QUB Future Stars
28th April 2022
Back in February St Killian’s Garron Tower and Cross & Passion Ballycastle dominated the Danske Bank Foresters’ Cup, both brushing aside opponents with high-scoring victories. Therefore it is no real surprise that the two schools located on the north Antrim coast dominate the second McKeever Sports Queen’s University Future Stars team announced this week.
St Killian’s went on to win the final by 2-12 to 0-5 and they have claimed six positions on the team while Cross & Passion take another four including both midfielders Ben O’Kane and Darragh Kelly.
Kelly is following in the footsteps of older sisters Maeve and Fionnuala who both won schools’ camogie All-star awards with Maeve recently picking up All-Ireland Intermediate player of the year after shooting 1-5 in the All-Ireland final.
The other two Ballycastle players are in central defence with Ben McGarry at full-back and Cathair Donnelly at centre-half back.
St Killian’s have three defenders and three attackers in the final 15. Goalie is Glenariffe net-minder Phelim Ward with Cailin Devlin and Niall Magee completing the half-back line with Cathair Donnelly.
The Tower also claim the two wing half forward slots through their winning captain Cormac McKeown and Joseph McLaughlin, scorer of 1-8 in the Foresters’ final. Corner-forward Orrin O’Connor completes their tally.
Just before Easter Gaelcholáiste Dhoire and Dean Mag Uirc College Carrickmore claimed their very first Danske Bank Schools’ All-stars. Both schools have picked up more awards with the announcement of this team.
Ruairí Ó Mianáin’s schools’ hurling All-star is complemented by Mikey Kennedy picking up a Queen’s jersey in defence while Aidan Woods’ selection at centre-forward adds to Carrickmore’s football All-stars for Rónán Fox and Michael Rafferty.
There is another link to the current schools’ All-star team with Knock’s Shea Pucci selected in the forward line. His older brother Eoin featured in the half-back line at the older age-group.
St Mary’s Magherafelt comfortably won the Danske Bank Kirk Cup for the first time last term and they have one player in the line-up. John McGurk, another of the great Lavey dynasty, takes a corner-back slot.
Padraic McKeever managing director of McKeever Sports who sponsored the awards said:
“We are delighted to be involved with the Queen’s Future Stars programme and are always proud to be involved in showcasing the talent, pride, and passion of the students around the country.
“We are committed to continuously finding new ways of improving the performance of our products, and in turn the athletes who wear them. Our goal is to bring freshness, innovation, and excellent service to each of our customers.
“We look forward to the success of all the Queens Future Stars athletes in 2022 and beyond”
2021-22 McKeever Sports Queen’s University Future Stars:
1 Phelim Ward (St Killian's Garron Tower)
2 John McGurk (St Mary’s Magherafelt)
3 Ben McGarry (Cross & Passion Ballycastle)
4 Mikey Kennedy (Gaelcholáiste Dhoire)
5 Cailin Devlin (St Killian's Garron Tower)
6 Cathair Donnelly (Cross & Passion Ballycastle)
7 Niall Magee (St Killian's Garron Tower)
8 Ben O’Kane (Cross & Passion Ballycastle)
9 Darragh Kelly (Cross & Passion Ballycastle)
10 Cormac McKeown (St Killian's Garron Tower)
11 Aidan Woods (Dean Mag Uirc Carrickmore)
12 Joseph McLaughlin (St Killian's Garron Tower)
13 Jack McCloskey (St Louis' Ballymena)
14 Shea Pucci (Our Lady's & St Patrick's Knock)
15 Orrin O’Connor (St Killian's Garron Tower)
Back at the start of April, Janey McIntosh won player of the match as Antrim took their 11th Ulster minor title with a comfortable win over Derry in Celtic Park. Her older sisters Faye and Elen were both in that Antrim team.
Janey has gained further honours for the Ballycastle family with her inclusion in the first ever McKeever Sports Queen’s University Future Stars team that was announced last night at a Banquet in the university’s Whitla Hall.
The University GAA club introduced their Future Stars scheme back in 2015 to honour the top players in their GCSE year at school. For the first four years the focus was on boys’ football only.
Then for the 2019-20 school year, a hurling team was added and, according to Gavan Duffy, GAA Development Officer in Queen’s, who organises the scheme in conjunction with Ulster schools, it was always the intention to develop it and cover all the GAA codes.
“Yes, it was. Plans were under way to include the girls a couple of years ago when Covid halted all sport across the board.
“School sport returned this academic year, but many of the competitions were shortened significantly to squeeze into a reduced time frame and, at one stage, it wasn’t looking as if we could actually find a window to run the trials.
“Eventually we found space just before Easter and we approached Ulster schools’ camogie at that point. We are delighted that we now have the first ever camogie team to announce, particularly with the current debate over integration in gaelic games.”
There was representation at the trials from almost 30 schools and selecting a final 15 proved very difficult.
“The selectors were impressed by the overall standard of player at the trial. Many of the players obviously play on strong teams at county, club and school level. But the final selection includes players from a wide range of camogie backgrounds who really impressed in the trial making the task of the selector very difficult.”
Janey McIntosh and Cross & Passion team-mate Shannagh Heggarty collected Ulster senior medals with the school back in January when they defeated St Louis Ballymena after extra time in the Corn Uan Uladh final.
St Louis defender Erin Coulter impressed in that final and again at the trials. The Brídíní Óga Glenravel player is a daughter of former Down and Ulster hurler Martin Coulter who is the current Derry senior camogie manager.
Two more north Antrim players make the team, Ruairí Óg pair Abi McNeill and Orlaith McAlister who jointly captained St Killian’s Garron Tower to the All-Ireland under 16 All-Ireland title back at the start of March.
St Patrick’s Maghera won Corn Eimhear, the premier Junior competition, and it is no surprise to see three of their players on the final team, Bellaghy pair Eimear Doherty and Orlaith Hull along with Lavey forward Carla Collins.
The Magherafelt schools are represented by Sarah O’Neill and Caoimhe Ferris (St Mary’s) and Aoife MacOscar (St Pius X). While Derry can claim both Caoimhe and Aoife, Sarah, daughter of former Antrim footballer Ciarán, has played under age in both camogie and football with the Saffrons.
Two of the remaining four positions have gone to Tyrone players Aoife Quinn and Eva Cullen, while Crossmaglen’s Kellie Shields is also included in the forward line.
Finally goalie Alannah Clarke is representing Coláiste Dhún a’ Rí Kingscourt who have only entered schools’ camogie for the first time this year under the guidance of Kilkenny native Garret Hickey.
2021-22 McKeever Sports Queen’s University Future Stars:
1 Alannah Clarke (Coláiste Dhún a Rí, Kingscourt)
2 Eimear Doherty (St Patrick’s Maghera)
3 Abi McNeill (St Killian's Garron Tower)
4 Caoimhe Ferris (St Mary’s Magherafelt)
5 Aoife MacOscar (St Pius X Magherafelt)
6 Sarah O’Neill (St Mary’s Magherafelt)
7 Erin Coulter (St Louis' Ballymena)
8 Shannagh Heggarty (Cross & Passion Ballycastle)
9 Orlaith Hull (St Patrick’s Maghera)
10 Janey McIntosh (Cross & Passion Ballycastle)
11 Orlaith McAlister (St Killian's Garron Tower)
12 Aoife Quinn (St Joseph’s Donaghmore)
13 Eva Cullen (St Patrick’s Academy Dungannon)
14 Carla Collins (St Patrick’s Maghera)
15 Kellie Shields (St Joseph’s Crossmaglen)