31 Mar 2016

Loup Couch To 5K

Loup Couch To 5K at St Patricks GAC Playing Fields Loup is a fantastic fitness programme which has been designed to get just about anyone from the Couch to running 5 kilometres or 30 minutes in just 9 weeks. 

Starts on Monday 11th April and every Wednesday and Friday night 7:30-8:30pm thereafter. 

Registration night on Friday 8th April at 7pm Loup GAC Clubrooms Fees: £2 per session or £30 for full 18 sessions. Bring your own water bottle and proper footwear must be worn. 

Everyone welcome, Coaches include: Jennifer Bradley, Joseph McVey, Martin McVey, Martin McAlynn any enquiries contact Brian McAlynn on 07855108508

NFL - Derry v Armagh Preview

Allianz NFL – Armagh v Derry (Sunday - 2pm – Athletic Grounds)


When Derry saw off Cavan for a second successive win in Breffni Park a promotion race was in the early stages. In the back of the mind we knew it was an unforgiving league but we didn’t think it would be Derry’s last win.

In the interim Derry were blitzed by the direct running of Tyrone and Galway, both games that could have saw heavier defeats for the Oakleafers.

After that came two high scoring encounters against Laois and Meath. They were entertaining but Derry need more stability in their play. The attacking flair is all very well but leaking goals have offset any scoring.

Over the six outings so far 26 different players have started for Derry, with Danny Heavron, Gareth McKinless and the McKaigues the only players to have been selected to start every game.

The main scoring threat has come from Ryan Bell (1-15), James Kielt (0-17), Mark Lynch (2-8) and Christopher Bradley (2-7) over the campaign so far.

On average Derry are scoring 2-12 per game but are leaking an average of 1-14 and this is reflected on the league table with two wins, two draws and two defeats.

As the Derry camp prepare for this weekend’s game they will be striving for a victory that will quash any relegation fears and get a positive vibe going forward into the championship.

Consistency will be something the management will be concerned about after a mixed bag of performances and so far a settled team hasn’t been established.

The running power of Enda Lynn and Ciaran McFaul has been sorely missed in recent weeks. Both men are crucial in the quick transition from defence to launch counter attacks.

Liam McGoldrick played in the opening McKenna Cup game and was back among the substitutes last weekend. Speaking after Sunday’s draw Tony Scullion gave an update on the injury list.

“Dermot McBride has got good news compared with what he was getting. A couple of weeks and he will be back out onto the field again and we’re hoping he’ll be ready for the championship.”

Last season Kevin Johnston was carried off in the championship clash with Donegal. “Kevin will tick every box to get himself fit again. He’s a great, great lad and he is back out on the field and playing in house matches with us so he’ll be ready to go in the next couple or three weeks.”

After two weeks away from the Ulster minefield Scullion outlined the challenge this weekend. “We’ve had great battles with Armagh down the years and they are great team. They play with great heart, they play with great passion and Kieran McGeeney will bring the best out of Armagh.”

With promotion off the radar Scullion eyes this weekend’s game as perfect championship preparation.

“It’s a great challenge for us because at the end of the day we are preparing now for the 22nd May and the championship against Tyrone. What better preparation could you get for the championship than playing Armagh in the Athletic Grounds?

NFL – Story so Far


· Derry 3-13 Fermanagh 1-10

· Cavan 1-11 Derry 1-12

· Derry 2-12 Galway 1-18

· Tyrone 2-15 Derry 0-12

· Laois 1-22 Derry 5-10

· Derry 2-12 Meath 2-12


· Meath 1-10 Armagh 0-8

· Armagh 0-15 Laois 1-13

· Armagh 1-10 Fermanagh 0-12

· Cavan 3-18 Armagh 0-10

· Armagh 1-15 Galway 1-15

· Tyrone 0-13 Armagh 1-10

PREVIOUS MEETING – Saturday 9th March 2013 (Celtic Park)
NFL DIV 2 – Derry 0-16 Armagh 0-16

Derry were held in an exciting draw by Armagh in Celtic Park played at a high intensity.

Derry led 0-7 to 0-5 but a quick-fire start to the second half brought four Armagh points as they took the lead during the third quarter.

With ten minutes to go Derry edged in front with points from Lee Kennedy, Danny Heavron and Enda Lynn.

Once again Armagh battled back with Jamie Clarke helping them back on level terms.

The Oakleafers could have snatched a win late on the game with late efforts from James Kielt and Mark Lynch but in the end the Derry men had to be happy with a draw.

