Queen's University Gaelic Football Club : Cumann Peile Ollscoil Na Banríona Béal Feirste
The Queens club has produced some of Ulster's finest Gaelic footballers down through the years. They include....
Paddy O'Hara, Seán O'Neill, Paddy Moriarty,Fergal Logan, Anthony Tohill, Greg Blaney, James McCartan, Paul Brewster, Diarmuid Marsden, Phil stuart, Mick Brewster, Kevin Armstrong, Kevin Mussen, Hugh O'Kane, Frank Higgins, Jackie Fitzsimmons, Val Kane, Anthony McGurk, Dermot Dowling, Peter McGinnity, Eugene McKenna, Joey Donnelly, Peter McGrath, Aidan Short, Fionn Sherry, Gerry McHugh & Séamus Killough, Donal Armstrong, Kieran McGeeney, Neil Smyth, Henry Downey, Brian McCormick, John Kelly, Brian Burns, Eamonn Connolly, Mark McCartan & Mickey Quinn, Joe Brolly, Eamonn Burns, Stephen Mulvenna, Paul McGrane, Mark McNeill & Cathal O'Rourke, Paul McErlean, Séamus McGoran & Ciarán Hamill, Joe Kennedy
By now a senior statesman of the club, Paddy did wonders for the standard of football at Queens through two decades, from the fifties to the 1970s, having played for the university in the Forties. He was manager of Queen’s in 1958/59* when they captured Sigerson for the first time and in total managed six Ulster counties between 1958 and 1972 (Antrim, Fermanagh, Down, Armagh, Donegal, and Derry. A member of the Antrim team that last collected the Anglo-Celt Cup (in 1951), Paddy is perhaps best known today for the radio sports reporting he has done for BBC and RTE. It is rare for Paddy to ever miss a Queen’s match to this day.
There can be no equivocation that Seán O’Neill was one of the greatest Gaelic footballers of all time. It could be said that he cut his sporting teeth with Queen’s, winning his first major honour as a member of the 1958/59* Sigerson - winning team. He would later win a second medal as full forward on the 1964 selection, in something of a personal triumph, scoring 2-2 in the final. His mastery of varsity football did not cease then - in 1982, he would manage Q.U.B. to their first Sigerson title in eleven years, having already proved his excellence as a manager with Down Minors’ in their march to the 1977 All-Ireland title.
Being one of Down’s consistent forwards throughout the 1960s, Seán played an immeasurable role in that county’s All-Ireland title campaigns of 1960, 1961, and 1968, and he helped Down garner a further three national titles, in the form of N.F.L. triumphs in 1960, 1962 and 1968. Eight Ulster Championship medals (playing in fifteen Ulster finals 1959-75, and captain in 1965) and an Ulster M.F.C. medal (in 1958 - Down's first victory) were won by O’Neill, several Down Championships with Newry Mitchels on the domestic front, numerous schools honours (Córn na nÓg, McMahon Cup, Rannafast and MacRory Cups - all as captain) with Abbey C.B.S. Newry, and he set a record which still stands by collecting eight Railway Cup football medals.
Indeed, O’Neill can boast the unique achievement of having played for every Ulster Railway Cup team between 1960 and 1974. He was still involved in 1975, and from 1976 to 1981 he coached the provincial side - overall, a record which could only be rivalled by Christy Ring.
It is small wonder then that he was declared Texaco player of the year in 1968 and in 1971, along with Antrim’s Andy McCallin, became the first Ulster player to receive an All-Star, in the inaugural year, a feat which he repeated a year later. Perhaps his ultimate tribute was being voted right-half forward on the Sunday Independent / Irish Nationwide / GAA Team of the Century in 1984. In 1999 Sean was honoured with a place on the GAA team of the Millennium. O'Neill was voted into the right-half forward position, confirming his status as one of the greatest Gaelic Footballers ever.
