For St Colman’s College Newry All Ireland colleges’ winning footballer Caolán Mooney the year 2010 is ending on a high — but 2011 holds even richer promise.
The cultured left-half-back is today named in the Ulster Colleges Allstars Football team and when he completes his ‘A’ level examinations in June he will head off to pursue a professional career with Australian Rules Football side Collingwood.
Mooney is rated one of the most exciting young talents in the province and his impending departure Down Under is further evidence of the efficiency of the Rules scouting network here.
But his absence will be keenly felt in the Mourne county particularly as he has been a member of the Minor squad for the past two years.
He is one of three St Colman’s defenders who are included in the Allstars line-up, the others being this year’s Armagh Minor goalkeeper Matthew McNeice and sharp-tackling corner back Niall Donnelly.
And three members of the Tyrone side that won this year’s All Ireland Minor title — Harry Og Conlan, Richard Donnelly and John McCullagh — are also in the line-up.
Conlan is the only St Patrick’s Academy Dungannon representative in the side while Donnelly is one of three players from St Michael’s College Enniskillen and McCullagh is one of two Omagh CBS players in the full-forward line, the other being Ryan Mayse.
Ruairí Corrigan, who is named at centre-half-forward, follows in the footsteps of his brother Tomás who was included at corner-forward in last year’s Allstars line-up and who has since graduated to the Fermanagh senior squad. The brothers are sons of former Fermanagh manager Dominic Corrigan who is the St Michael’s coach.
Dominic of course has masterminded two MacRory Cup triumphs for St Michael’s and his side are among the favourites to lift the trophy again this time round.
And helping to make his own slice of sporting history in the Allstars side is Conall McNulty who becomes the first player from St Joseph’s Donaghmore to collect an Ulster Colleges Allstar.
Conall, who plays with the Eglish club, the same club that the late Cormac McAnallen represented with such distinction, has been in Tyrone Development Squads and he was on the Eglish Under-21 side that reached the Tyrone championship final this year. His prowess is such he is being tipped for big things at county level.
In all, seven of the nine Ulster counties are represented in the colleges’ Allstars side with five places going to Tyrone, two each for Derry, Down, Fermanagh and Armagh and one each for Antrim and Donegal.
Ulster Colleges Allstars Football Team: Matthew McNeice (St Colman’s Newry); Niall Donnelly (St Colman’s Newry), Ciaran Cannon (St Eunan’s Letterkenny), Peter Quinn (St Mary’s Magherafelt); Aidan Breen (St Michael’s Enniskillen), Conall McNulty (St Joseph’s Donaghmore), Caolán Mooney (St Colman’s Newry); Richard Donnelly (St Michael’s Enniskillen), Harry Og Conlan (St Patrick’s Dungannon); Ronan McGrady (Our Lady’s and St Patrick’s Knock), Ruairí Corrigan (St Michael’s Enniskillen), Emmet Bradley (St Patrick’s Maghera); Ryan Mayse (Omagh CBS), John McCullagh (Omagh CBS), Conor McNally (St Patrick’s Armagh).