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Lavey start New Year in superb style with a silver lining

Lavey 0-9 Termon 0-8

Just champion: Lavey get the party started as they lap up their success in yesterday’s Ulster Minor Club final over Termon at the St Paul’s club in Belfast
Just champion: Lavey get the party started as they lap up their success in yesterday’s Ulster Minor Club final over Termon at the St Paul’s club in Belfast
John Campbell

By John Campbell

The honour of collecting the first piece of silverware for 2020 fell to Lavey when they emerged victors in yesterday's Ulster Minor Club Champions' Tournament final at the St Paul's club, Belfast.

They were forced to do it the hard way by a resolute and gritty Termon side who stayed the distance in an absorbing game but were unable to hit the target in a nail-biting finish.

The Oak Leaf County side appeared to have stolen a march on their opponents when they swept into a 0-7 to 0-5 lead early in the third quarter, but they were unable to really drive on, yet still held on for a one-point win.

Both teams had made a sprightly start, with James McGurk, Calum Downey and Matthew Downey to the fore as Lavey pressed forward.

Their ability to deliver lengthy passes looked set to pay dividends but the Termon defence remained on red alert.

McGurk fired Lavey into an early lead and the Derry champions looked set to build on their advantage, but Donegal free-taker Ryan McFadden was to keep them in check.

McFadden, who proved his worth in the semi-final defeat of Kilcoo, was again measured and precise in his approach, and his composed presence was to serve his side well.

He landed four first-half points from frees in response to points from the hard-working McGurk and Calum Downey, with Adam McIlwaine supplying Termon's only other point of the first-half.

Just when it seemed that Trevor Alcorn's side might enjoy an interval advantage, Matthew Downey potted two frees to leave the sides deadlocked at that juncture (0-5 each).

The Oak Leaf side appeared to have stretched away from their opponents when they swept into a 0-7 to 0-5 lead early in the third quarter thanks to two James Dougan points but they were unable to impose their authority more.

Indeed, when Ryan McFadden landed his fifth point from a free prior to Adam Reid also hitting the target, it looked as if Termon's recovery mission might pay off.

And when Cormac Collins missed a goal chance, Lavey's confidence looked as if it might ebb.

Yet with the sides level at 0-8 each, the game remained very much in the balance.

But it was Lavey who were to prevail. The side kept their nerve, and when Patrick McGurk swung over their ninth point it was enough to get them over the line.

The hope now within Derry is that this success will prove the precursor of even better things to come.

Lavey scorers: J McGurk 0-2, M Downey 0-2 (2f), J Dougan 0-2, C Downey 0-2, P McGurk 0-1.

Termon scorers: R McFadden 0-5 (all frees), A Reid 0-2 (1f), A McIlwaine 0-1.

Referee: Gavin Finnegan (Down)

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