The success of the under-16 minor team of the late 1960’s led to a concerted approach to junvenile football, by people like Fr. McCabe, Fr. Boyle, Brian O’Byrne, Johnnie Farrelly and others. As far back as 1969 a team which included Sean Smith, Tony Lynch, T.P. Daly and John Farrelly reached the under-14 county semi-final. In 1973 a team that featured Josie Clarke and Aidan Connell demoralised all opposition only to be expelled from the competition by an objection on the eve of the final.
Juvenile football in the parish came into its own in the late ‘seventies with such players as Charlie Doughty, Owen & Gene Farrelly, Peter & Paul Cooney and Brian Connell. In 1976 a team captained by Brian Connell reached the under-12 semi-final in Roinn B only to be beaten in a very hard fought game by Crosserlough who were then a very strong force in juvenile football in the county.
In the following year, came success, when an under-12 team led by Patrick Carolan and of which half the players were under-10, defeated Corlough in the Roinn C final on a score of 3-12 to 4-0. Patrick Carolan scored 1-7. It is worth recording this first winning panel of players: – Eoin Cahill, Brian O’Byrne, Brian Daly, Ronan Carolan, Thomas Farrelly, Patrick Carolan (Capt.), Damian O Reilly, Philip Connell, Wayne O’Reilly, Michael Doughty, Gerard McKenna, Paddy Smith, Pat Calvey, Bernard Farrelly, Pat Smith (Corryrorke), Ray Cole, Peter Daly, Seamus Smyth.
1978 was a blank year but in 1979 our juveniles again reached Breifne Park, this time for the under-14 Roinn C final where they had to play second best to Gowna. The Cuchulainn team that day was Eoin Cahill, Brian O’Byrne, Brian Daly, John Smyth, Paddy Smith, Patrick Carolan, Damien O’Reilly, Philip Connell, Thomas Conaty, Ronan Carolan, Gerard McKenna, Michael Doughty, Thomas Farrelly, Pat Smyth, Bernard Farrelly, Wayne O’Reilly, and Seamus Smyth.
In 1981 a decision was made which some people thought to be foolish. Brian Byrne, NT, who was in charge of the juveniles, decided that a move up into Roinn B would improve the standard of football of the boys even if victory was not achieved. A lot of time was given to training and coaching and what happened was a revelation. There were three divisions and Cuchulainns sailed easily through, defeating Denn, Shercock and Laragh.
Three teams were left in the final stages, Gowna, Cuchulainns and Mullahoran. Someone had to get a bye in the final and the lucky team was Gowna. This left Cuchullainns to play Mullahoran in the semi-final. In order to prepare the players for what was expected to be a tough game, they played a challenge game against Carnaross which brought everyone down to earth as the Meath boys administered a severe lesson. However, this reverse had a good effect. In a thrilling, high-scoring game in Breifne Park, Mullahoran were beaten by 6-10 to 4-5 and our boys were through to the final against Gowna.
In the same year Bailieborough won the Roinn A competition and the chairman of Bórd na nÓg, Fintan Tierney, sponsored a play-off between the two winners, the proceeds to go to charity. The game played in Killinkere and after an exciting game Cuchulainns came out on top to claim the title of the best under-14 team in the county. Mention must be made of two players who played a big part in the victory, Kieran Gillic who closed down Bailieborough’s star forward, Martin Carolan, and Adrian O’Byrne whose first game this was and who made life very difficult for the opposing backs. This was also revenge for the boys who had been beaten previously in the under-12 final by the same side.
With most of the 1981 team gone and having to play in Roinn A as a result of victory, 1982 was a lean year while a new team was being up. In the meantime the winning under-14 team of the previous year was entered in the under-16 competition and got as far as the semi-final when they were beaten by Gowna.
1983 was a good year again for the juveniles. The under-14 team was again in Roinn A semi-final, and this time they made their way to the final where after a hard fought battle they were beaten by a bigger Lurgan team at Killinkere. The panel was, Cahal Doughty, Noel Donohoe, R. Reilly, Terence Daly, Eugene Lynch, Jimmy Reilly, Peter Glennon, Liam Doughty, Fintan Cahill, Martin Quinn, Kevin Gilesnan, Mark McKenna, Brian Clarke, Dermot Donohoe, Martin Flanagan, John Doughty, Kilian Monaghan and Mark Smith.