Derry: Thomas Mallon, Gerard O’Kane, Chrissy McKaigue, Dermot McBride, Charlie Kielt (0-1), Mark Lynch (0-1), Sean Leo McGoldrick, Patsy Bradley, PJ McCloskey, Danny Heavron (0-1), James Kielt (0-8), Enda Lynn (0-1), Benny Heron, Emmett McGuckin (0-1), Lee Kennedy (0-3).

Subs: Raymond Wilkinson for E McGuckin (54), Ciaran McFaul for B Heron (61).

Armagh: Philip McEvoy, James Morgan, James Donnelly, Declan McKenna (0-1), Aaron Kernan (0-3), Brendan Donaghy, Ciaran McKeever, James Lavery, Stephen Harold (0-1), Kevin Dyas (0-1), Johnny Hanratty (0-1), Caolan Rafferty, Jamie Clarke (0-3), Stefan Forker (0-2), Gavin McParland (0-3).

Subs: Mark Shields for J Morgan (42), Gary McCory for J Donnelly (45), Anto Duffy (0-1) for C McKeever (49), Tony Kernan for J Hanratty (59), Brian Mallon for A Kernan (64).


MASITA HOGAN CUP FINAL (Saturday - 3pm - Croke Park)

St Patrick’s Maghera v St Brendan’s Killarney
With the exception of the MacRory Final, all of Maghera’s championship tussles this season have been battles.  Abbey, Omagh, Dungannon and Summerhill all offered different challenges but this weekend it goes to a whole new level.
All-Ireland titles are never handed out, the best team always wins in the end and reports coming from the South are that St Brendan’s have a formidable team.
With Kerry winning the last two All-Ireland minor titles it suggests the conveyor belt in the Kingdom is now in overdrive.
‘The Sem’ only have two players from last season’s Kerry minor team.  One is goalkeeper Billy Courtney but ironically the Dr Croke’s man played at midfield in the Hogan Cup semi-final.
The other is attacking half back Dan O’Brien who has been impressive all season for Killarney.
The Kerry men have given very little away this season and have conceded an average of 0-8 in each of their championship games with goalkeeper David Carroll yet to concede a goal.
In the Munster Corn Uí Mhuirí competition Gerry McGrath’s team have been streets ahead of everyone else.  After being stung last season by Chorca Dhuibhne they went on a mission this year.  The Hogan Cup has been their focus since September.
Evan Cronin from Spa was a panelist last year for Jack O’Connor’s Kerry minor team and has bagged three goals to date, 1-3 in the Munster Final followed by 2-3 as they beat the Dublin champions in the Hogan Cup.
David Clifford scored their goal as they ended the dominance of Chorca Dhuibhne in Munster and has scored 1-9 in their last two games. 
Michael Casey and David Shaw have also been key players as ‘The Sem’ romped their way to this weekend’s final.  Shaw is a 6’ 3” target man and Patrick Turner will be aiming to limit his influence.
Another consistent trend through all their games has been wing forward Dara Moynihan and the industry he brings gives them a strong platform to link defence to their dangerous attacking unit.
So far Paul Hughes and Colum Lavery have studied their opponents in great detail and this time they will be again doing their homework.
Shane McGuigan spoke after the win over Summerhill about the excitement this championship run has brought to the school.
“For the past two weeks in school, the MacRory and Hogan football is all that is being talked about. The buzz about the school is unreal and all the teachers are telling us about previous experiences in the Hogan final and the team wanted to make their own memories.”

The Slaughtneil clubman is aware of this week’s test.  “We know the attacking threat St Brendan’s pose as we've found out that in both their provincial final and Hogan Cup semi-final they've won by more than a 15 point margin.”
“I believe they'll bring that traditional Kerry attacking play and we'll have to be well prepared to cope with that. We are coming into the match as underdogs, but we will have our game plan and hopefully get over the line on the day.”
The big question this week surrounds Killarney and the standard of opposition they met along the away.  Have they just not been tested? How will they cope when faced with adversity in a tight game?
Hughes and Lavery won’t have to worry about this aspect of their side’s game.  This Maghera team never know when they are beaten.
In 2013 Maghera put in an exhibition of football in Croke Park and this time around it will take a similar level of effort as they aim to tame the hotly tipped Kerry outfit.
St Patrick’s will hope to have both Keelan Feeney and Conor Glass back in contention to start on Saturday but it’s unlikely that Odhran McKeever will be fit to play a part.
He was taken to Enniskillen hospital with a suspected broken ankle but it has since been diagnosed as ligament damage and this weekend’s final may come too soon for him.
Conor Mulholland, Tiarnan Walsh and Peadar McLaughlin would be in the reckoning for the defensive slot as Maghera finalise their team.
Shane McGuigan, Jack Doherty, Shea Downey, Paddy Quigg and the Kearneys have all played a role in getting to the final.
Oisin McWilliams has chipped in with scores, Conall Darragh’s industry against Omagh and Sean O’Caiside’s heroics against Dungannon. 
Then you have unsung heroes like Paddy McCormick and Conor McAllister in defence who can carry possession through midfield and in one instance McAllister reverted to full back against Dungannon.
The Derry school has never beaten a Kerry team in a final, falling to Chorca Dhuibhne two years ago and a Mike Frank Russell inspired Killorlgin in 1996.
In the only meeting between the two sides, Maghera hammered St Brendan’s in the 1994 semi-final in Portlaoise.
On Saturday it will take an almighty effort to bring home a sixth Hogan Cup and Maghera will need their key players to deliver.  They have not been found wanting so far when the chips were down.
McGuigan still thinks about his Croke Park encounter last summer. “The last run out some of the players had in Croke Park wasn't as good as we hoped, but we are determined to make this time count.”
“Every time you step foot into the Croke Park arena never mind the pitch is something that is extremely exciting, and I believe it's really important to just enjoy the occasion as days and occasions like these don't come along too often.”

