GAA Football

St Aidan's, Derrylin set for Ennis Cup final clash with St Joseph's, Enniskillen

Séamas McAleenan

Danske Bank Ennis Cup final: St Aidan’s, Derrylin v St Joseph’s, Enniskillen (Friday, Brewster Park, Enniskillen, 11am)

THE Ennis Cup final in Brewster Park on Friday is, appropriately enough, an all-Fermanagh affair, with the name of either St Aidan’s, Derrylin or St Joseph’s, Enniskillen to be inscribed on the cup for the first time.

It really is back to square one for the pair as they met in the first round of the league at the start of October with St Joseph’s coming out on top that fine autumn day by a comfortable 3-14 to 2-7 margin.

However, St Aidan’s didn’t dwell on the defeat too long and hit an amazing 31 goals and 48 points over the next four games, including a play-off with St Patrick’s, Dungannon, as they marched into the knockout stages.

Things got a lot tighter then and they needed to dig deep to edge out St Columban’s Kilkeel by 2-5 to 0-4 in the quarter-finals and then St Killian’s Garron Tower a fortnight ago by the minimum margin of 2-5 to 1-7 in the semi-final.

That day in MUSA, the midfield pairing of Jack McGann and Oisin Murphy picked off 1-4 of the total and, in a way, that is the Achilles’ heel of the Derrylin team; they need this pair to get forward for scores, but it also leaves them vulnerable to the counter-attack despite the heroics of Padraic Owens and Oran McElroy at the back.

Undefeated St Joseph’s had a tight enough semi-final early last week against the other north Antrim side in the competition, Cross and Passion Ballycastle, coming through eventually by 1-8 to 2-2. St Benedict’s, Randalstown took them for four goals in the quarter-final, but the forwards ran up a 1-15 total and it was enough to see them through

The Derrygonnelly trio of Aaron Jones, Ronan McGovern and Niall Maguire have carried impressive club form into the school competition, while the midfield pairing of Belcoo’s Lawrence McKeown and Trillick’s Oisín Farry has also done well.

All the forwards have contributed to the score-board over the competition, with Sean McManus and Breandan Cassidy doing a lot of foraging at wing-half. The one worry for manager Emmett Hackett has been the defence switching off at times to concede soft goals.

However, St Joseph’s have to be favourites and it will be hard for the Derrylin side to overturn that 10-point defeat at the start of the league, particularly if Enniskillen can keep the midfield paring occupied out the pitch.


St Joseph’s:
L Magee, T Cullen, C Grimes, E McPhillips, N Maguire, A Jones, D Kerrigan, O Farry, L McKeown, S McManus, R McGovern, Cassidy, J Duffy, M Stankiewicz, N Fee; Subs: J Ray, B Foy, D Corcoran, D Monaghan, D Corry, J Palmer, P Duffy, A Gallagher, J Flanagan
St Aidan’s: J Maguire, A Lee, P Owens, J Quinlan, F Gilheaney, O McElroy, O Clarke, J McGann, O Murphy, D Owens, K Prior, R Fivey, O McKenna, J Smith, C Crudden; Subs: C Cathcart, F McCarthy, J O’Connor, C Breenan, B Lunney, D Donaghy, M Lynam, C McGreevy, S McElroy, C Doonan

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