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Intermediate championship stories 2003/2004

10 April 2004

05 April 2004

St. Michael's (Donegal) gave club football in the county a huge boost on Saturday 3rd April in Clontibret when they overcame Armagh intermediate title-holders Maghery in a thrilling Ulster intermediate club football championship final on a scoreline of 1-11 to 0-8.

The St. Michael's side with their three county players Christy Toye, Colm McFadden and team-captain Brian McLaughlin in outstanding form always looked likely winners with McFadden and Toye scoring nine points of the winning total.

The opening half proved very exciting with some full-blooded exchanges from both sides, with the winners finishing the half stronger which saw them ahead at the break by 0-6 to 0-3.

The Donegal side started the second-half in dramatic fashion with an early goal from Patrick Stewart, and this proved the deciding score in the end. Maghery recovered from this, and came right back into the game. Indeed they reduced the leeway to three points, and were gaining in confidence all the time.

However, St. Michael's upped the tempo in the closing ten minutes to run out worthy winners with the last score of the game – an excellent long-range point from their inspirational midfielder and team captain, Brian McLaughlin.

St. Michael's now play Dundalk Gaels in the All-Ireland semi-final in O'Neill Park, Clontibret on to-morrow (Tuesday) evening – starting time of the game 6.45 p.m.

St. Michael's (Donegal) – C. Gallagher; E. McBride, G. Gallagher, D. Trearty; J. Sheridan, B. Kelly, M. McFadden; Brian McLaughlin 0-1, D. Johnston; S. Stewart, P. Stewart 1-0, S. Coyle; M. Gallagher 0-1, Colm McFadden 0-5, Christy Toye 0-4.

Maghery (Armagh) – D. Fox; S. Cusack, E. Toye, P. Rafferty; N. Forker, K. Rafferty, S. Nugent 0-1; J. Fox, J. Lavery; S. McConville 0-2, E. Robinson0-2, G. Campbell; C. Mackle, P. Forker, C. Forker 0-3. Subs – K. Robinson for N. Forker; D. Lavery for E. Toye; S. Forker for G. Campbell.

Referee – Pat McEneaney from Monaghan.

Maghery’s run in the Intermediate Championship ended last Sunday after a defeat by St Michaels of Ballybofey, Co. Donegal. The Loughshore men had plenty of possession in the opening minutes of the game but unfortunately failed to capitalise on those chances.

St Michaels opened the scoring and added another soon after. Maghery again had chances but were unable to convert the free kicks they had been awarded. Seamie McConville opened the score for the Loughshore men with a left footed free. Stephen Nugent added another soon after before McConville stepped up to take his second. Halftime score: St Michaels 0:06; Maghery 0:03.

St Michaels had the brighter start of the two in the second half, Sean Stewart scoring the only goal of the game just a few minutes after the restart. Maghery fought hard under immense pressure and mid way in the second half had reduced the deficit to 4 points, Stephen Cusack and Kieran Rafferty proving strong in defence. This was not however to be Maghery’s year and 3 more points from this strong St Michaels team was enough to finish off the game. Final score: St Michaels 1:11; Maghery 0:08.

The committee would like to thank the team and management for their hard work and commitment throughout the winter and congratulate them on bringing the club to the first Senior Ulster final in our 98 year history. With so many of this team still young enough to play under 21’s, their success this year echoes well for the future of the club. Well done lads!

Playing in their first ever provincial final, Maghery lost out to St. Michael's of Donegal in the final of the Bank of Scotland Ulster Intermediate Championship on a scoreline of St. Michaels 1-11 Maghery 0-08.

Maghery were left to regret a series of bad misses in the opening 15 minutes when three goal chances were not taken and several attempted points didn't come off.

A physically more commanding St Michael's team eventually began to impose themselves and with their Donegal county players, All-star Christy Toye, Colm McFadden and Brian McLoughlin, coming to the fore they took control of the game.

St Michael's lead 0-06 to 0-02 at the break and extended their lead soon after the resumption with a quick goal that all but ended any hopes of a Maghery fight back.

Maghery battled on however and although they failed to clinch the Ulster intermediate title, this Maghery team can rightly be proud of how much was achieved this season by a very young and enthusiastic team.

Final score St. Michael's (Donegal) 1-11 Maghery 0-08

01 April 2004

The Bank of Scotland Intermediate Club Football Final for the Packie McCully Cup - will take place on Saturday (April 3rd) at 4pm in O'Neill Park, Clontibret.

The final is between the Donegal intermediate champions, St. Michael's and their Armagh counterparts, Maghery. Both sides have been impressive on their way to this decider, and on current form an exciting final is in prospect.

Leading inter-county referee, Pat McEneaney from Monaghan will be in charge and extra-time will be played if required.

20 March 2004

It's going to be a fairly tight schedule for the winners of this particular contest as they are due to play in both the all Ireland semi-final, and if successful there, in the final, within the next seven days. That however will not unduly concern either side as they go into Saturday’s final in Clontibret although a number of unknown quantities could materially affect the outcome.

At the time of going to press it is not certain whether St. Michael’s will have the services of their three very influential members of the Donegal senior county team, Christie Toye, Colm McFadden and the imperious Brian McLoughlin. Maghery too have an uncertainty surrounding one of the youngest players, colleges star Paul Forker, who helped St. Patrick’s Academy Dungannon to the MacRory Cup title and was a key player in his sides demolition of Galway college, St. Mary's, in the Hogan Cup semi-final.

All four are central players, the Christie Toye, Colm McFadden combination was the key element in St. Michael’s getting through their series of games in this competition and McFadden's two goals and a few points went a long way to them defeating Aghabog in the semi-final. Brian McLaughlin in midfield it is the vital link man as his ability to win possession and then distribute the ball astutely is a vital component of St. Michael’s game. Paul Forker along with his cousin carry similar responsibility for Maghery and if all of these players are lined out in St. Mary's Park on Saturday then it promises to be quite a contest. Throw-in in Clontibret on Saturday afternoon is at 4.00p.m.

