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St Pat’s and St Mary’s enjoy moment in spotlight

By John Campbell

Danny Toner (St Patrick’s Downpatrick) and Conor McCann (St Mary’s GS Magherafelt) have become the first two pupils from their schools to earn coveted Ulster Colleges hurling Allstars.

Their elevation into the colleges’ elite provides further testimony of the growth in hurling at schools level and reflects the huge incentive provided by the Allstars scheme for players to make a significant mark.

Toner’s scoring exploits for St Patrick’s have been complemented by his form for his club Ballygalget whom he helped win the Down senior championship title and he has recently been introduced to the Down senior squad.

In addition, he has also turned out for Ireland against Scotland in the annual Under-17 Shinty international.

In becoming the first player from St Mary’s Magherafelt to achieve Allstar status, Conor McCann has cemented his reputation as one of the best young hurlers in Antrim. Indeed, he plays both football and hurling for his county at Minor level and represents the Creggan club.

St Patrick’s College Maghera have three players – Christopher Convery, Karl McKaigue and free-scoring full-forward Shane Farren – in the side while goalkeeper Conor McAlister (St Killian’s Garron Tower) is just as adept on the golf course as he is on the hurling field.

He plays off a five handicap and is the youngest winner of the Cushendall Golf Club individual championship title.

The only player from last year to retain his place on the Allstars side is Shea Gaffney (St Patrick’s GS Armagh) whose two brothers Barry and Paul helped the orchard county to win the Nicky Rackard Cup this year. The family have a long association with the Keady Lamh Dhearg club.

And St Patrick’s Academy Dungannon, which had never featured in the colleges hurling Allstars list until last year when Sean Kelly broke the mould, is again included this time with Damian Casey gaining his just reward for some consistent displays.

The La Salle school in west Belfast is well represented with Aaron McAulfied (left-full-back), Conal Morgan (centre-half-back) and Andrew McGowan (midfield) all included.

Ulster Colleges’ Allstar Hurling Team: Conor McAlister (St Killian’s Garron Tower); Christopher Convery (St Patrick’s Maghera), Stephen Rooney (St Mary’s CBS, Belfast), Aaron McAulfield (La Salle); Karl McKaigue (St Patrick’s Maghera), Conal Morgan (La Salle), Conor McCann (St Mary’s Magherafelt); James Black (Cross and Passion Ballycastle), Andrew McGowan (La Salle); Damian Casey (St Patrick’s Dungannon), Ciaran Clarke (Cross and Passion Ballycastle), Shea Gaffney (St Patrick’s Keady); Conor McNally (St Patrick’s GS Armagh), Shane Farren (St Patrick’s College Maghera), Danny Toner (St Patrick’s Downpatrick).

Belfast Telegraph

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