Ardee Community School have been represented by six players on the 2017 Lennon Cup All-Star team, as announced at DKIT tonight.
Four Ardee St Marys players – goalkeeper Alan McGauley, back Donal McKenny and forwards Conor Gillespie and Ciaran Keenan – made the grade as did Westerns GFC midfielder Neill Kerr and John Mitchels man Trevor Matthews. Shane Matthews was the one Ardee CS player who didn’t make the selection.
All six players, and Matthews too, helped Ardee Community School to a stunning victory in the 2017 edition. Just six days ago, Anthiny Durnin’s young team saw off St Josephs CBS by 0-13 to 1-09 at Darver in a final played out in baltic conditions. The reception the players received back in Ardee was far from frosty – having clinched their first win the competition since 2013, and just their fourth ever.
All four Ardee Community School players who won All-Stars on Wednesday night also represented Louth with distinction in 2017, at Under 17 and minor level.
McGauley was undoubtedly the outstanding goalkeeper of the season – his accurate kicking and shotstopping ability proving vital to his school team, especially in the tighter affairs against De La Salle and St Josephs CBS in the quarter final and final respectively.
Just two weeks after claiming Louth GAA’s Under 17 Player of the Year gong, McKenny earned his place in the Lennon Cup XV witha serious of strong and dominant performances at the heart of the ACS half back line. In midfield, Westerns GFC clubman Kerr captained his school to success and impressed with his workrate, aptitude and eye for the posts too. He netted 1-05 in five outings.
John Mitchel’s man Matthews, who like Kerr and McKenny will be going again in 2018, deservedly claimed his place in the line up with a breakthrough season. Last year, he captained the junior team to Flood Cup success and played a pivotal role again this year. Operating high up the pitch or from deep, Matthews must be a contender to win another next time around.
Two players who are now multiple Lennon Cup winners are Ardee St Marys duo Keenan and Gillespie. As expected, they retained their places from last year once again. Keenan hit 5-23 to finish as the competition’s top scorer in 2017 while Gillespie was an inspirational figurehead for his side, leading from the front and offering game intelligence and determination seemingly beyond his years.
Former Armagh star Oisin McConville was on hand at DKIT to hand over the coveted jerseys to the players, selected by public vote and a judging process. Des Halpenny, chairman of Louth GAA, Paul Malone – chairman of Louth Schools and new DKIT President Dr Michael Mulvey were among those to speak to the assembled crowd in Dundalk on Wednesday night.
Ardee Community School teachers and GAA coaches Anthony Durnin and Mark Gilsenan were also in attendance. The six Ardee CS players saw them represented most in the 2017 edition, with St Josephs CBS had four players make the cut.
Lennon Cup All-Stars 2017
1. Alan McGauley (Ardee CS, Ardee St Marys)
2. Craig Callan (St Marys Dundalk, Clan na Gael)
3. Dan Corcoran (De La Salle, Geraldines)
4. Donal McKenny (Ardee CS, Ardee St Marys)
5. Patrick Johnstown (Bush PP,Cooley Kickhams)
6. Alan Connor (St Josephs, Newtown Blues)
7. Ciaran McGlynn (Colaiste Ris, Kilkerley Emmets)
8. Neill Kerr (Ardee CS, Westerns)
9. Shane Hickey (St Josephs, Mattock)
10. Trevor Matthews (Ardee CS, John Mitchels)
11. Ciaran Keenan (Ardee CS, Ardee St Marys)
12. Ben McKenna (St Marys, Mattock)
13. Daire Nally (St Jospehs, Newtown Blues)
14. Conor Gillespie (Ardee CS, Ardee St Marys)
15. Ryan Walsh (St Josephs, St Fechins)
— Louth GAA (@louthgaa) December 13, 2017