The postponed Ulster Intermediate club Final, scheduled for last Sunday is now due to take place this Saturday 3rd April in Clontibret at 4pm. This meeting against St Michaels of Donegal will mark a historic day in Maghery’s club history and all members, locals and Armagh Gaels are encouraged to come along to support the team.

A supporters’ bus has been arranged, leaving the club at 1.30pm. The social club will be open from 11am. As with previous games, a £5 deposit will secure your seat, payable to bar-staff in the social club. The committee would like to take this opportunity to wish the management team and all the players the very best of luck for the final. We thank them for all their hard work and dedication over the winter months and hope that they reap the rewards that they truly deserve. Machaire Abu.

24 March 2004

Clontibret chairman, Colm Gormley, was a bitterly disappointed man when he was informed that the final of the Ulster intermediate club series between St. Michael's of and Maghery of Armagh due to be played in Clontibret on Sunday 28th March had to go by the board.

The decision would appear to centre on the fact that one of the Maghery players, Paul Forker is involved in the Hogan Cup semi final with his school, St. Patrick's Academy, Dungannon on Sunday in Sligo. Clontibret had originally planned to play the final on Easter Monday but following pressure from the Competitions Task Force in Croke Park they brought the final forward to this Sunday and initially understood that Maghery would play without the services of the talented colleges star. Getting the final re-arranged so that Ulster will have a winner to go forward to the All Ireland semi final against Dundalk Gaels will pose some problems.

Saturday April 3rd is a possibility but the Donegal champions could find themselves caught between club and county on that date as St. Michael's have two players, Christy Toye and Colm McFadden, involved with the Donegal U21 team and they along with Brian McLaughlin are key men on the senior side who are through to the semi finals of the league. If Donegal defeat Derry in the U21 championship this Saturday they will be in action again on Saturday April 3rd and as the Donegal senior team have their last game in the league on Sunday April 4th that would probably be out as well.

It is a scenario that again highlights the problems facing fixtures planners and the club v county/college syndrome although the example of the south Ulster League may be the way forward as the games there had to go ahead regardless of county or other commitments. The situation is further exacerbated by the fact that these competitions have to be completed before the inter county championship season gets under way in early May and with club competitions coming on stream in all the counties.

The long awaited Ulster IFC final between Maghery and St. Michaels of Donegal is to be rescheduled and will not now be played this Sunday.

The fixture clashed with the Hogan Cup semi-final which is also being played this Sunday. Three Maghery senior players - Paul Forker, James Lavery and Niall Forker - are part of the St. Patrick's Academy Dungannon team that won the MacRory cup on St. Patrick's and who will face St. Michael's of Galway in the Hogan semi-final.

The new date for the Ulster IFC has been provisionally set for Saturday April 3rd. More details to follow.

This Sunday 28th March will see the meeting of Maghery Sean McDermotts and St Michaels Donegal in the final of the Ulster Intermediate club Championship. The match will take place in Clontibret, Co.Monaghan at 3.30pm. This meeting will mark a historic day in Maghery’s club history and all members, locals and Armagh Gaels are encouraged to come along to support the team.

A supporters’ bus has been arranged, leaving the club at 1pm and returning at 5pm. As with previous games, a £5 deposit will secure your seat, payable to bar-staff in the social club. Maghery flags will be on sale in the social club this Saturday, a perfect way to show your support & appreciation of the team for bringing the club to the forefront of Ulster football.

The committee would like to take this opportunity to wish the management team and all the players the very best of luck for the final. We thank them for all their hard work and dedication over the winter months and hope that they reap the rewards that they truly deserve.

Machaire Abu.

Maghery will face St. Michael’s (Donegal)in the Bank of Scotland Ulster Intermediate Club Championship Final.

St. Michael’s beat Aghabog of Monaghan in the second semi-final, played on Saturday 6th March, on a scoreline of St. Michael’s (Donegal) 2-10, Aghabog (Monaghan) 1-8.

Details on the date and time for the final will be finalised and published soon.

Lurgan Mail
26 Feb 2004


ARMAGH Intermediate Championship winners Maghery clinched a place in next month’s Bank of Scotland Ulster Championship Final following a superb performance in Clontibret last Sunday. They beat their Tyrone counterparts Gortin by an eight points margin on the back of a slick and skilful performance which was an overall victory for attractive football.

At times moving with military precision the North Armagh Club took the fight to their Tyrone opponents and as early as the first minute should have found the net but Paul Forker was brilliantly foiled by Chris Greene in the loser’s goal who got across to parry a net bound effort.

That early setback only succeeded to galvanise Maghery and indeed young Forker who went on to cruise to another man of the match performance the prize for which he now can add to his award scooped last time out against Ballyholland and to the earlier accolade received for his outstanding endeavouring against Madden in the 2003 Armagh final.

With both sides wearing their county colours, due to the similarity of their club jerseys, the Armagh against Tyrone clash was always destined to have only one outcome. With Gortin scoring only once from open play and in the fifty second minute of a sixty minute encounter.

The only goal of the game and the one which set the standard, achieved via the elegant Paul Forker who knocked home a curling delivery from the winner’s midfielder Kieran Rafferty which arrived on 28 minutes. That strike put five between them at the break and just about measured the gap between the sides at that stage.

Maghery’s pace and guile up front was highlighted by their joint manager Jim Robinson who said: "At the end of the day it’s always nice to have pace up front. When you have boys as accurate as Conor and Paul up there, speed and skill is what the game is all about. These days you have to be super fit and those two guys are."

In the last ten minutes Maghery as a team certainly looked a lot fitter. Jim Robinson agreed. He said: "Maghery looked terribly fit. I think we had a more professional approach to the game. I knew at 1.30 p.m. today that we were going to win the match." As far as the long lay offs between the matches are concerned Jim wasn’t unduly concerned. "The boys keep ticking over twice a week and they are enjoying it. Myself and Joe (assistant manager) are enjoying it, and long may it continue," he added.

In fairness, and in hindsight, the Lough Shore side possibly expected a tougher test. Gortin lumbered up front, appeared to be somewhat cumbersome around the middle of the park and on the odd occasion when they did threaten they found Maghery’s last line of defence in uncompromising form.