St Brendan’s have won 20 Munster titles and 2 Hogan Cups, the last in 1992 when Seamus Moynihan inspired them to victory. 

After securing a 15th MacRory title McGuigan dreams of helping Maghera annex a 6th Hogan. 

“To bring the Hogan cup back to Maghera would be an amazing feeling. To go down in the history books would be special and to be going down in history with people that you're spending nearly every minute of every day with is something different. Winning with your best friends is a feeling that cannot be competed with.”

Getting to finals is only half the job and McGuigan knows the next step will be the toughest so far.  “We know the challenge that awaits us and we must be 100% focused.”

“Coming in as underdogs lets us play with that bit more freedom but the team we are playing are a brilliant side.  Of course we believe that we can win it, and if we didn't believe we wouldn't be here.”

MacRory Cup
St Patrick's Maghera 0-11 Abbey CBS 1-7
Quarter-Final-St Patrick's Maghera 2-8 Omagh CBS 1-9
Semi-Final-St Patrick's Maghera 2-10 St Patrick's Dungannon 1-11
Final – St Patrick’s Maghera 5-7 St Paul’s Bessbrook 1-9
Hogan Cup
Semi-Final –
St Patrick’s Maghera 2-14 Summerhill College Sligo 3-10

Corn Uí Mhuirí (Munster Championship)
St Brendan’s (Killarney) 1-14 PS Chorca Dhuibhne 0-4
St Brendan’s Killarney 2-14 St Flannan’s Ennis 0-5
Final – St Brendan’s Killarney 5-21 HS Clonmel 0-7
Hogan Cup
Semi-Final –
St Brendan’s Killarney 4-15 St Benildus Dublin 0-9


Masita Hogan Cup Semi-Final – Reaction


In the middle of the crumpled yoghurt pots and empty plates at ‘the corner table’ in Owenbeg canteen the banter was never far away.  
The same characters sat round scoffing their post training snacks as Derry minors went on a memorable championship run.
The laughter was always in full flow and two central to the ‘craic’ were Shane McGuigan and Francis Kearney.  Friends, neighbours, club rivals and as thick as thieves.    Bessbrook will never want to meet them again. 
Shane scored 2-4, two of the goals were setup by Francis who scored 1-1 himself and also had a hand in Paddy Quigg’s goal.
Last Wednesday around the half three the Brewster Park scoreboard didn’t make pleasant reading going into stoppage time, Summerhill 3-10 Maghera 1-13, it was time for the deadly duo to work their magic.
In the dying seconds of the game McGuigan was fouled in the process of scoring the equalising goal and McKenna awarded a penalty.  Kearney took the responsibility of the kick and the sides were level.  McGuigan now had a chance to win it.
With the crowd in silence and those following on twitter there was tension.  McGuigan didn’t show it but admits to feeling the pressure.  He had watched Paul Bradley in this situation on countless occasions.  Now it was his turn in the pressure cooker.
He also had delivered a masterclass in Brewster Park last summer for Derry so the venue did hold positive memories.  With 1-7 already notched beside his name you wouldn’t have wanted anyone else standing over the kick.
“I was extremely nervous, because I knew this would win us the match and I didn't want it to go to extra time but I was also confident taking it at the same time.  I stuck to my normal free routine and thankfully it crept over.”

This season has had it’s fair share of peaks and troughs as McGuigan outlines. “We have been in losing positions before. In both MacRory quarter and semi final games we were six points down and came back to win both matches.”