At the same time the under-16 team were also playing their way into the final in which they were once again up against Gowna. The final was delayed and when it eventually did come off Cuchulainns were without Philip Connell who was injured, while Brian Daly played with an injured hand, which didn’t help the morale of the team. The first-half was all one-way traffic with Gowna thirteen points in front at half-time. The second-half was a thriller with Cuchulainns putting up a great fight to get back into the game, but just when they were within striking distance Gowna broke away for a goal which clinched it. The panel was, Jimmy Reilly, Brian O’Byrne, Noel Donohoe, Paul Smith, Paddy Smith, Kieran Gillick, Brian Daly, Michael Doughty, Ronan Carolan, Gerard Mc Kenna, Fintan Cahill, Kevin Gilesnan, Liam Doughty, Martin Quinn, Adrian O’Byrne, Peter Glennon, Liam Flanagan, Noel Taite, Philip Connell.
From 1984 on, the under-age teams have had little success, being beaten in the early rounds of the competitions. During this time playing members of the intermediate team were coaching and training the teams. Eamonn Carolan, Charlie Doughty and John Taite spared neither time nor effort to ensure the future of football in the parish however due to small numbers there was very little return in terms of silverware.
The minor team managed by Michael Dunne took home the first title for 1987.
In 1988 a team managed by Fr Lynch and Master Brian Byrne took U14 Roinn C League honours with a win over Knockbride in Breffni Park. This team included among others Kilian Smith, Tommy Daly, Niall Donohoe, Brendan Gilsenan, Breffni Clarke, Niall Lynch, Terry Farrelly, Mathius Glennon, Cathal Sheridan, Enda Donohoe, Fergal Smith, Liam Smith, Kevin Hetherton, Noel Fitzgerald, Michael Smith, Tommy Daly & Seamus O' Reilly. The Knockbride team also included none other than or current Senior Football Manager Peter Reilly.
In Front of a large attendance, Cuchulainns got the better of Killygarry in an entertaining Under 14 Roinn C final held at Kilnaleck. Under the guidance of Alan Clarke, Sean Smith and Killian Monaghan the men from Mullagh ran out winners on a scoreline of 3-8 to 0-10. Killygarry opened the scoring with a point from A McGovern but Cuchulainns responded quickly with a point through their inspirational skipper D. Daly. The game ebbed to and fro but the turning point came in the 15th minute. Daly made a great fetch from a kick out and ran through the Killygarry defence to blast the ball to the back of the net. Almost immediately the Sky Blues again gained possession and after some great approach play by M Callaghan and J Daly, M Fitzsimons again found the back of the net.
Cuchulainns now in control kept piling on the pressure and were rewarded with a point through Daly and a third goal by M Fitzsimons in the 24th minute. At the interval the Mullagh thirteen held a ten point advantage 3-4 to 0-4. After a stern talking to at half-time the Killygarry youngsters re-emerged with a renewed determination. Early points from N Smith and C Keaney gave them a flicker of hope. But the Cuchulainns defence remained stouthearted and surrendered little during this period of intense pressure. D Daly and S Leonard exchanged points for their respective sides and with M Callaghan and P Murtagh performing heroics at the back, Cuchulainns held on to win by seven point margin. The Mullagh outfit had fourteen stars on the day with great diplays by B Lynch, P Murtagh, J McKenna and J Flanagan in the backs, D Daly and M Callaghan at midfield while up front six forwards performed well as a unit. The team for the final was: B Lynch, J McKenna, P Murtagh, J Flanagan, S Lynch, N Clarke, D Daly, M Callaghan, S Smith, M Daly, G Daly M Fitzsimons, S Clarke. Sub: P Orminston for S Clarke.
Cuchulainns picked up the U-16 Roinn C league final by defeating Knockbride in the final at Bailieboro by 1-8 to 0-7 Heading into the tie many onlookers felt that the winners of the midfield battle would capture the cup with Cuchulainns' Paul Tully and Donal Daly pitted against John Tierney and Shane O'Reilly. As it transpired this confrontation was far from the deciding factor as both sets of defenders and forwards enjoyed moments of superiority. The eventual winners blazed into a 0-4 to 0-0 lead. Their counterparts crept back into the game and after 30 minutes
had brought Cuchulainns to within a point.
