Victory in Ulster minor club tournament completed the grand slam for Burren
A GLANCE at the success rate of Burren teams in the past was the springboard to the St Mary's minors winning the New Year's Day Ulster Club title at St Paul's.
Victory over Kilrea completed the grand slam of provincial honours for the Mourne club: “We were looking over the records and the only team from the club that didn't win an Ulster title was the minor team, so that inspired us to make a big effort to close the gap,” said joint-captain Conor Cox, who collected the Anne Marie Donnelly award as man of the match in the final.
“Making history and ticking that box is an added plus for winning the final. Kilrea was a tough team to beat. Seeing them winning a very competitive Derry championship, we knew that, if we met them in the Ulster tournament, they would be difficult to beat. They are a great attacking team,” said lanky Cox, who was the ideal pivot of the defence in the number six jersey.
He also foraged forward, adding further attacking strength to his team and managed to rifle over a long range point into the bargain. Naturally, Cox was pleased with his personal honour, but even more so with the result of the game.
“Winning the man of the match award is a great honour, but it could have gone to any of our players as everyone put in so much hard work on the day. Winning the final is even more pleasing to me. Making club history is special but, of course, it is very nice to get both - the individual trophy and the Ulster title,” he said.
Awards may not yet be finished this season for Conor Cox. He is captain of the Abbey CBS MacRory Cup squad that is through to the quarter-finals. After that, he is looking forward to gaining a place on the Burren senior panel.
“That's my aim,” he said.
“I have played in the senior reserve team and we were beaten in the Down final. Some of the minor officials are moving on to the senior side and I am looking forward to working under them at that level.”
Burren's 4-8 to 3-5 victory over a hard-working but smaller Kilrea means this squad of St Mary’s players hasn't been beaten in teenage football. They have won the Paul McGirr U16 title, as well as the Jimmy McConville Cup at minor level.
The team is a bit above average in size for minors and Cox revealed the reason: “For two years, we have been working on strength-and-conditioning with Pauric O'Rourke and that has been a great help. I'm glad all the hard work we put in has paid off.
“Yes, onwards and upwards is the aim now,” smiled Cox as he clutched his individual award.