Skipper Eamon Toye at centre back steadied the ship on a number of occasions. His flankers, Don Laverty and in particular Stephen Cusack, were excellent. Cusack got a free roll at the back due to Gorton’s attempt to crowd the middle. The young wing back showed courage going forward and has improved threefold on last season. With James Lavery being pushed up front in the second period big Joe Fox carried the can round the centre with Paul Forker claiming the man of the match plaudits Fox was knocked off the top spot but only just. He was in a word, superb.

The Maghery forwards as a unit excelled. Paul and Conor dodged around tackles, Eamon Robinson got through enormous work but possibly Seamus McConville got through the most honest to goodness graft on the day. As for the losers Christopher Green prevented the floodgates from opening between the sticks, he did well. Barry McCrory was decent as well, but their outstanding player was no doubt right half forward Kevin McCullagh who shot six out of his sides tally of eight.

Maghery’s goal arrived at a crucial time and just before the short whistle. Before all of that Stephen Cusack burst forward from wing back to crack over a great score which in some way cancelled out a first minute goal opportunity from Paul Forker, brilliantly parried by the Gortin keeper. Young Forker took a great score after a top class assist from Robbo but Gortin’s equalising point from McCullough was followed by a redundant scoring period for the losers of all of 18 minutes.
Kieran Rafferty striking the long frees into an angled wind bent one in the general direction of the crossbar, the second phase was finished to the net with some aplomb. Embattled and under pressure Gortin hit five second half points but every time Maghery crossed the 40 they looked like scoring.

Conor Forker, who proved to be a menace throughout for the loser’s defence, shot three second half scores, this was cruising time for the young side. Paul Forker belted over time and time again and Eamon Robinson shot the best point of the game nine minutes from time following a seven man move.

All of that has pushed Maghery into a possible March 17 Ulster Final against Aghabog from Monaghan or Donegal Club St Michael’s. For the moment at least Joe Fox and Jimbo Robinson can bring their charges back down to earth, before again raising the tempo for the final. No Armagh side has won this competition, perhaps Maghery’s players will bring the cup back to the county and indeed to the Lough Shore. It will take a good team to beat them if flair and skill again are in abundance.

After the game Gortin didn’t look overly disappointed, their players and the big crowd saw a decent team winning, albeit with a little in hand. There was nothing negative about this result but as they say there is still a final to be played that will be Jimbo’s line.

27 February 2004

Maghery are through to the final of the Ulster Intermediate Football competition. They had an easy 1-12 to 0-7 win over the Tyrone title-holders Gortin at the Clontibret, Co. Monaghan venue on Sunday 22nd February. Youngster Paul Forker who scored 1-6 from play, was the Maghery ‘man of the match’ on this occasion and looks a player destined for a big future in the game in the years ahead.

26 February 2004

MAGHERY (Armagh) 1-12
GORTIN (Tyrone) 0-7

A slicker, more accomplished Maghery deservedly booked their place in the final of the Ulster intermediate club series at the expense of Tyrone side Gortin in this entertaining semi final that was played in sunny but bitterly cold conditions in Clontibret on Sunday 22nd February.

Maghery led at half time by 1-4 to 0-2, full forward and man of the match Paul Forker striking for the goal just before the break.

In the second half Maghery continued to hold the upper hand with their better use of the ball and their ability to convert chances while Gortin were limited to just five points most of which came from frees.
Maghery will play either Aghabog (Monaghan) or St. Michael's (Donegal) in the final.

SCORERS: Maghery: Paul Forker 1-6, Conor Forker 0-4, Eamonn Robinson 0-1, Stephen Cusack 0-1. Gortin: Kevin McCullagh 0-5, Barry McCrory and Barry Daly 0-1 each.

Maghery: Dermot Fox, Stephen Cusack, Eamon Toye, Don Laverty, Niall Forker, Kieran Rafferty, Stephen Nugent, Joe Fox, James Lavery, Seamus McConville, Eamonn Robinson, Gerard Campbell, Conor Mackle, Paul Forker, Conor Forker. Subs: Kieran Robinson for N Forker, Gavin Fox for G Campbell, Paul McNamee for J Lavery.

Gortin: Christopher Greene, Fergal Ward, Nigel McCarron, Sean Coyle, Niall McCullagh, Barry McCullagh, Cathal McGrory, Peter Clarke, Dermot Daly, Kevin McCullagh, Barry McCrory, Paul Gormley, Barry Daly, Peter O’Neill, Shane Clarke. Subs: Colm McGarvey for C McGrory, Ciaran McGarvey for P Gormley, Edward McCullagh for D Daly.

Referee: D McQuillan (C’Blayney)

Maghery gave another great team performance on Sunday in Clontibret against Tyrone Intermediate Champions Gortin to advance to the final of the Ulster Intermediate club Championship. Quick-footed forward Paul Forker was awarded ‘Man of the Match’ for his impressive scoring and general play, but it was also commented on about how well the Maghery team played in its entirety. Final score: Maghery 1:12, Gortin 0:07.

Maghery will now face the winners of the other semi-final between the Donegal and Monaghan Intermediate Champions, scheduled for March 6th. Details of the date and time of the final will be published at a later date. The committee would like to thank everyone who travelled to the match to support the Maghery team and would also like to congratulate the boys on another great victory.

A great team effort from Maghery saw them comfortably overcome the challenge of Tyrone champions Gortin to advance to the final of the Ulster Intermediate Club championship.

Despite playing against a strong wind, it was Maghery that lead at the break, 1-04 to 0-02. Indeed the Maghery lead could have been greater if it had not been for the reflexes of the Gortin keeper, as he made two astonishing saves when it seemed certain that Maghery would goal.

As halftime approached the sides were level 2-a-piece, but Maghery finished with a flurry, tagging on a goal and 2 points in the final moments of the half.

Maghery came out for the second half with all guns blazing. With the wind advantage and the second half scarcely 5 minutes old, Maghery extended their lead to 8 points with a series of well taken points.