What does it take? “We have a great team spirit and everyone believes in our own ability. We knew if we stuck to our game plan that it would work out and thankfully on the day it did.”

In the aftermath anyone with the energy to still speak struggled to put the game into words never mind the last few seconds.  McGuigan gives us his thoughts on the game.

“It was a very tough game that will stand by us going into the final. Summerhill are an excellent team that were set up well and we knew the challenge that faced us.”

“At times we when we were ahead we probably took the wrong option, but to come back after conceding two goals shows our never say die attitude and that's something we'll bring into the final.”

One of the most special aspects of schools football is the colour and atmosphere surrounding it.  The Maghera ‘16th man’ has been a helping hand and the players definitely recognise this.

“To win an All-Ireland semi-final by a point with a last minute point is special and you have seen the celebrations after the game how much the football means to people in our school.”

“We have a lot to thank to our principal for that as she is organising the buses to the matches and the team are extremely grateful to that.”


McGuckin, Hughes and McNicholl
celebrate the 2003 title
In the buildup to Saturday’s Hogan Final we caught up with former St Patrick's Maghera supremo Adrian McGuckin. No better man to help us look back at the College's Hogan Cup history.

Back in 1980 St Patrick’s played in their first final in Croke Park against Carmelite College Moate. “We lost eight of the team [age difference between MacRory and Hogan] and it was a disappointing defeat because we had a very young team.” 

Dermot McNicholl was a third year and there was ‘a couple of’ fourth years on board and as McGuckin recalls ten of them went on to play Rannafast the following year. The last minute defeat to Moate was a tough pill to swallow.

On the Moate team there were a couple of players who went on bigger things. “Val Daly became a Galway legend after that and John Maughan who went on to manage Mayo.”

Four years later and back again to Croke Park, this time kingpins St Jarlath’s were the opponents and as McGuckin recalls once again the age difference struck.

“We lost a serious number of players from the MacRory including Damian Cassidy and Dermot McNicholl. We finished up with a one point defeat as well with the last kick of the game.”


So after two heart-breaking defeats Maghera and McGuckin in particular built on the experience and in 1989 after a semi-final win over Tuam CBS, the Derry men were back in another decider. 

It went to a replay against Cork side Coláiste Chríost Rí after a hard fought drawn game. Following from the narrow defeats in 1980 and 1984 the tide was slowly beginning to turn.

“We played them in Portlaoise and drew in a tight enough match. We had a chance to win it right at the end but we got them in the replay in Longford.”

On the way up the road from the drawn game Maghera realised they were the better team and the self-belief began to kick in.

“We beat them handy enough [in the replay]. Big Corkery was playing but we had Anthony [Tohill] and Joe McCullagh in the middle of the field. We were more relaxed and expressed ourselves better. We got the early scores and they [Chríost Rí] dropped the heads pretty quick.”

“That was a special day winning that one and making the breakthrough,” recalls McGuckin and that was the start of a special relationship with the Hogan Cup. Maghera sit third in the roll of honour behind Jarlath’s (12) and St Colman’s Newry (8), two schools that he has a mutual respect for.

“It was a rivalry but it was a special sort of rivalry because they were a special college St Jarlath’s. I was recently talking to Dermot [McNicholl] after the MacRory and we were saying how special it was to play them in the All-Ireland competition.”

“It was the same with St Colman’s Newry in the MacRory, because they were two schools that seemed to be different. Both of them played a tremendous style of football. Their sportsmanship was always of the highest order; they could take defeat and victory the same.”

1990 Champions


The following year Maghera retained the MacRory against St Colman’s and after defeating St Mel’s Longford were faced with St Jarlath’s once again in the final. 

Like the previous year it went to a replay after a war of attrition in the drawn game but the replay holds a special place for McGuckin.

“It was a real classic of a game and it as played as a curtain raiser to Tyrone’s U21 Final [defeat to Kerry]. Ours was the best game of the two and I remember everybody saying that.”

“St Jarlath’s had Derek Duggan and Jarlath Fallon playing for them. Fallon played centre half forward in the first match and we had all our plans for him but in the replay he went out to right half forward.”

McGuckin didn’t reshuffle his pack. he placed trust in his team. “Barry McGonigle marked him and did a tremendous job on him.”

“We had Hugh Mullan and Brian McCormick at midfield, with Fallon dropping out around there. The high catching that day was phenomenal. That was the big thing, the amount of high catching there was around the middle of the field.” It had impressed the neutrals in Breffni that day. 

This was no surprise. I was lucky enough to experience McGuckin’s meticulous preparation. He was ahead of his time but never forgot the basics and the endless hours of kicking and catching on the back pitch that gave his teams a great platform for success.


