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McGourty sets new record with sixth Sevens triumph for St Gall's

Gaelic Games

By Declan Bogue

Published 20/09/2016

Winners: the St Gall’s players celebrate with the cup after the Volkswagen Senior Football Sevens at Kilmacud Crokes
Winners: the St Gall’s players celebrate with the cup after the Volkswagen Senior Football Sevens at Kilmacud Crokes

Kieran McGourty became the most decorated player in sevens history on Saturday when he secured his sixth All-Ireland title with St Gall's at the Kilmacud Sevens.

The Belfast club have a phenomenal record, winning the competition six times since 2005, to go with their previous title in 1985.

With Terry O'Neill and Sean Kelly - on five - both absent on Saturday, McGourty moves into a record title haul.

As the story would have it, it was McGourty that kicked the all-important goal in their penalty shoot-out against final opponents and hosts Kilmacud.

"It's not something you practise," he laughs now.

"I don't know why, but I don't think we have ever lost a penalty shoot-out."

He revealed that the club only practice sevens football "now and again", despite their awesome record.

"In pre-season we might do it because it is a way of getting fit, boys interested because they want to play football," he said.

"Fifteen-a-side has become very like sevens now and, at the end of the day, if you are practising your ball skills it is a good way of replicating it."

He insists that this level of success is not taken for granted within the club, and one facet of Saturday's team is how they have blended new faces such as Niall O'Neill and Brendan Bradley alongside Conor and Sean Burke and Antrim captain Kevin Niblock, who hit 1-8 in the final.

McGourty continued: "There is always a good bit of competition about who will be going down to it and a bit of banter, people want to play in it. Obviously there is a bit of slagging about who has how many titles."

And he also enjoys how his role as goalkeeper keeps the current Antrim goalkeeper Chris Kerr off the team.

"He fancies himself as a player out the field, but the truth is he is about the sixth best goalkeeper in St Gall's, the rest of us can just all play out the field," he joked.

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