Gortin battled on, and though they managed to twice reduce the Maghery lead to 6 points, Maghery were always in control and continued to pick off some fine points.

Paul Forker was again the star of the Maghery attack, though he was ably assisted by Conor Forker, Eamon Robinson and James Lavery. Kieran Rafferty and Joe Fox had fine games at midfield, the latter giving a fine display of the high catch. Maghery veterans Eamon Toye and Don Laverty were rock solid in defence, while Stephen Cusack, Conor Mackle and Stephen Nugent defended well and were the platform from which many Maghery attacks were launched.

All round this was an impressive and disciplined team performance from a Maghery side missing key players Paul Rafferty and Seamus Forker.

17 Feb 2004

With the added incentive of a place in the All Ireland stages now that this new dimension has been added to this competition as well, interest in the latter stages of the Clontibret based intermediate club competition is at an all time high.

On Sunday 25th Feburary it is teams from Tyrone and Armagh who provide the action in the fist of the semi finals and that rivalry should add an extra edge to the exchanges. Gortin who won through to the semi finals with wins over St. Mary’s of Antrim by 0-19 to 1-13 after extra time and Ballymaguigan by 0-10 to 0-8 will meet Armagh side, Maghery, who defeated Ballyholland of Down in the quarter final by 0-12 to 0-10.

Peter Clarke is the driving force behnd Gortin while the McCullaghs in attack are both good finishers. Maghery for their part will rely on the Forker cousins, Conor and Paul for the bulk of their scores but they are a hard working outfit and will push the Tyrone kingpins all the way. The winners will play either aghjabog or St. Michael’s of Donegal in the final. Throw-in in Clontibret on Sunday is at 2.30pm.

Maghery will take on Tyrone Intermediate Champions Gortin in the semi-final of the Ulster club Intermediate Championship. The match is scheduled for Sunday 22nd February at 2.30pm in Clontibret, Co.Monaghan.

The club will be running a supporters bus with times to be announced. A £5 deposit secures your seat - payable to the bar staff in the social club. Everyone is encouraged to come along and give their support.

16 January 2004

Armagh intermediate football champions, Maghery Sean McDermotts have drawn the Tyrone title-holders Gortin in the semi-final of the Ulster intermediate football championship. The game will be played on Sunday, February 22nd and is should be an interesting and competitive encounter.

09 December 2003

MAGHERY (Armagh) 0-12

A point by Conor Forker two minutes from the end of normal time was the score that saw Maghery edge their way into the semi finals of the Ulster intermediates club tournament at the expense of Down side Ballyholland in this closely contested and at times highly exciting quarter-final game in Clontibret.

Conor and his cousin Paul were the key players in this valuable victory, they hit nine points between them and it was their inter play and ability to pick off scores at vital times that saw the Armagh champions take over increasingly in a very competitive second-half.

Earlier Ballyholland had been the dominant side with Shane Mullholland in particular dominating the exchanges on the ‘40 while Ronan Murtagh at full forward was also in purposeful mood and it was mostly their influence that saw their team comfortably enough ahead on double scores at the break, Ballyholland 0-8 to Maghery’s 0-4.

In the second-half however Maghery were a transformed team with a number of switches particularly that of Ciaran Rafferty to midfield helping to wrest control from the Down champions but it was still all to play for throughout the second-half.

Entering the final quarter Maghery had wiped out that four points half-time deficit and the outcome was balanced on a knife edge with the sides level three times inside the final 10 minutes.

Two minutes from time however came the vital score when Conor Forker picked off the winner although his side did endure another couple of anxious moments before Pat Mc Enaney sounded the full-time whistle.

Scorers: Maghery: Conor Forker 0-5, Paul Forker 0-4, Eamonn Robinson 0-2, Seamus McConville, 0-1. Ballyholland: Shane Mulholland 0-3, Ronan Murtagh 0-2, Adrian McAteer, Ciaran Hartigan, Ronan Murphy, John Barry and Robert Quinn 0-1 each.

Maghery: Dermot Fox, Stephen Cusack, Eamon Toye, Gavin Fox, Niall Forker, Kieran Rafferty, Stephen Nugent, Joe Fox, James Lavery, Seamus McConville, Eamonn Robinson, Gerard Campbell, Paul McNamee, Paul Forker, Conor Forker. Subs: Kieran Robinson for P McNamee, Don Laverty for G Fox.

Ballyholland: Kieran Murphy, Glen Elmore, Damien McCrink, Eugene Campbell, Paul McAteer, Brendan O’Hare, Colman Smith, Paul Murphy, James Patterson, Adrian McAteer, Shane Mulholland, Ciaran Hartigan, Ronan Murphy, Ronan Murtagh, John Barry. Subs: Robert Quinn for J Barry.

Referee: P McEnaney (Corduff).

11 December 2003

There was contrasting fortunes for Armagh clubs in current Ulster club football championship games last weekend.

In the intermediate competition played at O’Neill Park, Clontibret Maghery came out best in the ‘local derby’ clash with Down title-holders Ballyholland by a single point – 0-12 to 0-11 – to qualify for the semi-finals of the competition.

However, the Orchard county junior title-holders Annaghmore were out of luck at the Cremartin venue in Co. Monaghan when they lost out to the Tyrone champions, Eskra on a scoreline of 1-11 to 0-4 in the junior provincial competition.

An inspirational second half performance saw Maghery overcome the Co.Down champions Ballyholland to book their place in the Intermediate Ulster club Championship semi final last Sunday. A large blue and yellow contingent descended on Clontibert to witness the most exciting Maghery games this year.

It was Ballyholland who made the brighter attacking start, Maghery’s defence led by captain Eamon Toye tested early. Maghery’s Eamon Robinson opened the scoring, the result of a free kick by James Lavery. Ballyholland quickly equalised and narrowly missed an attempt on goal. Maghery worked well on the counter attack, Stephen Nugent registering Maghery’s second.