The second half commenced at a furious pace as both outfits went in search of outright glory. Fast flowing football was very much in evidence, and after Knockbride equalised, Gavin Daly grabbed an immediate point. It was real back to back action at this stage and with just seven minutes remaining, Cuchulainns appeared in trouble when trailing by 2 points.
Then came the turning point of the game. Centre forward Martin Callaghan went on a blistering solo run and just when about to strike for a goal, was brought down. The referee, Pat Argue had no doubts that the offense occurred within the square and Paul Tully made no mistake in burying the resultant penalty.
Donal Daly, who had a fine match, gained possession of the kickout, thereafter and raced forward to shoot a point. The same player caught the following four kickouts and each movement ended in a Cuchulainn score to leave Knockbride shellshocked.
The Cuchulainn panel: Colm Anderson, Patrick Murtagh, Joseph McKenna, Stephen Lynch, Neil Clarke, Stephen Smith, Paul Tully (capt), Donal Daly, Michael Daly, Martin Callaghan, Shane Smith, Peter Ormiston, Gavin Daly. Subs – Brian Lynch, Patrick Smith, Seamus Clarke, Michael Fitzsimons, Paul Flanagan, Kieran Taite, Darragh Smith, John Mulvaney, Darren Garvey.
Cuchulainns to their non-too flattering 1-11 to 0-9 triumph over keen rivals Knockbride in the final in Baileboro . The Cuchulainns Under 16 panel which collected the cup in '98 was as follows: Patrick Gaynor, Michael Fitzsimons, John Flanagan, Patrick Murtagh, Niall Clarke, David Fox, Peter Ormiston, Shane Smith, P.J, Ormiston, Gary Copperwaite, Patrick Farrelly, Declan Fitzgerald, Brian Lynch, Brendan McCormack, Donal Daly, Martin Callaghan, Colm Anderson, Michael Daly, Seamus Clarke, Stephen Clarke, Stephen Lynch, Gavin Daly, Joey McKenna.
1998 U13’s Roinn D Win
Competing in Roinn D, the Cuchulainns troupe achieved their number one objective by beating Corlough in a thrilling final played at Breffni Park on September 26th last before an enthusiastic attendance. Cuchulainns were first out of the blocks and a point in the 4th minute from the thrusty left foot of Ronan Smith put them in pole position. Corlough settled after a shaky start and equalised moments later before a brace of points in teh 8th and 10th minutes from Conor Daly regained the lead for Cuchulainns. Indeed, Cuchulainns were slightly fortunate not to have conceded a goal but a brilliant save from Raymond Anderson in the Cuchulainns nets denied Corlough an extended lead.
Cuchulainns rallied well though but Ronan Smith was unlucky in the 24th minute when his shot hit the outside of the post and went wide. However, he did find the target two minutes later with a point which closed the scoring in the first half with Cuchulainns trailing by the odd point in nine. Points were exchanged at the commencement of the second half as each team battled to gain control. Corlough did begin to up the tempo though and they went two points in front but with Cathal Mulvanny coming more into the game for Cuchulainns, the Sky Blues went forward in numbers but, still, Corlough clung to their 0-9 to 0-6 lead as the second half progressed. At this stage, the Cuchulainns backroom team of Sean Smith, Fergal Kenny, Martin Lynch and Alan Clarke made a few positional changes, which altered the pattern of the game quite dramatically.
Conor Daly moved to midfield and Adrian Taite switched to centre half back and almost immediately, Cuchullains reaped rich dividends. Points from Cathal Mulvanny in the 17th and 19th minutes and then one each from Conor Daly and Cathal Lynch inside the next four minutes launched Cuchulainns into a one point lead. Corlough replied with a point to square the issue but an all-important goal in the 25th minute by Cathal Lynch fairly put the cat among the pigeons. Cuchulainns remained on the ascendancy thereafter and it was left to Ronan Smith to slot over the insurance point to seal a brilliant 1-11 to 0-10 victory for the Peter Murphy led team.
