Junior Championship Final Match Report

Belleek 0-12 Crossmaglen 0-9

Belleek ended 20 years of hurt on Sunday when they defeated Crossmaglen IIs by three-points to secure the Sean Quinn Cup.

They deservingly got over the line, led by their inspirational Sean McCreesh who capped off his 17th season playing senior football in perfect fashion.

Belleek’s top championship scorer proved unmarkable. He kicked seven points from play while picking up the Man of the Match award.

He was ably assisted by James McParland up top, who really came into the game as a link man in the second half.

Shane Quinn was superb in defence. The sweeper put his body on the line numerous times to ensure his side would not leave empty handed.

Photo Credit: John Merry

Cross made the better start, breaking into a two-point lead early on. Paul McKeown and Shane McConville (free) both raising white flags.

McConville nailed a second before leaving the action due to injury, which proved a cruel blow to the Rangers chances.

Johnny McKeever put Cross 4-1 ahead before McCreesh and Belleek found their grove. Lorcan Quinn claimed the final score of the half as last years beaten finalists led 6-5 at the break.

Quinn doubled his tally for the day after the restart, matching a Rico Kelly point. A McCreesh brace stretched the lead to three and the Laurence O’Toole club never looked back.

Photo Credit: John Merry

Momentum swing

Callum O’Neill, who didn’t start due to a shoulder injury picked up in the semi-final, entered the fray while Crossmaglen were reduced to 14 men.

Rico Kelly got his marching orders, and the molehill became a mountain for the men in black and amber.

O’Neill, last years captain, fittingly fired over the final score as Belleek knew they were victorious with the wave of the white flag.

Cross couldn’t get the goal they desperately craved. Paul McKeown came closes, twice hitting the post.

Photo Credit: John Merry

It’s been a difficult 13 months for Belleek. They bounced back after losing the 2020 showpiece to Forkhill following a replay and extra time.

Gareth Thornton’s men showed serious heart to get back to the centre stage and made no mistake on the big day this time around.

Belleek: Bryan McKevitt, Sean Finnegan, Stephen Finnegan, Gary Boyle, Patrick McVerry 0-1, Michael Finnegan, Ronan Davies, Martin Kelly, Conor McKevitt, James McParland 0-1, Lorcan Quinn 0-2, Shane Quinn, Drew McVerry, Mark McParland, Sean McCreesh 0-7. Subs: Callum O’Neill for L. Quinn, Cashel Toner for M. McParland, Mark Olysauna for M. Kelly.

Crossmaglen IIs: Stephen Morgan, Sean McDonnell, Ryan Duffy, Niall Keenan, Orin McKeown, Liam Blessing, Cormac Donnelly, Rico Kelly 0-1, Harry Cumiskey, Johnny McKeever 0-1, Paul McKeown 0-2, Colin O’Connor, Eoin Keenan 0-1, Dara O’Neill, Shane McConville 0-2 (1f). Subs: Conor Savage 0-1 for S. McConville, Declan Stuttard for E. Keenan, Johnny Hanratty for H. Cumiskey, Tomas Hughes for D. O’Neill, Oisin Doyle 0-1 (1f) for L. Blessing.

Photo Credit: John Merry