The scoreline from the 1994 Hogan Final (3-11 to 0-9) suggests a comprehensive win for Jarlath’s but after viewing the video McGuckin didn’t see it that way. There was also a subplot.

The game had been refixed from the week before. “We travelled the whole way to Longford and now looking back it was absolutely ridiculous. I was told [unofficially] the night before that the pitch was unplayable and we travelled down and we were actually togged out.”

“Then having to turn and make that journey with ten buses of supporters and the expense of making that journey back down again.”

The 1994 St Jarlath’s team was a star-studded one. “There was eight of them that won All-Ireland senior medals with Galway just four years later. Michael Donnellan, the Joyces (Padraig and Tommie), the Meehans (Declan and Tomas) and John Divilliy were among them.”

Goals were crucial that day in Longford but the timing of them was more significant. “They scored a goal right from the throw-in and had another banged in before we knew the game was started. We came back into it and were playing the better football but they hit us with another goal.”

McGuckin met Padraig Joyce recently and the topic of 1994 came into the conversation and Joyce told McGuckin about the recent Jarlath’s reunion. “Their opinion was that they won it easy but after watching the DVD they couldn’t believe how much we were in the game.”


1995 Champions
Both teams had plenty of survivors back in 1995 but the rematch never materialised as Jarlath’s were piped by Tuam CBS in the Connacht Final.

Maghera were again hit with the age difference and six of the panel (including four starters) were ineligible. That same year the MacRory Final clashed with Bellaghy’s involvement in the All-Ireland Club Final involving David O’Neill and Mark Diamond. 

The MacRory was played the following Sunday leaving a very tight turnaround against Tuam CBS and McGuckin didn’t recruit any more players and ending winning the Hogan with a panel of just 20 players.

The final was a comfortable win over Wexford’s Good Counsel but the semi final was the defining moment on a windy day up in Ballyshannon.

“We had the wind in the first half and we weren’t that much up at half time. I remember Conleth Murphy working a great point but it was backs to the wall stuff in the second half. We won and nothing more, Derek Savage played that day and gave us plenty of trouble.”


There was a difference in the approach from the MacRory to the All-Ireland series. “You are a very good team whenever you win the Hogan but there is something more romantic about winning the MacRory. Even if you win the Hogan is seems like a bit of an anti-climax.”

“Your whole year and training was geared towards winning the MacRory. You never really thought much about winning the Hogan until the next day after the MacRory. You start looking at how many people you have eligible and when the semi final was and getting going again.”

“At that time the teams down south played a different brand of football. The kicking and passing was so precise but we were equal to any of them.”

“At that time a lot of the teams down South were boarding schools not just taking boys from their own communities but from other counties. Jarlath’s had boys from Donegal, Mayo and Roscommon so it was a big step up but it was all the better whenever you could win one of them.”

McGuckin’s enthusiasm is an infectious one and every player that passed through his hands will have been the better for having done so. Eamonn Burns mentioned it when he was speaking before the MacRory Final and the confidence he gained from school football.

The win in 1989 was the start of it all. Current boss Paul Hughes always makes reference to ‘what Adrian started’. Sean Marty Lockhart and Dermot McNicholl are all protégés of McGuckin and the Hogan breeding ground and are back coaching the next generation.

Pep Guardiola was talking about Johan Cryuff recently and Hughes has the same sentiments about the influence of McGuckin. “He built the chapel and the rest of us maintain it!”

  • 2014 Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne 1-8 St Patrick’s Maghera 1-6
  • 2013 St Patrick’s Maghera 1-20 St Patrick’s Navan 1-10
  • 2003 St Patrick’s Maghera 1-9 St Jarlath’s Tuam 2-4
  • 1996 Killorglin Community School 4-8 St Patrick’s Maghera 1-14
  • 1995 St Patrick’s Maghera 2-11 Good Counsel New Ross 1-6
  • 1994 St Jarlath’s Tuam 3-11 St Patrick’s Maghera 0-
  • 1990 St Patrick’s Maghera 1-11 St Jarlath’s Tuam 0-13 Replay
  • 1990 St Patrick’s Maghera 1-4 St Jarlath’s Tuam 0-7
  • 1989 St Patrick’s Maghera 2-15 Coláiste Chríost Rí, Cork 1-6 Replay
  • 1989 St Patrick’s Maghera 1-5 Coláiste Chríost Rí, Cork 0-8
  • 1984 St Jarlath’s Tuam 0-10 St Patrick’s Maghera 2-3
  • 1980 Carmelite College Moate 0-12 St Patrick’s Maghera 1-8