Cuchulainns: Raymond Anderson, Adrian Taite, Dwayne O'Reilly Alan O'Brien Peter Murphy, Martin Smith, Cathal Mulvanny, (0-3), Cathal Lynch (1-1), Killian Lynch, Conor Daly (0-3), Donnacha Dunne, Ronan Smith (0-4), Paddy McKenna.
1998 U14 ROINN D
A penalty converted by Cuchulainns team captain Declan Fitzgearld mid-way through the first half and one missed by Shannon Gaels minutes from the end of the game were the deciding factors in this Bord Peil Na Nog Roinn D U14 final played at Cootehill. Both sides traded points in the opening minutes and then Cuchulainns pulled ahead with 0-3 to 0-1. But Shannon Gaels responded in spectacular fashion in the 15th minute with a goal from a Fee putting them one point in front. It was then that Cuchulainns were awarded the penalty following a foul inside the Gaels square leaving them going in at half time leading on a score 1-3 to 1-1.
Shannon Gaels opened the second half with two quick points to level the score. The Mullagh-Cross combination responded with points form D McDonald (2) and Conor Daly and further extended their lead with a N Callaghan point in the 21st minute. It was in the 23rd minute that the west Cavan side were awarded their penalty when a surging run forward resulted in a foul being committed in the Cuchulainns square. A Fee stepped up to take the pressure kick but the ball went agonisingly inches wide. P. McCafferty got a consolation point for the Gaels but it was too late and Cuchulainns were crowned champions at the final whistle
Final Score: Cuchulainns 1-7 Shannon Gaels 1-4.
1999 U12 Roinn D League Victory
Cuchulainns Under 12 panel thrilled partisan and non-aligned spectators alike at Breffni Park on July 7th last in romping to a mightily impressive Roinn D league final win over a game but outclassed Ballymachugh side. However, not for the first time in Gaelic football parlance, the final scoreline of 6-7 to 1-0 masked the real story of this entertaining but somewhat predictable encounter. Cuchulainns put on a top class show and while their clear superiority brookes no debate, the final scoreline did scant justice to the sleeves-rolled-up challenge thrown down by their hapless opponents.
Niall Anderson: Michael O'Reilly, Adrian Taite, Alan O'Brien, Eugene Keating, Diarmuid Foxe: Donnacha Dunne, Killian Lynch; Peter Fox, Colin Farrelly, Garry Daly; Terry Keating, Conor Smith. Subs; Emmet Foxe, Laurence Og O'Brien, Killian Farrelly, Kevin O'Connell, Patrick O'Reilly, Laurence Cahill, Mark Clarke, Christopher Tully.
The Under 13 squad swoop to win the Roinn D Championship title in mid-August on a score line of Cuchulainns 3-15 Swanlinbar 1-4. Cuchulainns maintained their good form thereafter and another fine point in the seventh minute, this time from Donnacha Dunne, added to their lead. It was almost one-way traffic at this stage and a brace of points by Conor Smith fairly reflected Cuchulainns' dominance. At the other end, Swad attempted to lift the siege and could have scored a goal but for an excellent save by Killian Farrelly. Indeed, once Peter Fox scored his side's first goal in the 25th minute, a cloak of inevitability wafted over proceedings. At the interval, the Mullagh-Cross combination led by 1-10 to 0-1.
Two quick points on the restart signalled a determination on the part of Cuchulainns to consolidate their already sizeable cushioned lead. Even though Swad broke through for a surprise goal minutes later, it had consolation written all over it and so it and so it proved when Cuchulainns later burst downfield and banged in two goals in quick succession from Killian Lynch and Conor Smith.
The Cuchulainns under 13 panel: K. Farrelly, A. Taite, A O'Brien M. Reilly, E. Keating, D. Foxe, D. Dunne (0-3), K. Lynch (1-3), C. Tully (0-2), P. Fox (1-1), T. Keating, L. Og O'Brien, C. Smith (1-6). Subs; C. Farrelly, E. Foxe, G. Daly
U-18 Minor Division 2 League Title.