Became the focus of attention when the southern media frowned upon his being picked at corner-forward on the 1972 All-Stars, while a Fresher at Queen’s. In subsequent years, however, he confounded the sceptics as he demonstrated his playing prowess with his various teams. Paddy copied Anthony McGurk by becoming the second player to be elevated to All-Star status as both a forward and a back (No. 6 in 1977), in the process complementing the honours of the Derry man and Seán O’Neill, to enable Queen’s to boast that the first three Ulster players to win two All-Stars all went to the Belfast university. It was for his displays with this institution (collecting a Freshers medal in 1973 and a Ryan Cup memento) that Moriarty progressed to the Combined Universities team, and he had the good fortune to be on the team that won the Railway Cup in 1973. He went on to win the same competition with Ulster in 1979, 1980 and 1983.
A central figure on the colourful Armagh team which brightened up the GAA scene in 1977, Paddy further won Ulster Championships with Armagh in 1980 (as captain) and in 1982, and N.F.L. Division Three and Two medals came his way. At St. Patrick's College, Armagh he had been set on his way to later glory with a Dalton Cup medal. Also a capable hurler, he was party to their Division Three N.H.L. annexation with Armagh, and the harvest of an Ulster J.H.C. title. The Wolfe Tones man’s last flirtation with inter-county activity took place as Armagh manager 1988-91.
This Stewartstown stalwart was one of those players who truly did establish himself in Sigerson football with Queen’s. Arriving here without anything like a big reputation, his diligence, determination and discipline were emerging when he won a Freshers title in 1987. He was appointed captain of the 1990 Sigerson team, and his inspiration was a crucial factor in that side’s ultimate triumph. In his final year with Queen’s, 1992, Fergal obtained a Ryan Cup medal while serving as Vice-Chairman of the club. Positioned at midfield, he underwent the bittersweet experience of 1995, losing the national senior final with Tyrone. A second Ulster Championship medal followed in 1996.
The "Swatragh Skyscraper" is generally regarded as one of the finest gaelic stars of the 1990s. In 1993, he obtained the Sigerson Cup medal that gave him an almost complete sweep of national honours. Two Hogan Cups with St. Patrick’s College Maghera set him on a good footing, and he was one of the key figures on the Tom Markham-winning Derry Minors of 1989. Anthony excelled as a midfielder, because in addition to the expected array of skills he exhibited, he has been a prolific scorer for Derry in the last decade (and cont to be), and this was a very noticeable feature of the Oak Leaf County’s capturing of the Sam Maguire (in 1993) and four National Football Leagues (1992, 1993, 1996 and this year 2000 (he was captain)). Tohill was presented with All-star awards in 1992, 1993 and 1995, and helped himself to five Railway Cup medals (The latest being this year - 2000), but his all-round sporting ability has perhaps been most articulately recognised by his trials with Manchester United and his year-long experiment with Australian Rules. The latter of these of course proved to be a great advantage to Tohill when playing for his country in 1998, 1999 & 2000. Tohill is at present the Derry Captain.
Hugh, brother of Anthony, was no mean footballer himself. He was corner-forward on the Queen's side that won the Sigerson Cup in 1990, and he was also a member of the renowned Derry squad of 1993.
One of the most enigmatic players of recent times, Greg Blaney was a star performer for many teams even before he came to Queen’s (having already represented Down at all levels of football and hurling). While at university, he emerged as top marksman in the 1982 Sigerson triumph though merely a Fresher, and proceeded to further honours in the Ryan Cup. Blaney has been recognised as the player who made things happen for Down, and during his very lengthy playing career, many positive things did occur. Obviously, there were the All-Ireland Senior titles of 1991 and 1994, but there was the Ulster S.F.C. title back in 1981 as well, plus the N.F.L. honours of 1983 and the emotive breakthrough of Down hurlers at provincial level in 1992.
Elsewhere, Blaney was on the scene when St. Colman’s won MacRory Cups in 1978, 1979 and 1981, he did his bit to bring Down to the Ulster Minor hurling title in 1978, nd he achieved the amazing in 1979 by playing for the All-Ireland Under-21 football champions at the age of 16. He received All-Star Football accolades in 1983, 1991 and 1994, won five Railway Cups in football between 1983 and 1995, and became the first Queen’s alumna to play for Ireland in the Compromise Rules series, doing so in 1984, 1986, 1987 and 1990. Greg did not acquire his expertise by accident, his father, Seán - who lifted the Tom Markham Cup for Armagh Minors in 1949 - having featured in a number of Queen’s teams in the 1950s.
