Watty Graham's still in shape for title defence
The annual St Paul's minor club Championship got under way with two games on Saturday, and a familiar name delivering a message to all those that would dare to take their title.
Watty Graham's, commonly known as Glen, or even by their place-name Maghera, have won three-in-a-row of these tournaments, testimony to the work put in at youth level in their club by 1993 All-Ireland winner Enda Gormley in the past, and latterly, his team-mate of that time and current manager, Fergal P McCusker.
They met local boys, Belfast's O'Donovan Rossa, and by the end, 19 points separated them, Watty Graham's hitting 3-17 to Rossa's 0-7. The curious thing is that Rossa were only two points adrift at half-time, but were restricted to a single point in the second half.
With a typically-large crowd in support, those involved in the club will be hugely encouraged that the conveyor belt of talent shows no sign of slowing down, although the loss of one of their brightest talents, Conor Glass who has signed a pre-contract agreement with Hawthorn in the AFL, is sure to be something of a blow.
The second game was staged at the Dub, the Queen's playing fields when Southern Gaels, an amalgamation side from Cavan featuring some Gowna clubmen, got the better of Moortown of Tyrone, 2-14 to 2-11. Southern Gaels will now meet Crossmaglen Rangers on December 14th.
Donaghmoyne of Monaghan had a facile 5-16 to 1-3 win over Erne Gaels of Fermanagh on Sunday, and will now face Watty Graham's in the semi-final on December 21st.
The game was still a contest by half-time but a glut of goals in the second half broke the Fermanagh opposition.
Elsewhere, Henry Shefflin's Ballyhale Shamrocks landed their eighth Leinster hurling championship, when they took over proceedings in extra-time to defeat Kilcormac-Killoughey 0-21 to 1-14.