The minor footballers of Cuchulainns found themselves facing near-neighbours Lurgan in the decider at Breffni Park. Cuchulainns had to pull out all the stops to engineer a 2-8 to 0-9 victory. Cuchulainn enjoyed a whirlwind opening 15 minute spell and it was during this period of dominance for them that they struck two goals. Team-captain Martin Callaghan showed the way forward by scoring a very good goal in the ninth minute. Still, it was to get even better for the Mullagh-based side just a matter of minutes later.
Firstly, Donal Daly meandered forward with intent and was duly rewarded for his spirited run with a fine point in the 10th minute. It was all Cuchulainns at this stage and Donal Daly came up trumps once again, firing over another point in the 11th minute.
There was no doubt about Cuchulainns' superiority at this stage and when Martin Callaghan banged in his side's second major in the 12th minute, it seemed as if – even at that early juncture – Lurgan were really facing an uphill struggle. By the end of the opening quarter, Lurgan – incrdibly – had failed to register a single score while Cuchulainns had amassed a sizeable 2-4 tally. The half-time whistle saw Cuchulainns well in the driving seat, on foot of a 2-4 to 0-2 scoreline.
Lurgan came out with all guns blazing at the start of the second half and they were rewarded for their gung ho approach with three unanswered points inside the first ten minutes. Then another point by the Lurgan lads left just four points between the sides. Like true champions though, Cuchulainns came back off the ropes to hit back with interest. Points from Martin Callaghan in the 42th, 45th and 46th minutes was just what the doctor ordered. However, it seemed as if Lurgan were thrown a lifeline in the 49th minute when they were awarded a penalty kick but the shot was excellently saved by Colm Anderson. Although Lurgan did rally to knock over a hat-trick of points towards the end, there was to be no denying the Cuchulainns lads their just rewards.
Final score; Cuchulainns 2-8 Lurgan 0-9 Cuchulainns Panel: C. Anderson; J. Flanagan, G. Daly, S. Lynch; G. Copperweight, D. Daly, P. Murphy; S. Clarke, M. Callaghan; M. Fitzsimons, S. Smith, M. Daly; D. Fitzgerald, P. Orminson, N. Clarke. Sub used; Thomas Peyton
Leave it to the Cuchulainns under 13 side to serve up a thrilling clash! In textbook style the young white and blue brigade kept their supporters on tenterhooks right to the death before clinching the Roinn D title with a dramatic 2-17 to 3-8 win over Corlough.
The winners-elect led from pillar to post in what was a thoroughly sporting clash at Breffni Park in late August, getting off the mark with a point by Peter Fox after just three minutes of play.
Cuchulainns maintained the pressure and points were swung over with great panache by Conor Smith and Gary Daly as the west Cavan side were slow in setting. Indeed when Corlough did eventually manage to make an impact, Cuchulainns 'keeper Christopher Tully was on hand to make a great save.
At the other end, the Corlough goalkeeper was well beaten by a fine Terry Keating effort which catapulted Cuchulainns into a 1-3 to 0-0 lead with ten minutes played.
Corlough did hit back with a point but further points by Colin Farrelly and Conor Smith thereafter helped edge Cuchulainns further ahead, 1-8 to 0-5, at the interval. Corlough were first to score on the restart but Cuchulainns quickly re-asserted their superiority with a point from the outstanding Conor Smith. A hat-trick of goals though by Corlough inside a ten minute spell had Cuchulainns in a spot of bother but thereafter great defensive work by the champions-elect and a great goal by Gary Daly in the 48th minute was enough to propel them on past the winning post.
The Cuchulainns team, and scorers, was as follows:
Christopher Tully, Eugene Keating, Mark Clarke, Killian Farrelly, Laurence Og O'Brien, Diarmuid Foxe, Peter Fox (0-1), Colin Farrelly (0-4), Jerry Keating (1-0), Conor Smith(0-10), Kevin O'Connell, Gary Daly (1-2), Darren Daly.