The McCartan family name has been inextricably linked with Down football for four decades now, but "Wee James" has certainly not lived under the shadow of his famous father, or anyone else for that matter. First reaching prominence as a tigerish attacker in St.Colman’s College’s coasting to two Hogan Cups in 1986 and 1988 and as a member of Down’s All-Ireland-winning Minor team of 1987, it was obvious that McCartan had an illustrious future ahead of him. Even though he notched a massive 3-2 in the 1989 MacRory final, it did not suffice for his school to retain the trophy.
And so it turned out. In 1990, James was celebrating victory in the Sigerson Cup and being chosen for the Combined Universities, though just a Fresher, a qualification which allowed him to pick up another All-Ireland title that year. His two-goal barrages against Armagh in the Senior Championship and Roscommon in the N.F.L. semi-final not only merited an All-Star and representation for Ireland in Australia, but also qualified Jimmy Smyth’s voice for instant immortality. The next year, he was "Man-of-the-Match" as Down stunned Meath on the third Sunday in September. James became one of only three Queen’s men to hold two Sigerson Cup medals, by virtue of his presence on 1993’s winning team. 1994 was another glorious year for James, as he scored his county’s only goal in their return to All-Ireland supremacy, and gained another All-Star for his efforts. In between times, he even managed to get his hands on a London SFC medal with Tír Chonaill Gaels, and four Railway Cup souvenirs.
He may only have won one Sigerson Cup - as captain in 1993 - and one Ryan Cup, but Paul Brewster has been one of the most loyal servants Queen’s has ever had. In total, he played for the university in seven consecutive Sigerson campaigns. Success (at midfield) with Fermanagh in the All-Ireland "B" Championship, Ulster in three Railway Cups and Enniskillen Gaels in qualifying for the Ulster Club Championship final have kept him under the public spotlight, and his climb to the top was recognised by his selection for Ireland in 1998.
This Clann na nGael clubman electrified the All-Ireland Minor Championship in 1992, but in a similar fashion to Armagh’s undeserved disappointment in the big final, Diarmaid’s seasons in university football were marked by bad fortune up until his return to Queen's in 99 when he captained Queen's to win the 2000 Sigerson Cup in Galway. In his first stint at Queens he won a Ryan Cup in 1994, but elsewhere he has enjoyed a somewhat affluent time in football. Marsden scythed through many defences on the way to a Hogan Cup with St. Colman’s College in 1993, and with his club he has picked up two Armagh SFC medals and three MFC medals. In 1998, he really came into the national public sphere by playing for Ireland in the International Rules series, and a significant bonus was the reaping of his first Railway Cup. In 1999 he won an Ulster title with Armagh and also helped himself to a first All-Star award and a second Railway Cup.
Having already played at midfield in the Derry team which was defeated in the 1958 All-Ireland Senior final, Phil Stuart’s experience was an invaluable component in the Queen’s machine that manufactured a Sigerson in 1958/59*. Operating at midfield, he scored a goal in the drawn final. Phil’s bond with Queen’s continued long after he finished playing for the university, co-managing (with Paddy O’Hara) the Senior team to Sigerson glory in 1964, and taking over the reins again from 1976 to 1978. He also fulfilled similar duties with Derry and Antrim county teams in the 1980s.
Full-back on the victorious 1958/59* team, Mick Brewster’s legend lives on today in the dedication of Enniskillen’s main pitch to his name. He also won the All-Ireland Junior Championship with Fermanagh in 1959, and with Ulster he accumulated three Railway Cup medals as a substitute. Tragically, his life was cut short at a relatively young age, although sons Paul and Tom (Both winning Sigerson Medals with Queen's) have done their father proud by ensuring family representation in Sigerson competition in every year in the 1990s.
N.B. - This was the 1958 competition, but the final replay was not played until February 1959. The autumn-to-spring university football season was not introduced until late 1967.