Paul Forker was denied a shot on goal by the Ballyholland goalkeeper, the Down men responding with three unanswered points. Another James Lavery free found Paul Forker who made no mistake and put the ball over the bar. Another foul by the Ballyholland defence gave Conor Forker a chance to pull another back for Maghery and as expected from the accurate forward, he took his chance calmly. Another three points from Ballyholland saw them pull away again to make the score at the break 0-08 to 0-04 in favour of the Down men.

Maghery re-emerged in the second half an inspired team. The introduction of team veterans Kieran Robinson and Don Lavery gave the team the experience necessary to bring the game back into their control. With half back Kieran Rafferty now teaming up with Joe Fox in midfield, Maghery began to claim much of the breaking ball in this area. Maghery were on target first, Paul Forker stepping up to claim his second point of the match.

Ballyholland answered with another point before a Paul Forker free brought the scores within three again. With his speed and ability causing all sorts of problems for the Ballyholland backs, Paul Forker was fouled after a great attacking run, Seamy McConville stepping up to convert the free. Another foul on Forker gave cousin Conor another opportunity to add to Maghery’s tally leave the difference between the teams at a single point.

Stephen Cusack foiled the Down men’s next attack, Seamy McConville passing the ball to the on form Paul Forker who brought the teams level for the first time since early in the first half. From this point there seemed to be no other option but Maghery going on to win the game and although Ballyholland scored two more unanswered points, these would be their last of the match.

Maghery’s final series of attacks started with a Kieran Rafferty free that found Conor Forker who, being too fast for the Ballyholland defence, popped the ball over the bar. Maghery’s defence were rock solid at this stage and were at the heart of every attack. The all-important equaliser came from a move that epitomised the spirit of team work that was so evident in this Maghery team. From a foiled Ballyholland attack, the ball was worked out through Kieran Rafferty, Stephen Cusack, Seamy McConville, Conor Forker and Gerard Campbell before Eamon Robinson finished the move with an impressive point. The winning score came from Conor Forker who, on receiving the ball from Kieran Rafferty, handled the pressure well and made no mistake in registering the score. Final score Maghery 0-12, Ballyholland 0-11.

This victory sees the Loughshore men advance to the semi-final of the Ulster club Intermediate Championship. This game will take place in February 2004, opponents to be decided. The club would like to thank all those who travelled to Clontibert on Sunday to support the team and hope that support will continue for the rest of our Ulster campaign. Congratulations to Jimbo, Joe and all the lads on such a great team victory.

Maghery progress to Ulster semi-final

07 December 2003

Despite trailing 0-08 to 0-04 at half-time, a depleted Maghery dug deep to squeeze past Ballyholland in the first round of the Ulster Club IFC, played today (Sunday 7th December) at Clontibret Co. Monaghan.

There was little to choose between the two teams throughout, Ballyholland's 4 point half time lead flattering them somewhat as a couple of uncharacteristic Maghery wides coupled with some questionable decisions from Monaghan referee Pat McEneaney saw the Down men go into the break with a double-score advantage.

After the break Maghery displayed much of the endeavour and skill that saw them lift their first-ever Armagh Intermediate title, piling on the pressure with a series of carefully engineered attacks. Ballyholland remained dangerous on the break however, and after they went a point in front after Maghery had reeled off 4 without reply, it seemed as if it was to be Ballyholland’s day.

Maghery remained disciplined though, and stuck to their game plan as they patiently moved the ball from defence to attack. Maghery’s speedy attackers had the measure of their opposition, and rather than panicking as time ebbed away they coolly managed to find the target twice in the dying minutes to record a fantastic win, much to the delight of the large Maghery support.

Full-time Maghery 0-12 v Ballyholland 0-11

1. Dermot Fox, 2. Stephen Cusack, 3. Eamon Toye, 4. Gavin Fox, 5. Niall Forker, 6. Kieran Rafferty, 7. Stephen Nugent, 8. Joe Fox, 9. James Lavery, 10. Seamus McConville, 11. Eamon Robinson, 12. Gerard Campbell, 13. Kieran Robinson, 14. Paul Forker, 15. Conor Forker

1. Kevin Loughran, 2. Glen Elmore, 3. Sean O’Hare, 4. Eugene Campbell, 5. John Patterson, 6. Brendan O’Hare, 7. Colman Smith, 8. Paul Murphy, 9. James Patterson, 10. Adrian McAteer, 11. Shane Mullholland, 12. Robert Quinn, 13. Mark O’Hare, 14. Ronan Murtagh, 15. John Barry

03 December 2003

Maghery, who won the Armagh intermediate football championship title this season for the first time in the clubs history, will be breaking new ground on Sunday 7th December at the Clontibret venue in County Monaghan when they compete in the provincial intermediate football championship.

The Armagh title-holders opening game is against the Down title-holders, Ballyholland in this prestigious Ulster club inter-football tournament.

Maghery were very impressive in winning the Orchard county title this season with a team which is a nice mix of youth and experience. Players like Kieran Rafferty provide the experience and also the championship ‘know-how’, while the pacey Forker brothers in the full-forward line are a test for the best of defences around.

This is also a local derby clash between neighbouring county champions, and there will be a lot of pride at stake on the eventual outcome.

Maghery will face the Co.Down Intermediate Champions Ballyholland in Clontibert on Sunday 7th December 2003. There will be a supporters’ bus leaving the club at 12.30pm on the day and returning at 4.30pm. £5 per person secures your seat, payable to bar staff in the social club from this weekend. All club members and locals are welcome to use the transport provided and your support would be greatly appreciated for this, the Senior team’s first ever run in the Ulster Intermediate club Championship.

04 November 2003

Newly crowned Monaghan intermediate champions, Aghabog will meet Fermanagh champions, Belcoo in the quarter final of the Ulster intermediate club series.

The Clontibret club which hosts the tournament had hoped to get things under way on Sunday week, November 16th with the preliminary round game between St. Mary’s Antrim and Gortin, Tyrone but due to a clash with other fixtures in Tyrone that game now looks like taking place on November 23rd with the winners then meeting Derry champions, Ballymaguigan.

