After winning the Minor Championship in 1985, the minor team again took centre stage again reaching the County Final at Ballinascreen. They were bidding to win the club’s fifth county title at this grade. With over half of the previous year’s winning team available and an easy run to the final Dungiven surprisingly went into the game as slight underdogs to an emerging Glen side.
In a very poor first half, the score at the break was an incredible 0-1 to 0-1, with both scores coming from frees. Dungiven missed a number of relatively easy scores in the opening period including a 5th minute penalty, and should have built up a commanding lead. Their only score came from midfielder, Kieran McKeever.
A vastly improved second half began in dramatic fashion with a quick Glen goal and questions were now being asked of Dungiven’s strength of character. They answered swiftly and decisively with a 1-3 scoring burst, their goal scored by Joe Brolly. Their three points advantage was abruptly wiped out when Glen grabbed their second goal. However, with a point in the dying minutes from Damien McHenry, they gamely held firm for back-to-back County Minor titles.
The winning margin of one point scarcely reflects Dungiven superiority over the hour and it shouldn’t have required a point in the dying minutes to seal the victory. More importantly however, this was the club’s fourth county minor title in eight years and augured well for the future success of St Canice’s.
Dungiven team: Martin O’Connor, Martin Brolly, Eugene Kelly, Billy Quinn, Michael McCracken, Michael McGonigle, James Donaghy, Paul Kealey, Kieran McKeever (Capt) (0-3), Raymond Tracey, Gabriel McLaughlin, Paul McCloskey, Martin McCloskey (0-1), Damien McHenry (0-1), Joe Brolly (1-1) Managers: Tommy McKeever and Liam McCloskey.
Ulster Minor Club Championship 1986
St Paul’s 2-10
Dungiven lost narrowly to eventual winners and host club St Paul’s in the 1st round. At half time, they trailed by 0-5 to 0-4 but two Martin McCloskey second half goals looked to have created the platform for an upset. On thirty minutes, Dungiven were clinging to a one point advantage when St Paul’s rocked them with a last-gasp goal and there was no time to regroup. It was a tremendous effort from the Derry champions as they were without three key players including their captain Kieran McKeever. Also absent from their championship winning team were corner back Martin Brolly and half-forward Paul McCloskey.
Dungiven team: Sean O’Kane, Martin O’Connor, Eugene Kelly, Damien McElhinney, Michael McCracken, Michael McGonagle, James Donaghy, Paul Kealey (capt), Raymond Tracey, Martin McCloskey, Billy Quinn, Eugene McNicholl, Joe Brolly, Damien McHenry, Fergal Higgins.
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Many thanks to the Editorial Committee of Aidan Hegarty, Colm McGuigan, Martin Jeffrey and Sean Owens who delivered this fantastic publication of St Canice’s GAC history, and to our local photographers Danny O’Kane and Mary K Burke for providing the majority of the images.