Qualifying to play for Queen’s by a special wartime dispensation to the university to field three non-students on their team, "Army" nonetheless displayed great loyalty to the cause. He was well known as a dual player throughout Ireland. As a footballer, he was among the fifteen that seized the Railway Cup for Ulster for the first time in 1942, and he appended to this another three medals in 1943, 1947 and 1950. With Antrim, Kevin earned two Ulster Senior medals, and his contribution was duly acknowledged by his naming in 1988 as a (national) All-Time Football All-Star. In the mid-1970s, he tackled the post of Antrim football manager. On the hurling end of things, Armstrong led Antrim to their famous All-Ireland final of 1943, also guided Ulster to their first Railway Cup final, and helped his club O’Connells to five Antrim SHC titles. In respect of such achievements, he was voted on to the Centenary Year hurling team of players who did not win All-Ireland medals.
Though it is well established in the minds of northern G.A.A. followers that Kevin Mussen was the privileged man who was the first captain to carry the Sam Maguire Cup into the six counties, it is not so well-known that he attended Queen's University in the early 1950s. While in Belfast, major team honours eluded his grasp, but he was honoured by selection at left half-back on the Combined Universities fifteen that played Ireland in 1953.
Antrim man O'Kane will always hold a special position in Queen's annals, as the Captain of the first team to go the full distance in Sigerson Cup football. Another distinction to his name is that he played right half-forward for the Combined Universities when they beat Ireland in 1958, 0-12 to 0-10.
Right corner-forward on the Tyrone senior team that made the county's Ulster Championship breakthrough in 1956, and repeating the dose again in 1957, it was no surprise that he was named at full-forward on the Combined Universities outfit that played Ireland in the latter year. His experience was a vital ingredient at centre half-forward in the Queen's concoction that stormed Sigerson in 1958.
A three-time Ulster champion with Down in 1963, 1965 and 1966, Jackie was to be found at midfield in the oft-forgotten top dogs of the 1964 Sigerson Cup. Like so many former Queen's stars, he delved into the murky world of management when his playing days were over - coaching Down in two separate spells in the 1970s, and Queen's when they hosted the Sigerson Cup in 1989.
One of a distinguished sporting family, Anthony seemed to bring success to every team with which he was involved. A substitute on the all-conquering Derry Under-21 side of 1968, his impact really began to be felt at Queen’s when he starred for the 1971 Sigerson champions. Selection for the Combined Universities was most opportune for McGurk, as he was eligible to play for that side which won the Railway Cup in 1973. In total, three Ulster Senior Championships came to Derry during McGurk's involvement, and the Derry S.F.C. was thrice mastered by Lavey while he played. His initial claim to fame was as the first player to be chosen as an All-Star both as a back and as a forward (No.15 in 1973, No.6 in 1975), but he probably surpassed this feat by making an appearance for Lavey in their 1991 All-Ireland Club final victory at the age of 41! Colm, another of the famous McGurk brothers, was on the field that day, as he had been a year previous when Queen's repossessed the Sigerson Cup.
Hailing from Killeavey, Dermot was a crucial figure on the 1982 Sigerson-winning side, scoring two points in the final. In the same year, he had cause for further celebration, as he was part of the last Armagh team to win the Ulster Championship. Dowling forged another Sigerson title in 1993, on that occasion as manager, and he sought another perspective by acting as Chairman of the 1999 Sigerson organising committee. After being prominently involved in the Bredagh club for a number of years, Dermot is now devoting his attention to setting up a "St. Brigid’s" club in the Malone area.
Admittedly a symbol of a time when Queen’s briefly flirted with the rule-bending to which most other colleges seem to have permanently succumbed, Peter donned the green jersey in the Sigerson Cup in the 1970s while a student at St. Joseph’s, as the teacher training college were not allowed to take part in the blue riband event in those days. His achievements were manifold. In 1982, he helped Fermanagh get as close to an Ulster Senior Championship as they ever have, and similarly guided Roslea to their only Ulster Club Championship final, and he was subsequently awarded the county’s only All-Star to date. Peter also starred as Ulster prevailed to quadruple Railway Cup distinction; he captained the teams of 1980 and 1983, sandwiched between those of 1979 and 1983. The precursor to senior renown had been two All-Ireland Under-21 final defeats in 1970 and 1971, and a McKenna Cup in 1977. While living in Belfast, he empowered St. John's to the extent of winning their first Ulster Club Championship (1978), only eventually succumbing to the might of Thomond College in the final.
