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Minor team success 2003

07 November 2003

07 November 2003

A week after their senior footballers collected their first-ever intermediate championship, Maghery's celebrations were extended with the minor squad, The Shamrocks - an amalgamation f Maghery and Ballyhegan winning the North Armagh League. Conor Mackle, James Lavery, Stephen Nugent and Paul Forker were part of the double success.

Shamrocks maintain Maghery’s winning form

Shamrocks, the amalgamated Maghery and Ballyhegan Minor team, overcame St Johns to claim the Minor league title in Felix Hamil Park on Sunday. This victory was particularly sweet for Maghery lads Conor Mackle, James Lavery, Stephen Nugent and Paul Forker who were also part of the Senior team last week that won the Intermediate Championship. The North Armagh County Board Representative Malachy Heaney also took the opportunity to present the Shamrocks with the under 16 North Armagh league (B section) trophy - a successful week for the club where silver-wear is concerned!

It is often said that goals win matches and this is certainly true where this final was concerned. On this occasion, it was Maghery’s Stephen Nugent and Stefen Forker who supplied the goals that were to ultimately separate the teams. St Johns had the brighter start, James Grimley registering the first point of the game from a free. Shamrocks were offered a chance to equalise, Gerard Kerr being fouled and being awarded a free but St Johns regained possession and went two in front. Shamrocks first score came when James Lavery caught the ball from the kickout and through passes from Conor Mackle and Gerard Kerr, found Paul Forker who calmly popped the ball over the bar.

St Johns eased ahead again with a well taken free by John McCormac before Barry O’Neill pulled one back for the lads in blue and gold. Paul Forker was on fine form as usual and who better to bring the teams level for the first time from an excellent score from a sideline kick. This seemed to mark a turnaround for the Shamrocks and they began to dominate the game from this point. Barry O’Neill won the ball from the kickout only to blown up for over-carrying. St Johns couldn’t make use of the free however and soon Shamrocks had possession again, Paul Forker accurately passing to half back Stephen Nugent who, showing his confidence gained from Senior football, burst through the St Johns defence to ram home the first goal of the match.

Midfielder Paul Courtney increased the lead to 4 points before substitute Stefen Forker scored the Shamrocks’ second goal to put the game beyond reach. Forker’s goal came from a move beginning with Conor Mackle who from a free kick found Paul Forker. The quick footed Forker out-witted 3 St Johns defenders before passing to brother Stefan who was better placed to finish the job, and made no mistake in doing so! Half time score Shamrocks 2:04, St Johns 0:03.

Shamrocks kept up the momentum in the second half and could have gone further ahead, a Paul Forker free being knocked away from the goal-mouth by the St Johns keeper. The Shamrocks’ defence was also kept busy in this half, although solid performances from backs Johnny McKeever and Barry Morgan, and goalkeeper Christopher Corr, kept any attempt at a St Johns comeback at bay. Shamrocks suffered two setbacks in this half, the first was Barry Morgan being forced to retire from the game early after colliding with team-mate Chris Lavery. The second came in the form of Barry O’Neill being sent off after two yellow card offences but not before he could combine forces with Paul Courtney to register the final score of the game. Final score Shamrocks 2:06, St Johns 0:06.

Although slow to start, this was a solid team performance from the Shamrocks who were overall too strong for this St Johns team. Shamrocks’ captain Conor Mackle accepted the David Lavery Perpetual Cup on behalf of the team from North Board Representative Malachy Heaney. 


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