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Donal Maguire Memorial Cup - Champions!

posted 3 Mar 2013, 09:51 by Shaun-Marty Lawless

Saturday March 2nd 2013

Donal Maguire Memorial Cup

After a couple of February warm up challenge matches, the senior men of Ballyhegan visited the Sarsfields Club in West Belfast, on Saturday, for the first taste of competitive action of 2013, to take part in the Donal Maguire Memorial Cup, whilst helping to support the PIPS charity to raise awareness and help educate in the prevention of suicide (

A feast of football got under way, in the shadow of Black Mountain, after a lone piper lead the teams in an opening parade.

Ballyhegan opened the tournament against the host team, in devastating fashion, with live-wire front pairing of Paddy Marley and Eoin Reynolds causing plenty of damage, Eoin bagging a hat-trick of goals in the opening period. Two Philip Kelly points and an over from Mark Hughes without reply secured an unassailable first half lead. The “Paddies” managed to kick 3 points in reply, to Mark Hughes' second point, in a quieter second period giving Mark McKeever, & Johnny McKeever the chance to impress in defence and goals.

FT Sarsfields 0.03 – Ballyhegan 3.04

In the second group game the Davitts faced St Colman's, Drumaness, Co Down, and once again killed the game in the opening half in exciting fashion. Two more first half goals, Eoin Reynolds converting a penalty, for his fourth major of the tournament, followed by a clinical Philip Kelly finish to the net, set the tone for this game. Conor Williamson, Paddy Marley and Philip Kelly added to the first half tally.

Four more Davitts points followed in the second half Philip Kelly (2), Paddy Marley and Mark Hughes with a long ranger, before the opposition registered their only score of the game near the finish. Big shoulder hits from Mark Hughes & Michael McKeever the highlight of this game!

FT: Ballyhegan 2.07 – Drumaness 0.01

With the Davitts now qualified to the semi final stage, management had a chance to utilise the full 23 man travelling party a bit more in the final group game, against the pre tournament favourites Tattyreagh, Co Tyrone.

This affair was a lot cagier, Tattyreah registering the first point of the game, before Sean McNally drawing the loudest cheer of the day accepted a Tony Keegan pass and from long range kicked a super rare score, a parting gift as the defender heads off to Sydney – best of luck Sean!

Paddy Marley added a point, before Gerard Morgan forced the Tyrone keeper into a fantastic save, as a rasping effort looked destined for the top corner!

Keeper Jonny McKeever then popped up to point the resulting '45, Davitts with a two point advantage at the break.

Tattyreagh kicked three points in the second half and Davitts net minder Jonny McKeever saved point blank from an opposition attacker as the Tyrone outfit threatened a first defeat for Ballyhegan.

However James McKeever pointed near the finish, following a fine midfield fetch from Conor Morgan to earn a draw.

FT: Ballyhegan 0.04 – Tattyreagh 0.04

Ballyhegan came up against St Comgall's, Antrim in the semi final and lead from start to finish. Mark Hughes, Eoin Reynolds and Philip Kelly pointing, before the Antrim outfit replied just before the half time whistle with a pointed free kick.

Conor Williamson, Paddy Marley & Conor McCann kicked the second half points, the opposition limited to another two pointed frees, due to some excellent defensive work, young Aaron McNally in particular impressing.

FT: Ballyhegan 0.06 – St Comgall's 0.03

St Teresa's, Co Antrim defeated Tattyreagh in the second semi final setting up an intriguing encounter with ex Ballyhegan player and manager Peter McKeever, now taking the Belfast outfit.

With “Big Pete” having a good inside knowledge of the Davitt's team, the Belfast outfit impressed in the early stages, closing out the speedy Davitt attack and registering the first two points of the game. It would turn out to be their only two scores of the game, as Jonny McKeever, Mark McKeever, and Tony Keegan all excelled in defence, whilst Mark Hughes controlled midfield. Philip Kelly (3), Paddy Marley (2), and the industrious Eoin Reynolds pointed Ballyhegan to victory!!

FT: Ballyhegan 0.06 – St Teresa's 0.02

We'd like to congratulate the Sarsfields club for hosting the event, and all their efforts in publicising the PIPS charity and of Congratulations to the victorious Ballyhegan team and management, on prising the Donal Maguire trophy away from Tyrone – where all the previous winners have come from!