McCrea happy to see Four Masters on the flip side after Ulster redemption

By Michael McMullan

FOUR Masters went one better than last year by winning the club’s first Ulster minor title on Monday in Belfast.

It was a contrast to last season when they had the finish line in sight before Dungiven’s comeback left the Donegal champions as the bridesmaids on final day.

Captain Callum McCrea said it was “unreal” to be on the “flipside” of the result in their 1-10 to 2-4 win over Cavan Gaels.

“(After) what happened last year, we had to right that wrong,” he told Gaelic Life.

“The emotions were on the other side on the last New Year’s Day…to win it this year is special.”

Looking back at their defeat at the hands of the Derry champions in last January’s decider, McCrea felt it was their worst performance of the competition.

“That was heart-breaking; we were using the experience from last year to correct it this year.”

Four Masters opened the scoring with a Tomás Carr point before Joshua Shehu bagged the Gaels’ first goal.

Carr, and brother Turlough, made a goal for man of the match Conor McCahill to cap off a Four Masters comeback before Cormac Crotty hit a second Cavan goal helping them back on level terms (2-1 to 1-4) by half-time.

“It was nervy in the first half with them getting two goals, it probably settled them a bit,” McCrea said. “In the second half, we were targeting any score we could get, just keeping the scoreboard ticking over and thankfully we came through in the right side.”

Four Masters went four points ahead thanks to a vital McCrea score but still had to fend off a stiff Cavan push for a game-saving goal.

“The work rate up top, our forwards were putting a lot of pressure on them (Gaels) and it was taking them a lot to get out of defence,” McCrea said of another factor in Four Masters heading for the winning line.

He also pointed to a change of tactics this year and how the team spirit was another important ingredient given the turnover of players from last season.

“There was a real running game last year,” he said. “This year, we had head up football and tried to get that going.

“Last year we had a lot of pace with the likes of Senan Carr who is up with the county seniors. He is very fast with the likes of Kevin Muldoon.

“This year, we targeted getting the ball up to the likes of Conor McCahill and Oisin Doherty so it worked well and we continued that throughout the year.”

Four Masters join Aodh Ruadh, Ballyshannon and back-to-back champions Killybegs as winners from Donegal in the competition’s 41-year history.

After a decade of effort at underage, lifting the Jimmy McConville Cup was an important milestone in the club’s history.

“It is massive,” concluded McCrea. “Hopefully now a couple of us can push on to the senior team and get us back to Division One and hopefully push for Senior Championships in the next couple of years.”

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere


Gaelic Life is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 10-14 John Street, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, N. Ireland, BT781DW