Naomh Pádraig will play Burt in the Gerry O’Neill Memorial U12A Inishowen final in Urris on Sunday evening.
Managed by Damian McIntyre and Damian Laird, Naomh Pádraig qualified for the decider by topping the league phase with four wins from five outings. They’ll face a Burt side that finished third overall and had a narrow 1-4 to 1-3 victory over Carn in the semi final last Friday.
Burt manager Rory Grant says he is delighted to reach the Inishowen decider with this young team, 80% of whom are U11 and eligible again next year.
“Burt, Malin and Carn are very closely matched at this age group, with Naomh Pádraig leading the way.
“On that basis, we will be underdogs but this is a very determined team and they have responded well when under pressure in previous games this season.
“They’re in the final on merit and win, lose or draw, if they keep working at their game they’ll be a team to watch in the future.”
Muff too has a young side and manager Damian McIntyre, who has been with the group since U8 and U10, says they’re really looking forward to the occasion.
“With the parade and the band and the big crowd, these Inishowen finals are always a great occasion – it’s almost like an All-Ireland final for the players involved!
“We have a great bunch of lads who are very good to work with. They’re intelligent footballers, very tuned in: you only have to tell them something once and they’ve got it.
“We’re really looking forward to it, and with the Naomh Pádraig girls in the final as well it will be a great occasion for the club.”
McIntyre paid tribute to parents like Frank McLaughlin and Seamus Grant who have helped out with the team since they started training in mid-January.
Naomh Pádraig go into the final as favourites having already claimed the Maurice McMenamin (11-a-side) Go Games title in the U12A grade earlier this month. Burt won the B Final.
Naomh Pádraig last won the Gerry O’Neill Cup in 2012, while Burt’s last victory in the Inishowen 15-a-side final came in 2009.
Meanwhile, in the Gerry O’Neill U12C final, Naomh Pádraig will take on Malin.
This all-girls final is a first for the Inishowen Board and with several high scoring encounters already behind them, Muff and Malin have emerged at the top of the tree.
Muff are managed by Nuala Lafferty, Helena McColgan and Rory McLaughlin, while Maria Mc Laughlin (F), Jennifer McLaughlin and Catherine McGilloway take charge of Malin.
Sunday’s U12 C final throws in at 5.30pm at Crampsey Park, Straid, Clonmany, with the U12A final starting at 7pm.