Peter McGinnity is often remembered as one of the greatest players never to clinch an All-Ireland medal, but he is still heavily immersed in the G.A.A. scene. A player-manager with the Erne County in the mid-1980s, he is at present the Leitrim boss, and he has been a respected television pundit. His input has been vital to the prosperity of St. Michael's College, Enniskillen in the MacRory Cup, Córn na nÓg and Dalton Cup in the 1990s.
Prosperity in football came at a young age for McKenna in the form of MacRory Cup (with Omagh C.B.S.) and All-Ireland Minor Championship victories in 1973, and he carried on in this vein by participating in Queen’s Freshers’ annexing of the synonymous trophy in 1976. A winner of three Ulster Senior Championships with Tyrone, Eugene captained his county to their agonising defeat in the 1986 All-Ireland final. In 1995, he would go through the pain of losing the annual decider as a manager. Centenary Year saw him lift the Railway Cup for his province (previously having won it in 1983), and also the first bestowal of an All-Star (in midfield alongside Jack O’Shea). In 1986 and 1989, he moved further down the middle of the media’s favourite fifteen as he pushed up to No.11 and No.14 in those years respectively. McKenna’s club, Augher, clearly benefited greatly from his footballing acumen, as they collected three Tyrone Senior Championships during his playing days.
Left-half back in the Armagh team which fell at the final hurdle in 1977, and consoled itself with a N.F.L. Division Two title in 1979, the An Port Mór man devoted himself to the Queen’s cause wholeheartedly between 1976 and 1982. A Freshers winner in 1976, he was privileged to make the Combined Universities side, and he acted as a player-manager between 1978 and 1980. It was in his final fling with the university in 1982 that the elusive Sigerson Cup appeared in his grasp. Just over four months after this, Donnelly was a substitute on the Queen's-rich Armagh side that won their last Ulster title.
It may come as a surprise to many to learn that Peter McGrath captained Queen’s to their initial All-Ireland Freshers title in 1973. With Down, he reached the 1974 Ulster final as a corner-forward, but it is of course as a manager that he has rightfully received widespread acclaim. The Rostrevor man’s ingenuity spurred Down to Sam Maguire glory in 1991 and 1994, and his involvement with St. Colman’s College has been conducive to their yielding the Hogan Cup in 1986, 1988, 1993 and 1998. Still at the helm of the Down Senior team, he is by now one of the longest-running county bosses on record.
The name does no justice to the Crossmaglen man, whose honours list indicates his abundant skill and determination. Number 12 on the Queen’s team that grafted Sigerson victory in 1982, Aidan filled the same position that July as Armagh swept to the Ulster senior title. Queen's also furnished him with a Ryan Cup souvenir (1984), and representing the Orchard County gave him an outlet to twice win the McKenna Cup, and the penultimate Ulster Junior Football Championship in 1985. With Crossmaglen Rangers, Short accumulated championship victories at Minor, Under-21 and Senior (3) levels. Moving to St. Gall's, he caused many eyebrows to raise when he made his Championship debut for Antrim in 1997 at the age of 35!
Fionn Sherry, Gerry McHugh & Séamus Killough:
This trio - Sherry from Fermanagh, McHugh and Killough from Antrim - may not sound very familiar, but in the early 1970s, each made a tremendous impact on the university football scene, in careers which paralleled each other to a considerable extent. Killough was full-back on the 1971 Sigerson winning side, and Sherry wing half-forward. All three were regulars on the Combined Universities while students, and each of them performed with aplomb to bring that side to its one-off Railway Cup. Antrim footballers were much the richer for the contribution of the latter two, Killough manning the full-back seat on their Under-21 outfit which won the Clarke Cup in 1969, with McHugh - prior to this, captain of St. Mary’s College when they extended themselves to a Hogan Cup in 1970 - just failing to match him by losing the final to Mayo at the same age-level in 1974.
