Derry old boys win as crowds turn out for Sam
Derry, inspired by their strike force of Joe Brolly, Paddy Bradley and Paul Murphy, were victorious in the 'Sevens for Sam' tournament on Saturday night in Brewster Park, Enniskillen, defeating Antrim in the final.
The competition was a fundraising venture in aid of Sam Bradley, the son of former Fermanagh player Colm Bradley who has high-risk neuroblastoma.
Each Ulster county, along with the Enniskillen Gaels and Crossmaglen Rangers teams who contested the 1999 Ulster club final and a Mayo select, competed in the well attended and supported seven-a-side competition.
The first match was a repeat of the 1997 Ulster final between Derry and Cavan. Derry, inspired by contributions from Basil Rafferty, Johnny McBride, Paul McFlynn and Sean Marty Lockhart got past the talents of Larry Reilly, Anthony Forde, Terry Farrelly and Peter Reilly, 1-16 to 2-10.
Cavan atoned for that loss with victory over Mayo, but with another win for Derry over the westerners they emerged from that group to make the semi-finals.
Peter Canavan, Jody Gormley, Fay Devlin, Feargal Logan and Seamus McCallan were among the leading lights for a Tyrone team that were fancied to progress, but their first game did not go to plan as they were cut to size by Antrim, 6-7 to 3-5.
Antrim had Kevin Brady, Kevin Madden, Joe Quinn, Sean McGreevey, Martin Mulholland and Paul Close in a strong outfit, with former manager Brian White organising from the sidelines.
Oisin McConville brought up a Crossmaglen contingent including John McEntee, Cathal Short and John Donaldson, but they were defeated in both group games by Tyrone and Antrim as the Saffrons emerged from that group.
Fermanagh topped their group with wins over Enniskillen Gaels and Donegal.
In the final section, Monaghan defeated Armagh – who had Jarlath Burns and Benny Tierney – but they could not stop a strong Oriel outfit.
In the semi-finals, Derry defeated Fermanagh and Antrim eventually triumphed over Monaghan in a feisty encounter.
The final served up some of the best football of the day with cracking goals from Paul Close and Kevin Madden, but Derry prevailed to win 1-21 to 2-14, with Paul Murphy picking up the Player of the Tournament award.