Those early birds from Carrick Vocational School added another County Vocational Schools title after a strong first half at the Burn Road in Termon laid a solid foundation for Tuesday’s five-point win over Carndonagh Community School in the U-16 final.
Carrick Vocational School 2-6
Carndonagh Community School 0-7
The team managed by Paddy Boyle were full value for every bit of their eight-point interval lead and had their shooting been a little less wayward that margin might even have been lengthier.
There was a slight breeze but the dominance at centre-field of Aodhán McGinley and Stephen McBrearty meant Carndonagh were constantly under siege, seldom even managing to get their heads above water in the relative sanctuary of the opposition half.
Manager John Farren made three substitutes in the first half, which, after only two scoring chances - one that went over and another wide - tells a tale in itself. At the other end Carrick posted a goal and five by the break as well as eight wides and two that dropped short. In fact every score the south-westerners posted all day came from play.
Carndonagh, who upset St Columba’s Glenties in the semi-final, tried to smother out the pre-match favourites but there was too much verve in Carrick’smovement, with McBrearty’s opening point inside of two minutes a perfect example.
Although surrounded by defenders like bees around a hive, he manufactured the space to drive powerfully over. Then, McGinley scored from the left and Conor Doherty added a third in as many minutes to emphasise their team had hit the ground running.
That lead should really have been doubled but the creases then appeared in their offensive work, with good appraoch play not getting the type of finish they deserved. Andrew McClean, though, and McBrearty pushed the margin to five and Padraig Cunningham, when he wriggled free 15 metres from goal, placed the ball just wide of Paddy McGilloway’s left-hand post when aiming for the bottom corner. The alarm bells were ringing on the peninsula.
Twenty-six minutes had passed before Carndonagh bothered the umpires, thanks to a free by Kevin McLaughlin but that merely acted as a prelude to Carrick’s next furore. McBrearty slung in a ball and McGinley’s fielding was excellent before planting the ball in McGilloway’s bottom corner to give Carrick a 1-5 to 0-1 half-time advantage and nine fingers on the cup.
The paint was crawling in the Inishowen team’s dressing room at the interval and to their credit, Carndonagh produced their best spell of the match during the third quarter, knocking over three successive scores to reduce their deficit to four points - with full-forward McLaughin, scorer of 2-5 in the semi-final, and Niall Diver on the mark.
However, as is the case when chasing causes others may deem to be lost, once the velocity of the momentum lets up at all, the back door can be breached. So it was to prove and after a free from Kevin McLaughlin sneaked the wrong side of the upright, Carrick’s first meaningful escapade of the entire second half, 19 minutes in, closed out the game.
Again, McBrearty was the instigator, carrying possession forward and after Cunningham tried momentarily to breach the yellow defensive wall himself, the centre-forward gave possession to his left and the overlapping Stephen Jones snuck in and added a second goal. It put the result beyond reasonable doubt.
That made Kevin McLaughin and Darren Coyle’s late scores effectively meaningless for Carndonagh and after some fine approach play by first year student and willing substitute Paul O’Neill, Doherty curled over Carrick’s final point of the day to conclude another fine day at the office from the school that draws their supplies from the Kilcar and Naomh Columba clubs.
Aaron Friel replied for Carndonagh but the mountain they faced after half-time was just too steep and for that reason there were few complaints when joint-captains and goalscorers, McGinley and Jones, lifted the trophy aloft.
Colaiste na Carraige: Padraig Byrne; Cormac Cannon, Martin Byrne, Philip McNern; Jamie McGinley, Pauric Ward, Stephen Jones (1-0); Stephen McBrearty (0-2), Aodhán McGinley (1-1); Eoin O’Leime, Padraig Cunningham, Andrew McClean (0-1); Chris Doogan, Conor Doherty (0-2), Jason McGill. Subs: Philip Doherty for McGill (half-time), Paul O’Neill for Doogan (57).