While Kevin may not have happened upon many honours with Queen’s, his son Dónal went on to win McKenna Cup (Freshers) and Sigerson (1982) souvenirs, and also two Ryan Cup medals later. He then forsook all by studying as a postgraduate at Jordanstown, where he struck Sigerson gold in 1986 as a substitute, giving him the dubious distinction of being the only man to win the competition with both of the old enemies. An Antrim senior footballer from 1981 to 1997, Dónal has few deeds to display in retrospect, but in his inter-county hurling career he has met with better fortune, playing in the 1989 All-Ireland Senior final, after collecting numerous Ulster hurling titles at various levels. When O'Donovan Rossa reached the All-Ireland Club Hurling final in 1989, Armstrong was one of their leading lights, and his equal competence in both codes was again evinced by his balancing this up with two Antrim S.F.C. titles.
By playing alongside his brother Patrick on the star-studded 1993 Sigerson side, Kieran McGeeney was part of an unusual double. As well as this achievement, his time at Queen’s produced two Ryan Cups in 1992 and 1994. Many Mullaghbawn players have advanced their education at Queen’s in the 1990s, and "Geezer" was one of these whose promptings brought their breakthrough in the Armagh I.F.C., S.F.C., and Ulster Club Championships. A colossus at centre half-back for his county, he was one of the quartet of ex-Queen’s men who assisted Ireland in their beating of Australia in 1998. He was also part of the 2000 International team. Playing with Armagh he has thusfar yielded a McKenna Cup reward, two Senior Ulster Championship titles in 1999 and 2000 and also a few Railway Cups with Ulster. He now plays club football for Na Finna Co Dublin and appeared in the All-Ireland Club final with them on St Patrick's day 2000.
Neil Smyth's on-field contribution to the seizure of the Sigerson Cup in 1990 was miniscule; having been sent off in a preliminary round game, he was suspended for the deciding weekend. Nevertheless, he was a much-valued squad member that year, and over the forthcoming summer he proceeded to demonstrate how much easier his prowess would have made Queen's quest to the inter-varsity title, as he was declared the inaugural BBC "Player of the Championship". Also chosen for the Combined Universities and a four-time Railway Cup champion, 1991-94, Neil Smyth really has scaled the heights of club football. Domestic Divisions Four and Three, Junior, Intermediate and Senior Championship medals in his collection, it is no mere coincidence that the fortunes of Mullaghbawn improved rapidly during his career. The culmination of this progress was the winning of the Ulster Club Championship in 1995.
Ironically, despite being one of the most famous footballers in the country in the 90s, Henry was probably known as much for his hurling exploits while at Queen’s. Indeed, he was selected for the Combined Universities hurling team as a fresher, although team honours eluded him. It was a similar story in football. One famous episode concerned Henry marking his brother Seamus (St. Mary’s) in the 1989 Sigerson Cup semi-final at Queen’s. However, Henry’s list of success thenceforth is nigh interminable. Captain of Derry to their only Sam Maguire glory in 1993 at centre-half back (earning an All-Star for his exploits), he also led his county to two of their three National League title campaigns, as No.7 in 1992 and No.6 in 1996 (as well as being an untitled participant in the 1995 and 2000 wins). A former pupil of St. Patrick's, Maghera, he twice tasted MacRory Cup glory. Lavey’s remarkable quest to Ulster (2) and All-Ireland Club titles were extra strings to his bow, and indeed his many Derry club championship accomplishments in both football (4 S.F.C., 2 M.F.C.) and hurling (10 SH.C.) are beginning to enter the unrepeatable.
Another highly esteemed Lavey dualist, Brian was also a member of Derry’s heroic 1993 Ulster and All-Ireland-winning squad. That victory seemed to set the seal on a career in which McCormick acquired almost every honour available at a young age. Indeed, when his club won the Andy Merrigan Cup in 1991, he played an integral role, although just turned nineteen; he would soon win a second Ulster Club title, laying claim to four Derry S.F.C. titles in total. Also in 1993, Brian won his Sigerson Cup souvenir as a forward with Queen’s, having already got off the mark at university with a Ryan Cup medal in 1992. In previous years, he had garnered two MacRory Cups and two Hogan Cups with St. Patrick’s College, Maghera, and an All-Ireland Minor medal with Derry in 1989. A second Ulster U-18 honour followed in 1990, and three years on he was successful at the U-21 provincial grade.