In the other quarter finals Maghery, Armagh, play Ballyholland, Down and Denn, Cavan await the winners of the Donegal championship.

Lurgan Mail
30 Oct 2003


MAGHERY’S senior footballers bridged a 42 year gap when they won the Intermediate Championship last Sunday at Crossmaglen.
Back in 1961 the Lough Shore side picked up a County Armagh Junior Prize, but last weekend’s victory will serve to nullify all the years of disappointment and help to galvanising all at their club to greater things in the future.

The faithful from the banks of the Blackwater had travelled in big numbers to South Armagh for the game in the knowledge that on the development front it had been quite a year. But Sunday’s endeavour was all about winning the Intermediate title for a dedicated committee, two totally involved managers, namely Joe Fox and Jim Robinson, and a group of players, who at the start of 2003 set a target for themselves which they subsequently hit four square.

There hadn’t been days like this for the past masters like Frank Hanna, Kevin Rafferty and the dashing Dixie Robinson and before the event Malachy Heaney could only conjure up memories of the near misses of the past which, with the passing of time, can relinquish themselves at the bequest of a new and brighter looking era.

Sunday’s opponents, Madden, could only play a supporting role to the winners who had a lot more class, better skills on the ball, and a full repertoire of options up front, aligned with a full back, Eamon Toye and captain, who at last got his hands on the silverware which has eluded many Maghery skippers in the past.

The winners found the net twice during the decider, the initial strike coming from substitute Kieran Robinson four minutes after the break following a move down the right flank involving Joe Fox and Kieran Rafferty. Robinson succeeded at the second attempt with his initial effort having been blocked on the goal line by the combined efforts of Madden’s full back Kieran Monaghan and their keeper Ricky Green.

Young Paul Forker, however, needed just one chance to crash the ball to the net for Maghery’s second goal which arrived around the three-quarter mark. Conor Forker broke through the centre and his first time ball to the far post was brilliantly met on the volley by Paul Forker who delighted in a fantastic finish.

Madden’s Damien Green pulled back a consolation goal for the winners but coming as it did eight minutes from the end it only changed the cosmetic nature of the game which had just one winner from the early stages of the second half. At the break, however, just a point separated the sides. Both sets of forwards laboured somewhat, yet the winners always appeared to be able to create more genuine openings on the back of some slick counterattacking.

The sides were level twice in the initial stages. Gerard Grimley who made a run from his midfield shot Madden into an early lead with both Paul and Conor Forker shooting over at either side of a Damien Green point for the losers. Maghery’s captain Eamon Toye was forced to take a hesitant glance at Oliver Hearty’s top pocket but to the skipper’s relief a yellow was produced for a challenge on a Madden forward. On another day?

Toye, however, settled to lead by example and in a man of the match performance was a testament to the very young players around him. Paul Forker wasn’t that far behind in the ratings with his cracking strike midway through the second half hit with a degree of venom and a huge amount of cheek.

With scores from Kieran Rafferty, Paul Forker, a lovely effort from out on the left, and Seamus Forker, Maghery, lead by double scores with 20 minutes on the clock but their 0-6 to 0-3 lead was whittled away by a determined Madden side on the back of scores from Damien Green, Gerard Grimley and Steven McIlvenna.

The best score of the first half was without doubt a Paul Forker strike which sailed over at the end of a jinking run. James Lavery and Damien Green swapped scores to leave the eventual champions just in front at the end of the first period.

Maghery’s one point lead at the break turned into an eight point gap at the finishing line. The side’s management had gambled on the fitness of their prolific scoring forward Seamus Forker who was forced to retire with a reoccurring knee problem with Kieran Robinson stepping into the breach in impressive fashion.

The winner’s attacking wing back James Lavery put two between the sides on 33 minutes with the Intermediate champions making a winning move just a minute later. Kieran Robinson’s goal at the second attempt gave more credence to the gap between the sides and with the scoreline reading 1-9 to 0-7 it was now a case of by how many.

Paul Forker who was excellent throughout with a score and another point from a Lavery free pushed the decider to double scores and although Madden’s Shane McIlvenna pulled one back the effective Conor Forker knocked over a close in free at the end of the third quarter.

Paul Forker’s brilliantly finished volley at the far post ended the game as any form of contest and although Damien Greene, who had a decent game for the losers, produced a consolation goal eight minutes from time. The best forward on the park, Paul Forker, knocked over the final score of the contest to give the Maghery their first piece of championship silverware for 42 years.

Team work, a co-ordinated game plan, and a host of options up front won the day for the Maghery side. This youthful team possibly won’t be content with this and they could push for promotion next season. The Lough Shore club has made great strides this season on all fronts. They are now entitled to celebrate a famous victory. They started favourites for the Championship and they finished like favourites, but although next season will be tougher there appears to be a resolve at the club to reach even greater heights.

Maghery: Dermott Fox, Steven Casack, Eamon Toye (Capt), Gavin Fox, Steven Nugent, Conor Mackle, Gerard Campbell, Joe Fox, Kieran Rafferty, Seamus McConville, Eamon Robinson, James Lavery, Paul Forker, Conor Forker, Seamus Forker.
Subs used: Kieran Robinson, Niall Forker, Paul McNamee.

04 November 2003

In the curtain-raiser to the senior football final at Crossmaglen on Sunday 26th October, Maghery created their own piece of football history when winning the intermediate football championship for the very first time, defeating Madden in the decider by 2-13 to 1-8.

This was an excellent performance by the Maghery club, who played well on the day, and were good value for their eight points success. Their team captain, Eamonn Toye was the proudest man in the Orchard county on Sunday afternoon last when he accepted the cup on behalf of his side managed by Jimbo Robinson.

This success will be hopefully, a sign of greater things for the Maghery club in the years ahead on their return to senior ranks. Over the years they were one of the top senior clubs in the Orchard county, and it has been very much a time of rebuilding for the club in recent times. On this performance they seem to be well on their way to a successful comeback!

Last Sunday (October 26) proved to be one of the most exciting and proud times in our club’s history for many years as our Senior team deservedly became Armagh Intermediate Champions. Maghery overcame Madden in the long awaited final in Crossmaglen on Sunday to bring the Arty Hearty cup to the shores of the Lough.

