1991 Senior County Final
This year’s County Final had something of an added dimension to it as there was still what was often referred to as ‘unfinished business’ – the cancelled final of 1987. The two sides could have met in the decider the following year had Lavey – eventual winners – not ended Dungiven’s hopes at the quarter-final stage. Indirectly, there were two county titles on the line in the ’91 Final which greatly increased expectations.
Somehow, the match played at Ballinascreen, didn’t quite live up to its classic potential and belied prior anticipation. In a very scrappy opening period both teams struggled for scores. With the advantage of a strong wind, Newbridge made the more promising start and led by 0-2 to 0-0 after twenty minutes. The lead could have been much greater had the Bridge taken full advantage of two excellent goal scoring opportunities.
It wasn’t until the 23rd minute of the game before Raymond Tracey registered Dungiven’s first point. Back came Newbridge with points from Damien Barton (free) and brother Paddy to extend their lead to three. Then things went horribly wrong for O’Leary’s as a rebound went straight to the welcoming hands of Brian McGilligan who blasted it into the roof of the net. A minute later, Joe Brolly added a second goal, slotting another deflection off Geoffrey McGonagle into the corner of the net. From three points down, Dungiven found themselves three points up as the half time whistle sounded. Half-time score: Dungiven 2-1 Newbridge 0-4.
After five consecutive wides at the start of the second half, Geoffrey McGonagle settled the Dungiven nerves by popping over a much-needed point. His contribution to the game would end a couple of minutes later when he received a nasty ankle injury and the seventeen year old was stretchered off the pitch to loud, appreciative applause.
Two minutes after the resumption of play, Joe Brolly extended Dungiven lead to five points. Niall Mullan and Brian McGilligan increased this advantage to seven and Newbridge looked a beaten side, not having registered a score for some thirty minutes. In injury time, a parried Brolly shot rebounded into the path of an on-running Eunan O’Kane who deflected the ball into the net.
After the game, County Chairman, Harry Chivers, presented the John McLaughlin Cup to winning captain Plunkett Murphy – Plunkett’s second time to receive this honour. Shane Heavern, playing at right half-back, received the Man of-the-match award.
Dungiven team: Tony Tracey, Martin Bradley, Damien Heavern, Francis Dillon, Shane Heavern, Kieran McKeever, Niall Mullan (0-1, Brian Kealey, Barry McGonigle, Joe Brolly (1-1), Brian McGilligan (1-1), Ryan Murphy, Geoffrey McGonagle (0-1), Plunkett Murphy (capt), Raymond Tracey (0-1). Sub used: Eunan O’Kane (1-0) for Geoffrey McGonagle (injured). Manager: Andy Murphy assisted by Tommy McKeever, Frank Donaghy and John Somers.
This was Dungiven’s sixth Senior Title in the club’s history and the third under Andy Murphy’s management. When considered in conjunction with his achievements at under-age level, his success is truly unique and exceptional. St Canice’s is deeply indebted to Andy for his lengthy and fruitful service to the club.
In the Ulster Club Championship St Canice’s had a home draw at Ballinascreen against Killybegs. With Lavey’s outstanding achievements of the previous year still in everyone’s mind, it was hoped the Derry representatives would again have a protracted run. In desperate conditions at Dean McGlinchey Park, Dungiven’s campaign was stopped prematurely in its tracks by a very good Killybegs side.
Not only did the club win the Championship, they won the League, the Bishop’s Cup and the two North Derry trophies – the Dr Kerlin Cup and James O’Hagan Cup. To put the achievements of that year into perspective, the senior team won all five competitions they entered within the county. When all games played that season were totalled up, there were thirty four in all including league and knock-out competitions. Of the thirty four games played, Dungiven won thirty three of them.
Read more about the the Seniors clean sweep of Derry in 1991 in the Club’s History Book ‘Dungiven in Black and White‘ available online now @ https://www.klubfunder.com/Clubs/St_Canice_GAC_Dungiven/ShopItems