Errigal out to land provincial prize

By Niall Gartland

ERRIGAL Ciaran boss Hugh Quinn says they are relishing the opportunity to get their hands on a provincial prize as they gear up for Saturday’s final in the Paul McGirr Ulster u-16 Championship.

Errigal qualified for the final with a resounding victory over Fermanagh representatives Kinawley on a stormy Saturday afternoon nearly a fortnight ago, and now they’ll take on Armagh representatives Dromintee with the title up for grabs at Gardrum Park.

Quinn said: “The final will be the last competitive game in Tyrone this year so it’s great to have this opportunity.

“If you’d told me when we started training back in February for the Tyrone league and championship, that we’d still be out playing at the end of December, I’m not sure how I would have felt! But that’s the way things have turned out and we’re delighted to have qualified for an Ulster final.

“We’ll get a couple of sessions done this week and hopefully the weather will be a bit nicer because it’d make for a better spectacle than our semi-final.”

The Paul McGirr tournament is named in honour of the Tyrone minor star who lost his life following an accidental collision in an Ulster Minor Championship match against Armagh in 1997. The tournament is hosted by Dromore, with whom he played at the time of his untimely death, but he played up to u-12 level with Errigal Ciaran before moving with his family. Errigal Ciaran manager Quinn also played with Paul’s brother Mickey during his playing days so it’s especially fitting that they’ve reached the final.

Hugh said: “I played with Mickey the whole time through youth football, he was maybe a year or two younger than me and obviously I won Ulster with him, so there’s a good link there.

“In 2012 our lads got beat in the semi-final so for these boys to go a step further, obviously it’s a slimmed down competition this year but in my mind that doesn’t diminish it at all because last year we didn’t get a chance to play in it as it wasn’t held. The boys are buzzing, they’re delighted.”

There will be a new name on the cup whatever happens this Saturday as this is opponents Dromintee’s first ever time fielding in the competition. They have plenty of talent in their ranks with six players involved in last season’s Armagh minor team.

“Dromintee have some super players, our lads played against them in colleges football, they have a lot of lads who go to Abbey. Aidan O’Rourke manages them so they’ll definitely be well set-up and well-coached, so listen it’s a great opportunity for us both. I wouldn’t fear anybody but at the same time we respect everybody and we’re just delighted to get the chance of go out and play.”

The Errigal lads cruised to a comfortable 7-10 to 1-1 victory over Kinawley in testing conditions and one of the particularly pleasing facets of their victory was that it was a strong all-round team performance. Added into that, their subs all made a positive impression as well, so they’ll be quietly confident heading into the final.

Quinn said: “There’s a good wee mix, there’s a number of those lads who are underage next year again and you know, it’s amazing you see in a lad over a 12-month period at that age group because they all grow physically.

“The development team that we have helps as well, they bring lads on, big Matthew Hackett played midfield for us there and he hadn’t played all year. He’s improved and forced his way in, it’s great to see lads develop and it gives them a bit of confidence and encourages other lads to push on and they could get a chance too.”

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