Madden had the brighter start, registering their first point only 2 minutes into the game. Maghery answered swiftly, James Lavery gathering the ball from the kick-out, giving a fine pass to Conor Forker who expertly flicked it on for Paul Forker to pop over Maghery’s equaliser.

The first half continued in this fashion with the teams registering almost one for one scores. Maghery’s next attack came from an interception by Conor Mackle in the back line and ended with a fine point by Conor Forker. Maghery’s defence were well tested in the first half but with Eamon Toye playing a captain’s role and Conor Mackle making a goal line clearance from a Madden free, they managed to keep any attempt on goal at bay.

Maghery attacked well also, Joe Fox and Eamon Robinson opening the path for Kieran Rafferty to take Maghery’s third score of the half. Shortly after, a move for goal involving Stephen Cusack, Eamon Robinson and Paul Forker was denied by a save from the Madden keeper. Seamus Forker opened his scoring tally after Seamus McConville and Stephen Nugent had worked the ball from the half back line. Paul Forker scored next, before Seamus Forker registered another.

The defence continued to work tirelessly, Eamon Toye, Stephen Cusack and Gavin Fox clearing most Madden attacks. Indeed many of Maghery’s scores started from interceptions by our back line. Maghery keeper Dermot Fox halted another madden attack and passed the ball to Kieran Rafferty, who worked the ball down to Paul Forker to score Maghery’s penultimate score of the half. Seamus McConville registered Maghery’s eighth from a free. Towards the end of the half, Madden registered three points unanswered to leave the score Maghery 0-08, Madden 0-07 at the interval.

The second half saw the men in blue and gold burst out with all guns blazing. A recurring injury for Seamus Forker meant he was forced to retire from the game early, his replacement being Kieran (Pudgie) Robinson. The Maghery veteran didn’t hesitate to make his mark on the game when after just a few minutes on the field, he received a pass from Joe Fox and drove home Maghery’s first goal of the day. Conor Forker, Paul Forker and Seamus McConville added to Maghery’s growing scoreline before Madden had a chance to reply with their first of the half.

The Loughshore men maintained the momentum, Conor Forker once again making no mistake with his expert free taking. Eamon Toye, Gerard Campbell and Conor Mackle disrupted another Madden attack and Maghery again went on the counter attack. Seamus McConville was awarded a free and quickly passed the ball to Conor Forker who flicked the ball across the face of the Madden goal where Paul Forker was waiting to drive it into the net like a true pro!

Madden made one last attempt at a comeback and for the first time broke through the otherwise solid Maghery defence to score their only goal of the game. Maghery continued to attack and were denied a third goal when the Madden keeper intercepted a pass for Conor Forker from Kieran Rafferty. Determined to keep the pressure on until the final whistle, Maghery registered the last score of the game in a move that summed up their overall performance of great team play. James Lavery gathered from the kick out and the ball was moved down the field between Kieran Rafferty, Eamon Robinson and Paul Forker who, reliable as always, slotted the ball over the bar.

This was an impressive team performance from the Maghery men, who were dominant over their opponents in almost every part of the field. The committee of Maghery GFC would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Jimbo, Joe and the whole team on their great success. The dedication and hard work that has been so evident all year has finally paid off and the victory is well deserved. Thanks also to those who travelled to Crossmaglen to support the team and everyone who played a part in organising the welcome party for the boys on their return to the club. This victory augers well for the future of the club and we hope that this title is a stepping-stone to even greater achievements in the future.

Final joy for Maghery
26 October 2003

With a superb second half display, Maghery eventually shook off the stubborn resistance of a spirited Madden team to record an impressive victory in the 2003 Armagh Intermediate Football Championship final.

The large crowd of spectators in Oliver Plunkett Park, Crossmaglen, were treated to an exciting game of football. The first half was very tight, with the two teams contrasting style of playing paying rich dividends - Madden opting for route one football while Maghery were more methodical in their approach – and only a point separated the teams at the break.

It was Maghery that put the first bit of daylight between the two teams when Kieran Robinson, a first-half replacement for the injured Seamus Forker, found the net with a super follow up strike after his initial effort was well blocked by the Madden keeper.

Maghery again found the net when Paul Forker crashed home a supremely clever volley following some excellent approach play. Seamus McConville’s and Conor Forker’s accurate free taking pushed Maghery into a commanding 10 point lead with little over 10 minutes to play.

Madden did eventually manage to break down a very determined and disciplined Maghery rearguard, breeching the defence to fire home a superb goal. It was a case of too little, too late however and Maghery steadied the ship, cruising home to a comfortable victory.

Final score: Maghery 2-12 Madden 1-09

(A more detailed report will be published soon)

24 October 2003

Maghery and Madden meet in the Armagh IFC Final this Sunday 26th October at 1.30 at Oliver Plunkett Park, Crossmaglen. It is the curtain-raiser to the senior final between Crossmaglen Rangers and Dromintee - this final has a 3 p.m. start.

It's Maghery's first time playing in the intermediate final. They have lost three senior finals in 1986, 1991 and 1993. Only three players Eamon Toye, Don Laverty and Dermot Forker have survived that successful senior era for the club.

Madden, who play their league football one section below them in division three have a much better record in finals - winning the junior title in 1993, and the intermediate the following year. They contested the 1998 senior final against Crossmaglen Rangers.

This final is creating interest in both areas, and an interesting game is in prospect

Maghery advance to championship semi-final
04 July 2003

Maghery Sean McDermotts secured their place in the semi-final of the Intermediate Championship by convincingly beating St Peters of Lurgan in Portadown last Friday night. Maghery got off to a perfect start when Gavin Fox was brought down in the square and awarded a penaltly, which Conor Forker converted. Maghery kept the pressure on and with some great attacking football, went ahead with points from Seamus Forker, James Lavery and Eamon Robinson. The Peters’ men fought hard to keep the deficit to a minimum, the half time score Maghery 1:07, St Peters 0:05.