A determined last quarter display proved just the ticket for Cuchuallains as they secured the Roinn C under 14 championship title at the expense of a gritty Killygarry team. In what was a terrific advertisement for underage footbal in Cavan this was a tremendously exciting final played in front of a vocal crowd at Breffni Park. In the end the issue was decided right at the death when Cuchullains fired over a match-winning point. The winners-elect started the game in sprightly fashion and went ahead in the second minute when Conor Smith found the target with a near point. The Cuchullains defence came under some pressure thereafter but the Killygarry forwards were denied by a good save by Christopher Tully in the Cuchullains goal. Killygarry did equalise shortly afterwards but they were thwarted with successive attacks in the minutes that followed by great defensive work by such as Killian Farrelly and Diarmuid Foxe. Indeed it wasn't until the 12th minute that Killygarry added their second point of the game but Cuchullains came roaring back into the fray when a high ball from a free by Killian Lynch broke on the square where Eugene Keating was on hand to fire the ball into the back of the Killygarry net.
With Cuchullains now in front, Killygarry were on the backfoot and another converted free by Conor Smith added to the Cuchullains momentum as they maintained a 1-2 to 0-2 lead. Cuchullains came under some serious pressure from there to break though and actually fell by 1-2 to 0-6 behind by the half-time whistle. Although Killygarry added to their lead soon after half-time with another point, Cuchullains hung in there and a point by Donnacha Dunne steadied the ship. The aforementioned Dunne then turned provider for Killian Lynch to run in on goal only for his shot to be well saved by the Killygarry 'keeper. cuchullains kept up the pressure and a fine point by Conor Smith had the crowd in full voice only for Killygarry to come back strongly to score three points on the trot to leave Cuchullains trailing by 1-4 to 0-10. Conor Smith was again on target for Cuchullains with a free and three similar scores by colleague Killian Lynch had their side right back in touch. Now it was Killygarry's turn to put on the pressure but great blocks by Michael Reilly and Alan O'Brien kept the red and blacks at bay. Back came Cuchullains and a great point by Killian Lynch left Cuchullains two points in front. However Killygarry showed great determination to come back and level matters with two unanswered points as the tension became almost tangible. With time almost up, Cuchullains pressed forward with grave intent and when Killian Lynch was fouled pushing forward, the same player composed himself before slotting over the resultant free to duly clinch the title for teh Cross-Mullagh contingent. Final score; Cuchullains 1-10 Killygarry 0-12
The Cuchullains line-up and scorers:
Christopher Tully; Killian Farrelly, Adrian Taite; Diarmuid Foxe, Michael Reilly, Alan O'Brien; Killian Lynch (0-5), Donnacha Dunne (0-1); Terry Keating, Eugene Keating (1-0), Laurence Og O'Brien; Conor Smith (0-4), Colin Farrelly. Sub used; Peter Foxe
On June 17th Cuchulainns and Shannon Gaels played for the U12 Roinn D title. Cuchulainns having been beaten in this final last year proved worthy winners. Although the scoreline of 3-14 to 1-4 does not do Shannon Gaels Justice. Gary Daly opened the scoring with a point in the first minute followed by a point and a goal two minutes later by Conor Smith. Eugene Keating passed the ball to set teh goal. Shannon Gaels went on the attack and were awarded a free only to see it saved on the goaline. Cuchulainns counter attacked and good passing between Terry Keating and Gary Daly saw Garly Daly scoring two points in quick succession. Eugene Keating added another point. Shannon Gaels attacked again and from a good move Pauric McGovern opened their scoring with a well taken goal followed a minute later with a point from Jonathon Corrigan and the score at this stage was Cuchulainns 1-6, Shannon Gaels 1-1.
In the 17th minute Gary Daly scored a great goal from a pass by Terry Keating and Cuchulainns added three more points from Conor Smith. Eugene Keating and Kieran O'Connell left the half time score 2-9 to 1-1. Ronan McCaffrey for Shannon Gaels scored first. This was answered by two points from Gary Daly and a great goal by Terry Keating. Diarmuid Foxe broke up several attacks by Shannon Gaels he had great help from Mark Clarke and Thomas Reilly. Aoghan Daly and Kilian Murphy also played well in defence. With eight minutes left Cuchulainns introduced James Farrelly, matthew Donoghue, Ruairi O'Connel and Norman Ormiston. Cuchulainns then added three more points to their total. While Jonathan Corrigan added two for Shannon Gaels.
