Glen retained their provincial title with a rip-roaring start to the Danske Bank Ulster Club Minor Football final at Shaw’s Road in Belfast.
The Maghera lads were tipped to keep the Jimmy McConville Cup right from the start of the campaign and they never failed their supporters, polishing off the competition with a comprehensive defeat of Killeavy by 4-7 to 1-7.
It may not have been the winners’ best display of the competition but they were complete masters throughout after starting with a whirlwind scoring blast to be 2-2 to 0-0 up, after just 10 minutes.
Despite missing the highly-promising Emmet Bradley from last year’s winning team, the Maghera club still had the vast majority of players from last year. They have been exceptional in making their way to the final.
Indeed, their biggest test this season may have come in the Derry final, when they struggled to put neighbours Slaughtneil away by the slenderest of margins.
Glen’s early blitz rocked the Armagh winners but the likes of midfielder Michael Murphy, full-back Donal O’Neill and Kyle Mallon tried extremely hard to stem the tide task but, overall, the losers lacked the physical ability to match the holders.
In attack, the Orchard County champions were too lightweight for the bigger and more experienced Glen men.
Cahir McCabe bounced off the bench and inside two minutes had rifled over two points which proved that not only the 15 starters were match winners but the reserves were just as useful.
A point after 90 seconds by Stephen O’Hara set the winners on their way.
In the fourth minute, Paul Gunning netted on four minutes and less than a minute later Danny Tallon rifled home another goal with O’Hara kicking a point to open a 2-2 to 0-0 gap.
Glen’s third goal, following a swift attack that started with Ryan Dougan in midfield, carried on by Conor Glass and finished by Tallon for his second major, in the 25th minute, left the winners in command at 3-3 to 0-2 at the break.
Killeavy were extremely unlucky to lose star defender Donal O’Neill with a leg injury eight minutes after the restart and, to plug the gap, Murphy went into defence but, later, he pulled up too. However, he stayed in the game, even though not fully fit.
After sub McCabe rifled over his two points, Dougan rattled the Killeavy net again in the 48th minute to open a 15 points gap and completely slam the door shut at 4-7 to 0-4.
Glen didn’t need to score again, during the closing 14 minutes, as Killeavy added three superb points and, in injury time, scrambled home a goal.
Dougan, a powerhouse in midfield, won the Anne Marie Donnelly Memorial Trophy as Man-of-the-Match with Ciarán McFaul lifting the Jimmy McConville Cup, as capain.