Carndonagh Community School: Paddy McGilloway; Mark Doherty, Conor Byrne, Danny McMonagle; Aaron Friel (0-1), Kieran O’Connor, Ryan Doherty; Darren Coyle (0-1), Pauric Roddy; Niall Diver (0-1), Adam Byrne, Matthew McLaughlin; Gary Doherty, Kevin McLaughlin (0-4, 2f), Jamie McLaughlin. Subs: Fergal Doherty for Jamie McLaughlin (19), Jonathan McLaughlin and Peter Doherty for M Doherty and M McLaughlin (both 25).
Referee: Gerard McHugh (St Mary’s Convoy).
Man of the match
All the prime performers on the afternoon were kitted in the blue and red of Carrick Vocational School. Their midfield partnership of Stephen McBrearty and Aodhán McGinley - both of whom were adding to their tally of U-14 A and B, two U-16 and one senior Donegal VS titles - bossed the game for three-quarters if not more and the latter takes the award for his well-taken goal.
Gerard McHugh took charge of a very sporting contest in all truth and bar a couple of yellow cards had little in the way of contention to deal with. Both teams, and indeed the match official, deserve credit for that.
Perhaps not the most important juncture but once Stephen Jones slammed in the second Carrick goal 11 minutes from the end, whatever flirtatious notions Cardonagh might’ve possessed were well and truly finished.
McGinley: “We go out there as Carrick and not as Kilcar or Glen”
Man of the match and Carrick Vocational School joint-captain Aodhán McGinley wasn’t sure how many county championships he has racked up at this stage but was more concerned with the most recent one.
McGinley played a starring role as Carrick steamrolled Carndonagh Community School on Tuesday during a game when they had most of the hard work completed by the interval. McGinley was the first-half goalscorer and after leading 1-5 to 0-1 at the break, strolled home to post a 2-6 to 0-7 victory.
“We did most of the hard work in the first half but probably should have put more over the bar and had a bigger lead,” he said. “We made hard work for ourselves but showed heart to get there in the end. That’s what we try to do every day, never-say-die, and that’s what helped. Carndonagh had a big threat inside with Kevin McLaughlin, he’s a big man, and hard to handle but although he got a few scores fair play to the boys for sticking with them.
“The second goal was the game -changer. Stephen McBreaty is a powerful footballer and ploughed through all and Stephen Jones got the goal in the end. I don’t know how many titles we’ve won here, my mother usually keeps track of them sort of things but it’s all down to the hard work.
“We’ve also got a good crop of players down our way and we’re lucky to have that good crop of players coming up. It’s two clubs but we go out there as Carrick and not as Kilcar or Glen. We don’t have a lot to pick from but every man seems to want to play football and work hard at it and that’s great. There’s not as many distractions down our way.”
Boyle: “If you don’t do the work you don’t get the rewards.”
Carrick Vocational School manager Paddy Boyle believes the hard work his panel are willing to put in meant Tuesday’s U-16 County Vocational Schools final win was no mistake.
Pre-school training sessions have been the norm in the south-west for the last few years now after originally being brought in by Noel Ward. Boyle, whose panel trained over the Christmas holidays, has merely continued that practice and once more the benefits have been reaped.
“The goal in the second half finished it off and we out-footballed them in the first half,” he said. “We squandered a lot of chances but there was so much hard work done over Christmas we didn’t want to give it away easily. I’m glad for the young fellas and we’ll go into Ulster and give it a good go now.
“Everyone knows the big game players but for me the likes of Jamie McGinley and Pauric Ward and Martin Byrne were outstanding. Today was the first game we played for the full 60 minutes and it’s not a bad thing at all. We all know Ulster will be a different story but we’re just delighted to be there. Pauric O’Neill, who came on a sub there, is only a first year and in other schools an U-14 wouldn’t get a chance but we have to. If we don’t play everyone we wouldn’t have a team.
“All the work Neilly (Byrne) does is unreal. This is what it’s all about. I’d like to thank the two clubs and Damien Carr, who comes in and helps out. You have to keep doing the work. You can’t just turn up and hope it happens. If you don’t do the work you don’t get the rewards.”