Cuchulainns – Colin Doughty, T O'Reilly, M Clarke, A Daly, D Foxe, K Murphy, E Keating 0-1, C Smith 1-4, K O'Connell 0-1, T Keating 1-0, K O'Connell 0-1, D Daly, G Daly 1-7
2003 U14 Roinn D League
The U14s got the ball rolling by winning the U14 Roinn D League everything coming up through the grades and we always felt they were in with a great chance of further success in 2003. Unfortunately, they were put into Roinn D for the league, which was wel below their level. We knew they should be playing at a higher grade but couldn't get it changed and the lads won the league comfortably. It truly was a facile triumph. Munterconnacht were beaten in the league decider and Cuchulainns also recorded victories over Knockbride, Mountnugent, Drumalee and Butlersbridge along the way. Victory meant they were promoted a division for the championship, but the result was the same as Cuchulainns once again beat all comers to annex further glory.
2003 U14 Roinn C Title
The Roinn C championship wasn't such a formality but was still captured in style. Killygarry were beaten by four points in a close, exciting final played in October. Sean Smith notes: "It was a very lively game from start to finish and it was probably the tightest match we played all year at U14 level". Earlier, Cuchulainns had enjoyed a well-merited victory over Shercock at the semi-final stage at Kingscour. This was a difficult tie but the winners pulled away in the end for a comfortable win.
2003 U16 Division 3 League
Meanwhile, the club's U16s – managed by county minor trainer Niall Lynch, with Martin and Sean as selectors – captured the Division Three league. This was a notable accomplishment given that Cuchulainns were so pressed for numbers at under 16 that many of their U14s were included on the team. The U16s went on to compete in the Division Two championship but lost narrowly to Corlough/Swanlinbar. The club's minors had a quiet season, managing only one victory over the year.
Right from the start of this game, Cuchulainns set the rules of engagement with a top class clinical display which rightfully earned this Division 2 Minor football championship title. This game proved to be one of the most entertaining games at underage level played at Kingspan Breffni Park for a long time. Credit must be accorded to Cornafean/Killeshandra who made Cuchulainns fight to end before finally giving up their title.
Cuchulainns had to play the final twenty minutes with fourteen men when start player, Eugene Keating was sent to the sideline after receiving a second yellow card. This was a close contest throughout but the ability of Cuchulainns to find the net was what ultimately separated these sides at the final whistle. They made sure of victory in the final two minutes when they netted two goals.
It was Cuchulainns who found themselves under pressure early on as the wind-backed Cornafean/Killeshandra combination strode into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead after six minutes. Cuchulainns always looked threatening though and by the eighth minute the impressive Conor Smith lashed the ball into the net to level the scores, 1-1 to 0-4. A further point from Christopher Tully gave them the lead and one minute later Conor Smith saw his shot beat the Cornafean/Killeshandra keeper to put them 2-5 to 0-4 in front at the interval.
The second-half started with a concerted effort from Cornafean/Killeshandra when they registered a point just after thirty-five seconds. This revival was to be short lived as an inspirational display from fullback Adrian Taite and the Cuchulainns half-back line of Diarmuid Foxe, Killian Farrelly and Killian Murphy began putting the pressure back on the opposition. It was during this period that Keating received his second yellow, but instead of inspiring the losers it spurred on the East Cavan side who brought out the best of Braiden the Cornafean/Killeshandra goalkeeper. With the game now in the final quarter, the losers were to get the boost they needed when Declan McKiernan was on hand to finish to the Cuchulainns net to leave just a goal between the sides, 2-7 to 1-7.
Whatever hopes the losers had of reducing this deficit was well and truly ended just forty-one second later when Gary Daly was at the end of a great move to register Cuchulainns third goal. Cornafean/Killeshandra did manage to tag on a further two points but it was Cuchulainns that finished the stronger netting two goals in the final two minutes from Killian Murphy and Terry Keating.
Teams and scorers
Cuchulainns – Mark Clarke; Michael O’Reilly, Adrian Taite, Kevin O’Connell; Diarmuid Foxe (0-1), Killian Farrelly (0-1), Killian Murphy (1-0); Eugene Keating (0-3, all frees), Killian Lynch (0-1); Terry Keating (1-0), Donnacha Dunne, Peter Fox; Gary Daly (1-0), Conor Smith (2-0), Christopher Tully (0-1).
Sub – Owen McGarrell for Killian Murphy.