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Historic Under 21 competition as Belcoo and Bellanaleck amalgamate as Cleenish.
Dec. 20, 2018
U21 Season Review by Gerry McAloon
The Under 21 championship seen a large number of teams amalgamating in 2018. It was great to see both clubs represented as Cleenish. The team play in Belcoo and Bellanaleck on alternative weekends and the captain role rotated between players from both clubs. This proved that with compromise that amalgamation can work. This provided our top under 21 players to play competitive club football at the highest level and this should prepare them for the 2019 senior / junior club season.
It is hoped that the clubs will amalgamate again next year for the Under 21 competition as all players will be eligible to play again in 2019.
Cleenish started the competition well with an impressive 6 point victory over Derrygonnelly. In all other games Cleenish were unable to field their strongest teams for various reasons.
Cleenish were with their goal keeper Gary Doherty, former 2018 County panellist for most of the season and was unavailable for the clash with highly fancied Enniskillen Gaels. Cleenish were unlucky to be defeated by 2 points on that occasion in a very competitive and close encounter but this moved Cleenish to the B Championship. In fact the Gaels went on to win the A Championship without been further tested.
In the B Championship semi final, Cleenish easily defeated St. Gerards (an amalgamated team from Aughdrumsee, Newtownbutler and Roslea). In that game there were big performances from Belcoo Players Shane Doherty (in Goals) Ciaran Flanagan, Conor McAloon, Michael McGourty, Gerard McHugh and Eoin Shiels.
Last Sunday Cleenish played Erne Gaels in the B Final in Belleek. Gary and Shane Doherty were unavailable for Cleenish but worse was yet to come as new county player, Bellanaleck’s Darragh McGurn deemed injured from Saturday’s match. The bad luck for cleenish continued with Bellanaleck’s Garret Cavanagh injured in the first 2 minutes. Ultan Kelm proved to be Erne Gaels outstanding player. The home team won this fixture on a scoreline of 4.09 – 4.07. It appeared that Cleenish had done all the hard work in the first half against a stiff breeze and employing a sweeper system. At half time it was 1.07 to 0.03. Jonathan Owens and Garvin Quigley from Bellanaleck were the scorers with Conor McAloon employed in a defensive role as sweeper. Belcoo’s McHugh, McGourty and Shiels having fine games in defence with Flanagan working hard in midfield. Conor McAloon played a more forward role in the second half and finished with a tally of 2.01. In the end there was a kick of the ball between the two teams.
Belcoo can now look forward to the 2019 club season with several under 21 players making a statement for a first 15 place in the senior team. Gary Doherty remains a top goal keeper and if commits fully in 2019 can develop into a great keeper. Eoin Shiels had a good season with the seniors in 2018 and this talented defender has pace to assist the O’Rahillys seniors effectively in 2019. Gerard McHugh also performed well with the seniors in 2018 and continues to improve game after game – one to watch! Michael McGourty is another youngster who continues to improve and put in an excellent 60 minutes in the game against Enniskillen Games and may well have a big year for our seniors in 2019. St Michaels McCrory Cup panellists Ciaran Flanagan and Conor McAloon also enjoyed a good under 21 campaign. Flanagan displayed an excellent performance in midfield against the Gaels and produced some fantastic fielding and is sure to be in Terry McCann’s plans in 2019. McAloon had a very consistent under 21 campaign after a good first senior club season and was outstanding in the second half against Erne Gaels.
Belcoo GAA would like to thank the players and the management team Barry Hanrahan, Gerry McAloon, Ciaran Treacy and Barry Keenan for their fine efforts.
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