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Tyrone's Naomh Eoghan club up and running


Dual glory: Pascal McConnell is a double All-Ireland winner
Dual glory: Pascal McConnell is a double All-Ireland winner
John Campbell

By John Campbell

It's not often that a new GAA club takes a bow but this was very much the case in Tyrone this week when the recently-formed Naomh Eoghan side held its first meeting.

The club came into being when the players from the Dregish club which has ceased to exist transferred to Newtownstewart, who had gained intermediate status, meaning the new team will compete in Division Two of the All-County League next year.

Over the course of recent campaigns, the Newtownstewart club in particular produced a number of outstanding players including goalkeeping brothers Pascal and Finbarr McConnell.

Pascal was the custodian in the Tyrone side that won the All-Ireland title in 2005 and 2008, while Finbarr laid claim to four Ulster senior championship medals between 1989 and 2001 - and was also honoured with an All-Star award.

Meanwhile, Peter Canavan's younger son Ruairi is making his own headlines these days.

The talented 16-year-old has just been named as one of eight Tyrone players who have been conferred with Queen's GAA 2019-2020 Football Future Stars awards.

The gifted forward has been in outstanding form for his club Errigal Ciaran and his school St Ciaran's College, Ballygawley of late.

He was inspirational in helping St Ciaran's win the Ulster Colleges Arthurs Cup and, in the final of the Tyrone U16 championship, he scored eight points for Errigal Ciaran in their defeat to Loughmacrory.

He certainly looks set to create a big impact at U17 level in 2020 and will follow in the footsteps of his brother Darragh, who was quite sensational in Tyrone's colours at U20 level in particular this year.

The other Queen's Football Future Stars from Tyrone are Niall Robinson (Derrylaughan), Callan Devlin (Fr Rocks), Adam Toner (Dungannon Clarkes), Sean O'Donnell (Trillick), Michael Forbes (Ardboe), Conor McGillion (Fintona) and Cormac Devlin (Ardboe).

Elsewhere, a special charity match will take place at Gardrum Park, Dromore next Saturday, December 29 when an O'Neill's Team Talk Mag All-Stars side managed by Mickey Harte will face the local St Dympna's club.

The All-Stars line-up will be composed of past and present Tyrone players for a game that invariably attracts considerable attention.

The proceeds will go to the St Vincent de Paul, the Friends of Kevin McCartan and the Strabane Down Syndrome group.

Away from the playing arena, Longford native John Devaney has been elected as Down's new county board chairman.

Devaney has been an inspirational force on numerous fronts within the county since taking up residence there. He has held several county board offices in the past.

Devaney was unopposed in his bid to replace outgoing chairman Sean Rooney.

As well as having been an officer of the Down board since 2005, Devaney is also a former chairman of Queen's University GAA club and the Higher Education GAA Council.

In typical fashion, Devaney has lost no time in outlining what he sees as his priorities in his new role.

He will focus on the building of the proposed Centre of Excellence, the development of a new coaching plan and the recruitment of additional referees.

Belfast Telegraph


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