there’s no doubting this team’s ability anyway.

Hasson commented: “We’re a relatively young team, 12 of the players are back next year so it’s a great starting point for them.

They now know what it takes to win big games and that’ll be a big advantage to us hopefully. It was great to get over the line, it was a very tough game. Termon beat Kilcoo in the semi-finals so we would it’d be a massive challenge to get the better of them.”

Lavey are blessed with gold-standard players, from the Duggans in defence, Matthew Downey, who’s been an ever-present in our team of the week over the course of the tournament, Enda Downey, Calum Downey, James McGurk, Patrick McGurk (there’s a bit of a trend here, and it’s fair to say that this team has pedigree).

They had to dig it out against Termon, which shows they aren’t lacking in character either.

Hasson said: “It was always going to be tight and we ground it out against a very defensive Termon team. They were very, very defensive.

It was tough to play against and you have to be patient. We have a lot of smart footballers and they used the ball well and took their chances at the right time.”

This was Lavey’s first foray into the Ulster Minor Tournament in 35 years, and Hasson says they did well to keep expectations low within the club even though this particular crop of players have done well down through the ranks.

There was an expectation we’d do well in Ulster after we won the county championship, but we tried to keep things low-key. We went into the Ulster final without a lot of hype which is the way we like it.”

The celebrations within the club afterwards will also undoubtedly stay with players and management alike for a long time.

You saw yourself the crowds on the pitch, young and old, there was great support as there has been all year.

We had a reception back at the club and it was great to see Cormac bringing the trophy into the club to a massive crowd. There was a great reception with our u-6 and u-8s lining the entrance.”

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