Northern Ireland news

GAA teen players hoping for more footballing success at Irish Cup match

Darragh McBrien, left, in action for Ballinamallard United FC.
Mairead Holland

TWO schoolboys who were each 'man of the match' at recent GAA championship wins are hoping to taste success again tomorrow in an historic Irish Cup final.

Micheal Glynn (17) and Darragh McBrien (17), pupils at St Michael's College Enniskillen, are part of the Ballinamallard United squad which will take on Crusaders at Windsor Park in Belfast.

It is the first time in Ballinamallard's history that it will play in an Irish Cup final and the small Fermanagh village, bedecked with the club's colours of blue and white, has gone football crazy.

It is estimated around 2,000 locals will make the journey to cheer on the players, who may be the underdogs but are determined to make their mark.

Micheal, who is from Derrygonnelly, and Darragh, from Bellanaleck, just outside Enniskillen, both played on the winning MacRory Cup and Hogan Cup school teams.

Micheal was named man of the match in the All-Ireland Schools Hogan Cup final last month, scoring seven points, while Darragh scored a goal and two points.

The previous month, at the MacRory Cup, it was Darragh who was named man of the match, putting eight points over the bar while Micheal scored four.

The boys have had notable success on the football pitch too, with both on the Ballinamallard team that won the league and cup at U15 National Youth League level.

Ballinamallard United FC secretary Richard McBride said it takes a "massive commitment" to play both sports at such a high level.

Mr McBride, who coached Micheal for 10 years, described him as a "very talented" player.

"I first got to know him when he was six and he had an eye for a ball even then. He could turn a game on a sixpence," he said.

"He has also represented Northern Ireland at under 17 level and has travelled to different parts of Europe to play."

Darragh, who previously played for Enniskillen Athletic, joined Ballinamallard at under 14/15 level.

Mr McBride: "Denzil McDaniel, former editor of the Impartial Reporter (assistant coach), brought him along to Ballinamallard and he has been a real asset to us since then.

"There are another couple of young lads too who are still in their teens, Darragh Byrne and Sam Robb. We won't know the final team until Friday night or Saturday morning but they have all worked hard to get to this point, no matter what happens."

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