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Derry side Classy Watty Grahams claim the U21 title

Watty Grahams 1-13 St John's 1-5

By John Campbell

Published 22/02/2016

No egos: Enda Gormley keeps his players’ feet on the ground
No egos: Enda Gormley keeps his players’ feet on the ground

Derry side Watty Grahams, Glen continue to prove an irresistible force at under-age level in Ulster football.

Having been the dominant force in the provincial minor club tournament hosted by St Paul's, the Maghera outfit have transferred their authority to the under-21 stage and in retaining the Bank of Ireland Ulster Club title at the Kickhams Creggan club yesterday they underlined that they continue to occupy a higher plateau.

Yet while the honours flow in, manager Enda Gormley, an All-Ireland winner with Derry in 1993, ensures that feet remain firmly rooted to the ground.

"There are no egos in this squad," said Gormley. "And if there were, they would be quickly reined in by the other players themselves. Having said that, the boys have acquired a winning mentality and that can be a help especially in finals."

The Watty Grahams teamwork, commitment and scoring prowess flourished in the second-half after St John's had been handicapped by the loss of sub Michael Bradley to a red card.

Yet they had held a tenuous 0-5 to 0-3 lead at the break, Ciaran McFaul (2), Paul Gunning (2) and Cathal Mulholland landing their points with Ryan McNulty, Padraig McKenna and Peter McCallion responding for St John's.

But as the game progressed, Watty Grahams' ability to control midfield proved crucial.

And with Mulholland driving forward repeatedly the Antrim side's attacking options were limited.

Yet when Padraig Nugent whipped in an opportunist goal in the 49th minute he triggered hope for the city side, but this was short-lived.

Ciaran Convery and Stephen O'Hara joined in the winners' points blitz and when substitute Jack Doherty drilled home a 58th minute goal this was nothing more than the icing on the cake.

He may have incurred a second yellow card in the closing stages, but this in no way diluted the delight of Watty Grahams skipper Ciaran McFaul as he took delivery of the trophy once again.

There was some consolation for Matt Fitzpatrick when he lifted the Eddie Fitz trophy for finishing top scorer in the tournament.

Watty Grahams: C Mullan Young; C Gallagher, C McDevitt, O Hegarty; R McDonnell, C Carville, C Mulholland 0-1; C Glass, C McFaul 0-3; T Flanagan 0-1, C Daragh 0-1, C McCabe; P Gunning 0-2, D Tallon, C Convery 0-2. Subs: J Doherty (1-1) for McDevitt, S O'Hara 0-2 for McCabe, T Mullan for Daragh.

St John's: M McKenna; C Garland, J Hannigan, L Laverty; P Nugent (1-1), M Bradley, R Hannigan; R McCafferty, R McNulty (0-2); C J McKenna, C McEvoy, P McKenna 0-1; P McCallin 0-1, M Fitzpatrick, F Morgan.

Referee: Sean Hurson (Tyrone)

Belfast Telegraph

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