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Enniskillen Gaels make up for past disappointments with long-awaited Ulster title

Enniskillen Gaels 1-6 St Colm's, Ballinascreen 0-6

By John Campbell

They may have had to exercise considerable patience since their last title triumph in 1988 before they eventually claimed the Ulster minor club title once again on Monday, but Enniskillen Gaels certainly feel that the waiting has been worthwhile.

Manager Brendan Dooris encapsulated the euphoria that engulfed the team's camp when referee Brendan Toland sounded the final whistle at the St Paul's complex in west Belfast.

"I played in the Ulster club championship at senior level and experienced heartbreak but this victory makes up for past disappointments," maintains Dooris.

"I'm very proud of the players and the manner in which they played throughout this tournament. We never deviated from adhering to a one to 15 format and I believe this stood to us."

If their attack flourished in sparkling fashion at the quarter-final and semi-final stages, then their lion-hearted defence laid the basis for this vital charge to glory.

The Cassidy brothers Patrick and John in particular offered solid defiance throughout and it was a measure of the winners' coherent defensive mechanism that Ballinascreen were held to just three points from play overall. A well-taken Conor Love goal in the 13th minute was to embellish the Gaels' confidence but their Derry opponents were still very much in touch at 1-2 to 0-3 at the break - mainly because of Noel Rafferty's accuracy from frees.

But while the Gaels' stubbornness was sustained throughout, it was Ballinascreen's penchant for spurning scoring chances that ultimately cost them.

Only Martin Bradley and Emmet Duggan managed to hit the target from play with several players squandering opportunities at vital stages of the match.

With inspirational skipper Eoin Beacom, the player of the match, in imposing form throughout at midfield, the Gaels pocketed points from Callum Jones and Ronan Beattie that were to prove important in the final analysis.

"Obviously it was tough going for the most part but I thought our defence got through a lot of good work while we pressed forward from midfield.

"I thought we might have had more scores but having said that, I'm delighted with the outcome," adds manager Dooris.

Enniskillen Gaels: K Newman; O Agnew, P Cassidy, J O'Hare; G Greene, J Cassidy, R Quinn 0-1; E Beacom, B Horan; C Jones 0-1, C Quinn, J Reihill 0-1; C Love 1-2, R Beattie 0-1, M Dixon. Subs; G Horan for Greene; C Corrigan for Reihill.

St Colm's, Ballinascreen: R Scullion; D McCoy, C Doyle, R McKenna; R Doyle, A Bradley, Ciaran Logan; M Bradley 0-1, Christopher Logan; E McBride, C McAlinden, C Donnelly; E Duggan 0-1, N Rafferty 0-4 (3f), R McSorley.

Referee: Brendan Toland (Antrim)

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