THIS WEEKEND will see two finals for Cookstown and first up it is Fours in the Junior Shield with the club’s perennial top scorer Richard Quickdraw McGaw hoping to bring the Reds’ favourite trophy home.
The Junior Shield has been like a permanent piece of furniture at the clubhouse - the Fives/Fours won it for three years on the trot from 2002 to 2004 and they even had the audacity to inscribe their name as winners before the competition had even started in 2004. In 2008, McGaw captained the Fives to victory over our own Fours.
So the trophy holds fond memories for our junior club teams. The Reds must be favourites this year as North Down IV play their hockey in Junior League Four, although this will change next year as they have achieved promotion.
“We are going down there to get the win and that’s it,” said McGaw. “This is my second time captaining a side in the Junior Shield final - two years ago my Fives beat Cookstown IV 2-1 in the final at Coolnafranky - and if anything this team is stronger than that one.
“The team have been outstanding from start to finish of every cup game so far and some players have had to rearrange their lives to continue this cup run, so I don’t want to let them down now.
“We defeated North Down III in the semi-final but I don’t expect North Down IV to be any easier,” the silver-haired skipper said. “They are an older side with calmer heads and have been together a long time, even playing cricket together.
“But we have youthful endeavour on our side and I would back that spark to give us what we need and hopefully put us in a position to win.
“I want to thank the boys for getting us this far and ask any Cookstown supporter to head down to Stormont for 10.30am on Saturday to cheer us on - after all, it’s bigger than the Kirk Cup!”
The squad has the proverbial mix of youth, experience and the disabled - Michael Millar provides the experience and Malcolm McWhirter the mobility challenged. Malc will be joined by his son Andrew and I know from experience how proud this will make him feel - especially if the result is right. Malc will have the Johnston twins on each side of him and of course McGaw ahead of him.