jOHN EGAN 2013

The Downs under 14 boys footballers returned from the Kingdom on Friday night last with the Comórtas Peile John Egan division 2 title after a 3 day festival of football. Organised by Kerry GAA as part of The Gathering, this inaugural tournament pays tribute to one of the all-time great Kerry forwards John Egan from Sneem who passed away in suddenly on 8th April 2012 at the age of 59. His achievements in football included 6 All-Irelands, 9 Munster titles, 4 National League and 5 All-stars with the famous green and gold.

The Downs were hosted by by Killarney’s Dr. Crokes and the current Kerry and Munster champions proved to be marvellous hosts. 17 teams from Kerry were joined by 15 teams from all over Ireland and were placed in groups of 4 with The Downs facing their hosts Dr. Crokes, another Killarney side Legion and Eadestown of Kildare. On Wednesday, a narrow defeat to the Crokes in the first round was followed up with impressive wins over Legion and Eadestown.

Later that evening, the remainder of the 29 strong panel from The Downs played their hosts in an under 13 challenge which gave an opportunity to the fringe players to stake a place on the team which ended up with an impressive victory for the visiting black and ambers. After a boat tour of the beautiful sun-drenched lakes kindly organised by Dr Crokes, it was assumed the day could not possibly get any better. However on return to the Crokes clubhouse, the hosts has arranged a get-together with Kerry stars Colm Cooper, Kerry captain Eoin Brosnan and their team mate Johnny Buckley. Not a bad way to end the day, chatting with some of the top stars of gaelic football.

The knockout stages took place on Thursday and The Downs were based in the grounds of another famous Kerry club Austin Stacks in Tralee. A quarter final victory over Creggan Kickhams of Antrim was followed by a win over Clare’s Naomh Eoin O’Curry in the semi-final which secured a place for the Westmeath lads in Friday’s Day of Finals in the magnificent Fitzgerald Stadium Killarney. On Thursday evening the players and mentors participated in a parade through Killarney town followed by an evening of Scór at the INEC with special guest including the Egan family, Daragh O’Sé, Mikey Sheehy and many others.

The Downs’ opponents for the Friday’s Final were Kerry’s Glenfesk but the blue and gold had to give way to the side from Westmeath lads who secured the title in temperatures of 30+ in Fitzgerald Stadium on a final score of 1-10, 0-9. Kerry and Glenfesk legend Seamus Moynihan presented the trophy to The Downs captains Joseph Moran and Ciarán Nolan at the same venue where Eoin Brosnan had received the Munster Championship title on the previous Sunday for Kerry. Seamus Moynihan also spoke in the dressing room afterwards and shared some excellent words of wisdom that the lads will remember for a long time. So the journey back to The Downs on Friday evening was somewhat shorter for the lads with some silverware to show for their hard work over the 3 days. Incidently, The Downs were the only boys team outside of Kerry to win a title so that achievement is something this group of players should be very proud of.  Panel: Eanna Burke, Jack Carroll, Keith Carroll, Donal Coughlan, Matthew Cunningham, Taylor Daly, Tyrone Devine, Cillian Fagan, Liam Faulkner, Conor Gavin, Adam Gilbride, Joshua Heneghan, Dylan Hunt, Richard Kelly, Euan Lagan, Jonathan Lynam, Ryan Mannering, Trevor Martin, Mark McCann, Mikey McGrath, Luke Maguire, Darragh Monaghan, Joseph Moran, Ryan Moran, Oisin Murphy, Joseph Robson, Max Rowan, Stephen Wynne. Team Mentors: Paddy Monaghan, Ciaron Martin, Paul Rowan, Marc Cunningham.

More photos here