It was not surprising, therefore, that Melbourne Australian Rules officials were very keen to obtain his services, but he returned after a mere ten days, preferring Gaelic sport to its distant cousin. Equally skilful with a camán, Brian won the Mageean Cup twice with the Maghera school, he habitually snaps up Derry S.H.C. medals, having started with three M.H.C. mementoes. Furthermore, he is one of the few Oak Leaf man who has an Ulster M.H.C. medal to his name.
Captain of Queen’s in the 1989 Sigerson tournament, John was vice-captain from wing-half back on the Down team which shot to acclaim in seizing the Sam Maguire Cup in 1991. After much acrimony, the county surprised most observers by emphatically beating all comers in 1994 to regain the illustrious trophy, and Kelly was part of the squad still. Three McKenna Cup medals with Down number among his accomplishments. The Carryduff club has donated many players to Q.U.B. over the years, among them Kelly and Greg Blaney, who both helped the south Belfast men win the Down J.F.C. in 1986. Kelly was a very influential figure for St. Patrick's Grammar School, Downpatrick, as during his tenure they won two Rannafast Cups, the last major titles that they have claimed.
Bryansford man Burns won an All-Ireland Senior medal with Down in 1994 as an impassable full-back, and his Queen's days included a Ryan Cup conquest. His first national title came with St. Patrick's, Downpatrick in the shape of an All-Ireland Colleges' "B" competition, and his club's proficiency at the football spin-off brought an extra honour, in the Kilmacud Sevens tournament. Bryansford do not neglect the 15-a-side game, and hence Burns has a domestic S.F.C. to his name, while Down further endowed him with two McKenna Cup medals, and an Ulster M.F.L.
Perhaps not a household name, Éamonn ranks as one of the only three Queen’s players to win two Sigerson Cup medals with Queen’s - in 1990 and 1993, to join fellow county-men Sean O’Neill and James McCartan in this unique achievement. He should also feel proud of another prestige - on four occasions he was picked for the Combined Universities. Éamonn's first decoration in the Queen's colours was as net-minder for a McKenna Cup (Freshers) success in 1990, and he completed the clean sweep when he gleaned a Ryan Cup prize in 1992, by which time he was also club Treasurer. Prior to all of this, he enjoyed the same role as St. Colman's established MacRory and Hogan Cup ascendancy. The Warrenpoint man acquired a McKenna Cup medal with Down, but his career climaxed when he procured an All-Ireland senior medal as Down’s substitute goalkeeper in 1994.
Mark McCartan & Mickey Quinn:
Two Mourne County lesser lights, but auspicious nonetheless. Mark McCartan, the son the famous Dan, who got his Celtic Cross in 1968, also sneaked an All-Ireland Senior medal with Down, as a substitute in 1991. In 1997, he managed Queen's to an All-Ireland Freshers final appearance. Mickey Quinn of An Ríocht was left half-back for the Sigerson champions of 1990, and a year later won an All-Ireland Senior medal as a non-playing substitute.
It was in the Sigerson Cup that Joe Brolly made his first burst onto the national stage, but it was as a member of Trinity College's strongest ever side, in the early 1990s. His only inter-varsity medal was for the Ryan Cup in 1992, with Queen's, where he was now a postgraduate. Joe won his Celtic Cross with Derry in 1993 at corner-forward, and he added a second Ulster Championship in 1998, in the final of which he scored the clinching goal in the last minute. His All-Star recognition surprisingly came in the relatively barren years of 1996 and 1997. In the latter year, Brolly was a forward for Dungiven, (whose county S.F.C. victory was his second) (?) as they coasted to Ulster Club Championship glory.
A prominent barrister, entertainer and eccentric, Joe even played basketball for Ireland while a schoolboy, while his parents are famous folk singers.
The Ballinascreen man was plagued by injury while at Queen's, and hence did not play in the 1993 Sigerson final though a panel member. The same factor impinged on his chances of making the starting line-up for Derry that year, so he remained a substitute when they won the Sam Maguire. Nevertheless, he had more than his fair share of success on the pitch, as full-forward for St. Patrick's Maghera when they won their first Hogan Cup in 1989, and he captained the college to retain the title a year later. With Derry Minors, Éamonn won the Tom Markham Cup in 1989, plus a second Fr. Murray Cup, and in 1993 he added an Irish News Cup (U-21) medal. His time with Queen's also yielded a Ryan Cup. Three N.F.L. medals (1992, 1995 and 1996) have thenceforth joined Burns' collection.
