Erne Gaels minors lose out in final defence

With apologies to Winston Churchill, this was definitely a case of so many depending on so few . . . or in the case of Erne Gaels just one.

With apologies to Winston Churchill, this was definitely a case of so many depending on so few . . . or in the case of Erne Gaels just one.

St Pats 3-9

Erne Gaels 0-11

Report: Gerry McLaughlin

Thomas McCaffrey is their captain and star man. He played well as did his comrades.

But the Donegal border club were just not as well balanced as their physically stronger opponents from the county Monaghan border who deservedly took the county minor title.

McCaffrey, who scored a smashing goal against Down in the Ulster championship, is like a younger version of Jamie Clarke and hit five points.

But two cracking goals from St Pats outstanding Brian McDermott, who had a great battle with 16 year-old Shane Mimna, effectively sealed this thrilling contest.

And the St Pats defence did an excellent double-teaming job on McCaffrey.

A fine point from 15 year-old Luke Ryder left the Gaels leading by three points to two after fifteen minutes when McDermott struck like a cobra.

The talented Donagh lad drifted behind the Belleek defence and clinically converted to push the winners to a 1-5 0-6 lead at the interval.

And when the elusive Kevin Curran also found the net nine minutes into the second half it seemed that this young Belleek side were buried as the winners led by 2-5 0-6.

But Jack McCann, Kaelan Keown, Oisin Kelm, Brian Shaw and Shane Rooney (whose grandfather Patsy played for Fermanagh and Donegal) dug deep as they narrowed the gap to just two points as St Pats led by 2-6 to ten points nine minutes from time.

And then the mercurial McDermott struck again showing real class as he unlocked the Gaels defence and hit a great left-footed shot the net. Game over and the Gaels dreams of a second Fermanagh title on the bounce were in tatters.

On the plus side, only McCaffrey is overage next year and the Gaels made history of a different sort also last night.

For generations the tiny Belleek club have fielded many players from the neighbouring townlands in county Donegal players like the Cullens, Rodgers, Hughes, Dolans and McLaughlins to name but a few.

And Tom Hope, Larry McCaffrey, Craig Gallagher and Dean McLaughlin kept the Tir Chonail flag flying in a club that has truly no frontiers.

Meanwhile neighbours Devenish from Garrison, on the Leitrim border were also out of luck in the B final curtain raiser.

They went under to Newtownbutler on a score of 3-12 2-10, in the Minor B final, despite the best efforts of Peter Leonard, JJ O’Brien and keeper Killian Gilroy.

Erne Gaels: K McGloin, N Heron, B Shaw, K Keown, T Hope, S Mimna, O Kelm,(0-1) P Ward, A McMahon,(0-2f) L McCaffrey, J McCann, S Rooney, L Ryder,(0-2) C Ryder, T McCaffrey(0-54f). Subs: C McGloin for L McCaffrey, C Gallagher for C Ryder, D McLaughlin for T Hope.

St Pat’s: C Martin, J Grue, C O’Neill, E Tierney, R Melarkey, R Kelly, P McDermott, C Logan, J P O’Reilly, S Heaney, B McDermott,(2-2) C McElroy, K Curran,(1-2) M McGrade,(0-54f) M Mulligan. Subs: K Tierney for P McDermott.

Referee: N Davis(Teemore).