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August 22nd 2001

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County Title for Four Masters
U21s lift Cunningham Cup after 22 year gap

by Sean Dunnin Jnr.

The team celebrates with the cup

Sunday last was another great day in the history of Four Master’s G.A.A. when the club won its first Under 21 championship since 1979. There was tremendous excitement when the Cunningham Cup, so named in memory of two great Naomh Columba players and brothers, J.P. and Patrick Danny, was presented to Four Master’s Joint Captains, Ciaran Cassidy and Garth Britton by County Chairman, John McConnell. On hand to see the presentation was Dermot Mc Gettigan who was the captain in ’79 and it was also great to see some members of that team in MacCumhaill Park on Sunday such as Gerry Breslin, Marty Kelly, Seamus Meehan and Enda Nolan.

This success can be attributed to the great work that has been done by everyone at underage level in the last ten or twelve years and manager Peter Callaghan summed it up after the match when he said “Days like this are what it makes it all worthwhile”. Many of these players have already won underage championships at Under 12, 13, 14, and 16 level and hopefully this will be the springboard to greater success in the years ahead. The supporters also deserve a special mention as they came out in their hundreds to support the team and the cavalcade back to the Diamond on Sunday evening will remain in the memory for many years to come.

We've done it! Four Masters players and subs celebrate their victory.

The game itself ended 0-14 to 1-7 and while the scoreline might seem comfortable, the Four Master’s lads gave their supporters some very anxious moments before the final whistle sounded. The game swung from end to end in the first half with the Master’s trailing Cloughaneely 1-2 to 0-4 at half time. The first half will be remembered for two glorious goal chances, which were missed by corner forward, Martin Gildea and a brilliant penalty save by Martin Cassidy.

Four Master’s won the game in the first ten minutes of the second half when they knocked over five unanswered points, those coming from Michael Doherty (2), Peadar Espey, Martin Gildea and Garth Britton. Further points from Michael Doherty, Martin Gildea (3) and Garth Britton ensured that the Master’s brought the cup through the Gap and the celebrations could begin. It was a great team performance but some players stood out and gave excellent displays such as goalkeeper, Martin Cassidy, corner back Enda Brogan and forwards Garth Britton, Michael Doherty and Martin Gildea.

Goal keeper Martin Cassidy takes command, watched by Enda Brogan and Barry Dunnion

At the post-match function Chairman Paul Duncan said that it was a very proud day for himself and the club and he thanked all the players, manager Peter Callaghan and his assistants Danny Dunnion and Gerry Molloy for their great work and commitment throughout the year. Captain, Ciaran Cassidy then thanked all the players and management for their effort and he hoped that this was just the start of success coming to the club and that a senior championship should be the next step for the club.

Asked by Donegal Times as to what he attributed the victory, Manager Peter Callaghan said "Though this is a very skilful squad, I would put this success down to hard work and being the hungriest for a win on the day. This was a team effort and I would not like to pick anybody out for particular mention".

Missing from the team were Karl Lacey, on holidays in the U.S. and, a late defection, goalkeeper Paul Durcan who picked up a last minute injury during training on Saturday. Martin Cassidy replaced the unfortunate Paul and played a large part in the victory by saving a penalty. Indeed Manager Callaghan put this down as a turning point in the game.

But the manager had a gripe. He mentioned young Michael Doherty as having had an excellent game "he is still only 17, and was on the Co. Minor squad this year but did not get a run out on the team proper. How can it be that he stars on the best U21 team in the county, but cannot get his place on the county U18 team."

The victorious team and substitutes were Martin Cassidy, Enda Brogan, Kevin Callaghan, Damien Cassidy, Rory McGowan, Marcus Monaghan, Patrick Gillespie, James McMullin, Ciaran Cassidy, Kevin Molloy, Garth Britton (0.2), Barry Dunnion, Martin Gildea (0.5), Michael Doherty (0.4), Peadar Espey (0.3), Paul Durcan, Shane Browne, Kevin Clarke, Martin Travers, Donal Dunnion, Aaron Charles.

Barry Dunnion and Kevin Callaghan combine to blot out this Cloughaneely forward

The Donegal Times, The Diamond, Donegal Town, Ireland

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