GAA Football

Down and Armagh stars come together for St Colman's College Summer Solstice Ball

Clan na Gael clubman Jimmy Smyth (left) was a star of the Armagh side that reached the 1977 All-Ireland final and went on to become a popular GAA commentator. Also pictured is another Armagh GAA great Charlie Sweeney (RIP) (right) whose involvement as a trainer at county, university and club levels singled him out as a rare mentoring talent. 
Andy Watters

DOWN All-Ireland winner James McCartan former Armagh captain Jimmy Smyth will be among the guests at the St Colman’s College, Newry Summer Solstice Ball at the Canal Court Hotel, Newry on Friday, June 21.

Tickets (£45) for the ‘Dress to Impress’ fundraiser – compered by UTV’s Frank Mitchell (also a former pupil of the Violet Hill school) - are available from reception at St Colman’s or through Eventbrite.

The event is a celebration of the academic, sporting and extracurricular successes of the Newry school – which includes GAA founder Michael Cusack among its former staff – and all past pupils, parents and friends are invited. Music will be provided by the Housem8s and corporate tables are also available.

McCartan was a Hogan and MacRory Cup winner at St Colman's and won All-Ireland titles with Down in 1991 and 1994. After his playing days came to an end, he managed the Mournemen to the All-Ireland final in 2010 and is currently in charge of the county's minor side.

Clan na Gael clubman Smyth was a star of the Armagh side that reached the 1977 All-Ireland final and went on to become a popular GAA commentator. The guest list also includes Francis Campbell, the UK's Ambassador to the Holy See.

The late Charlie Sweeney (RIP) switched from St Colman's College, Newry, to St Malachy's, College in Belfast in the 60's where among his class mates and friends was one Martin O'Neill, a new boy from Derry, who went on to excel in the world of soccer.

A retired schoolteacher and native of Lurgan, the multi-talented Sweeney lived and worked most of his life in Belfast.

He was an integral part of the Armagh senior team management along with Fr Sean Hegarty and the late Eamonn Coleman, in an era when the Orchard county produced some of its finest footballers including Joe Kernan, Brian McAlinden, Gerard Houlahan, Martin McQuillan, Jim McCorry, Jim McKerr and the late Kieran McGurk.

Eamonn Coleman was also his aide when he steered the UUJ to Sigerson Cup wins in 1986 and 1987, a team that included Dermot McNicholl and Enda Gormley, who six years later won All-Ireland honours with the Oak Leaf county under Coleman.


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