It is easy to look back on Derry's odyssey of 1993 and overlook the participation of Stephen Mulvenna, who in that year started in the forward line in Clones' Ulster final of ill weather and repute. Despite achieving the ultimate goal in football with Derry, most people would associate him with Antrim, whom he helped to win an Ulster Minor football championship in 1982. Playing for St. Paul's, he won four Antrim Senior league medals******, and an Ulster Minor Club Championship. Arriving at Queen's just too late to enjoy the 1982 Sigerson, he made amends somewhat with Ryan Cup medals in 1984 and 1985. An impressive performance for Ulster against Australia in the Compromise Rules of 1987 helped Mulvenna gain elevation to the fringe of the national squad. With new club Faughanvale, Stephen has won two Derry Intermediate championships.
Armagh senior star of the 90s McGrane won a Sigerson Cup in 1993 and a Ryan Cup in 1994 with Queen's. With his club Ballyhegan, McGrane has won domestic J.F.C. and I.F.C. medals, and in 1992 he was undeservedly deprived of the glory of lifting the Tom Markham Cup for the Orchard County by a last-minute Meath goal in the final. 1998 saw him reap his first Railway Cup reward and he help Armagh win the Ulster Championship in 1999 and 2000. He is nominated for an All star award this year
McNeill first caught the attention as centre half-back on the St. Colman's side that drove all the way to collect the Hogan Cup. Mark played for Armagh in the 90's and won an Ulster Championship in 1999 with them. He won a Sigerson Cup in 1990, and a league title in 1992 with Queen's.
Another Armagh star of the 90s Cathal won the Sigerson Cup in 1993, and two Ryan cup's (1992 and 1994). O'Rourke has won the Armagh I.F.C. with Dromintee, and has figured on the county side since making his Ulster Championship debut as a Colleges' All-Star as a nineteen year old. Won the Ulster Championship in 1999 and 2000 with Armagh. Cathal managed Queen's Freshers in 1995 and 96. Nominated for an All Star award 2000
Centre-half forward on the 1990 Queen’s Sigerson ensemble that triumphed in Trinity, Paul has been a pivotal character for Antrim for many years now. In 1989, he won the first of his brace of Railway Cup medals, and also an Ulster U-21 Championship medal. The St. Paul’s man has tasted domestic Championship success, five Antrim Senior leagues****, two Antrim M.F.C. and one U-21 Championship, plus the Ulster Minor Club Championship that his club organises. While a student at St. Patrick’s College, Armagh, McErlean was chosen for an Irish youth basketball team. Unfortunately, he blemished his reputation by furthering his education (!) at another Belfast institution, for whom he also played. Working as a P.R. consultant, Paul has been disposed to appearing on "The Gaelic Game" as an analyst, and was a member of the 1999 Sigerson Cup organising committee.
Séamus McGoran & Ciarán Hamill:
Two long-term servants of Antrim football. Séamus won a Sigerson Cup medal soon after starting Queen's, and he followed this up with similar success in the Ryan Cup. In 1982, he was a sterling figure on the St. Gall's side which won the Ulster Club Football championship, and within Antrim he won three Antrim S.F.C. and three S.F.L. medals. Ciarán Hamill was distinguished by selection for the Combined Universities in 1984 and 1987, and was captain, albeit unsuccessfully, for Queen's in the 1988 campaign. He had earlier reaped two Ryan Cups in 1984 and 1985 and All-Ireland Freshers success. With St. Colman's, Newry he contributed to a MacRory Cup win, and he was another Ulster Minor Championship medal winner in 1982 to go to Queen's. Along with Paul McErlean, Hamill was the last Antrim player to obtain a Railway Cup medal, sharing in Ulster's 1989 experience.
Joe captained Queen's to an All-Ireland Freshers title, won a Sigerson Cup medal in 1990. Other honours included MacRory Cup, Ulster Under-21 (2) and Antrim S.F.L. medals.