Maghery started the second half brightly, the defence working tirelessly. Midfield partners Joe Fox and Paul McNamee dominated their Lurgan counterparts, adding three great points to the Maghery tally. The forward line also did their duty effectively, Seamus Forker causing all sorts of problems for the Peters’ defence with scores from both frees and from play. Peters battled hard and pulled a few points back but with the Loughshore men putting in a great team performance, the score with 10 minutes remaining was Maghery 1:10, St Peters 0:08. In the closing minutes of the match, the defence cleared a Peters’ attack and laid the ball off to midfielder Joe Fox, who converted two brilliant long range points.

Maghery were deserved winners, with all positions working hard to ensure an impressive team victory. Final score Maghery 1:13, St Peters 0:08. Preparations are now underway for the semi-final, which is due to take place in two weeks. Details of opposition, venue and time will follow as soon as possible.

ACL DIV 2 - KEADY 0-10 v MAGHERY 1-08
Maghery continue good league form
22 June 2003

The Loughshore men were deserving victors for the second time last weekend in a hard fought match against Keady on Sunday. Maghery went into an early lead with points from Seamus and Paul Forker. With the defence working tirelessly, Maghery looked in control but still Keady kept picking off scores from frees, which left the half time score Maghery 0:05, Keady 0:04.

Both teams started brightly in the second half and with points from Niall, Seamus and Paul Forker, Maghery pulled ahead. Although Keady lifted their game with 10 minutes to go, the Maghery defence withstood the pressure with Stephen Cusack, Paul McNamee, Stephen Nugent, Eamon Robinson and Kieran Convie all working hard to keep any attempt at goal at bay. Keady tried continuously for an equaliser but a point from Conor Forker kept the minimum between the teams.
Final score Maghery 0:10, Keady 0:09.

Maghery’s next ACL Division 2 League match will be against Armagh Harps in Felix Hamil Park, Maghery on Sunday 29th June at 2.00pm.

Maghery outclass Carrickcruppin in championship
20 June 2003

The postponed first round clash between Maghery and Carrickcruppin took place on Friday night in the Athletic Grounds, Armagh. In a game somewhat tainted by bad official decisions and off-the-ball antics by Carrickcruppin, Maghery outshone, outclassed and outplayed both to advance to the next round of the Intermediate Championship.

Carrickcruppin had the best start, registering the first two points of the match. Maghery suffered an early setback when Don Laverty was stretchered off in the opening minutes. Spirits still not dampened, the Loughshore men turned on the style in a move involving Conor Mackle, Paul McNamee and Conor Forker; who drove home Maghery’s first goal to put Maghery ahead 1:00 to 0:02. Further scores from Seamus Forker, Kieran Rafferty and Seamus McConville saw Maghery pull ahead by 1:03 to 0:02. Carrickcruppin attempted a comeback with a shot on goal, Maghery captain Eamon Toye denying the effort with a vital block in the square. Towards the end of the first half, ‘Cruppin registered another 3 points, one from a free awarded against Kieran Rafferty, wrongly booked for an obvious fair shoulder. Paul McNamee popped over Maghery’s last point of the half to leave the score at the interval Maghery 1:04, ‘Cruppin 0:06.

The second half opened with tit for tat scoring, 2 from Carrickcruppin and two from Maghery’s Seamus Forker. Early into the half, Maghery launched a series of attacks that were to seal the match. Midfielder Joe Fox cleanly caught the ball from the ‘Cruppin kick out, and from an impressive long range shot, popped the ball over the bar. Maghery were straight on the attack again, Seamus Forker denied a goal by a save from the ‘Cruppin goalkeeper, only for substitute Gavin Fox to mark his introduction to the game by slotting home Maghery’s second goal. ‘Cruppin had a goal disallowed for being a square ball. The Loughshore men replied with a great accurate pass from Stephen Cusack in the half back line into the hands of Paul Forker, who from the 45 yard line, cut through the Carrickcruppin defence to hammer home Maghery’s third.

This ‘Cruppin team lacked discipline from the outset, culminating in a skirmish on the Maghery half back line when an attack was once again foiled by Maghery’s solid defence. The result of this was one Carrickcruppin player and Maghery’s Kieran Rafferty being wrongly singled out in a much too late attempt to restore order. Both players were sent off. The game continued with 14 men a piece, ‘Cruppin scoring three points from play in what would be their last attempt at a comeback. Late into the half, Eamon Robinson was struck in what was one of many off-the-ball Carrickcruppin fouls, the officials choosing to ignore the incident. Maghery and Eamon Robinson answered back in the most effective way, registering another point and duly bowing to the ‘Cruppin support. Conor Forker popped over another lovely score to seal this well deserved victory for Maghery. Final score Maghery 3:09, Carrickcruppin 0:11, a seven point win for the Loughshore men.

Maghery Sean McDermotts wish the Senior management team and players all the best of luck for the next round of the Championship against St Peter’s. All club members and locals are encouraged to come along to the next round to show their support for the team. Details of the venue, date and time of the next round will be given at a later date.

Maghery victory echoes well for championship
01 June 2003

On Sunday past, Maghery secured another away victory, this time against South Armagh rivals Carrickcruppin. Despite the awful weather conditions, Maghery had the brighter start, going ahead 0-04 to 0-01, courtesy of Seamus Forker and James Lavery points. Just before half time Maghery took a hard blow as the home side registered their only goal to leave the sides level at 0-06 to 1-03 at the break.

In the second half Cruppin added more points to the board but Maghery raised their game accordingly. With the backs defending well, the midfield sector working hard and the forwards causing all sorts of problems, Seamus Forker slotted home Maghery’s only goal, followed by points from him and substitute Niall Forker. Carrickcruppin did not lie down, registering another three points from frees. However, Maghery’s goalkeeper Kieran Fox pulled off a brilliant save with only minutes to go, securing a victory for the loughshore men.

Final score Maghery 1-09, Carrickcruppin 1-08. This victory echoes well for the upcoming Championship clash against Carrickcruppin on Sunday 15th June


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