Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Hurling Allstars

April 12, 2022

Danske Bank Ulster Schools’ Hurling Allstars

A FIRST ever Danske Bank Mageean Cup title for St Patrick’s, Downpatrick in December was further embellished yesterday when six of their players were named in the Ulster Schools’ Allstar team.

The Red High, as winners of the Mageean Cup, were entitled to six nominations for the Allstar trial and all six have been chosen in the team – the first time this has happened in the 34-year history of the Allstar team.

It is also the first time that only two Antrim players have made the final selection, Christy McGarry from Cross & Passion, Ballycastle and Daire McMullan representing St Louis’, Ballymena.

No Antrim school reached the Mageean Cup final this season, the third time this has happened in the last four finals. The Red High beat St Patrick’s, Maghera by 2-13 to 1-14 with Tom McGrattan top-scoring with nine points. The Portaferry scoring ace also notched 1-9 in a closely fought semi-final win over St Louis’, Ballymena.

Tom’s father Gerard is Down’s only hurling Allstar and the scoring returns of the younger McGrattan suggests that he is destined to play at senior level for his county.

McGrattan is joined in the Allstar team by three more players from his club Portaferry – goalkeeper Pearce Smyth, Mageean Cup final Player of the Match Déaglán Mallon and midfielder Finn Turpin.

The other two Downpatrick Allstars are Ballygalget pair Oisin Coulter and Michael Dorrian, while a further two players from the John Mitchel’s club, James Higgins and Eoin Pucci, make the top team representing Our Lady’s & St Patrick’s, Knock.

That means that eight Down underage stars are selected, the first time more than half the side has come from a county other than Antrim.

Beaten finalists St Patrick’s, Maghera have two players selected, captain and centre half-back James Friel and Callum O’Kane at centre-forward.

There is also a first ever Allstar for Gaelcholáiste Dhoire with the selection of Ruairí Ó Mianáin who is now on a par with his sister Clíodhna, included in the Ulster schools’ All-star camogie team two years ago.

Finally two Armagh players caught the eye, Tomás Galvin from St Patrick’s, Keady and Jake Toal from St Patrick’s Armagh.

The Allstar team was announced this week by Jimmy Smyth, chairman of Ulster Schools’ GAA, and Oonagh Murtagh, Head of South Business Centre at Danske Bank UK Belfast, who commented:

“The Ulster Schools’ Allstars is an outstanding initiative and something that we at Danske Bank are extremely proud to be part of. The commitment and dedication required to even be nominated for an Allstar award is immense and I would like to congratulate all of the players that were selected to participate in the trials, as well as the 15 outstanding hurlers we are honouring here today.

“This passion for excellence is truly commendable and something that we in Danske Bank strive to achieve across our business.”

The Danske Bank Allstar football team will be announced tomorrow while the members of both teams will receive their awards at a gala dinner in the Crown Plaza Hotel in Belfast on Friday, April 29.

Danske Bank Allstar Hurling team 2021-2022

1. Pearce Smyth (St Patrick’s, Downpatrick)

2. James Higgins (Our Lady’s & St Patrick’s, Knock)

3. Déaglán Mallon (St Patrick’s, Downpatrick)

4. Jake Toal (St Patrick’s, Armagh)

5. Eoin Pucci (Our Lady’s & St Patrick’s, Knock)

6. James Friel (St Patrick’s, Maghera)

7. Daire McMullan (St Louis’, Ballymena)

8. Finn Turpin (St Patrick’s, Downpatrick)

9. Michael Dorrain (St Patrick’s, Downpatrick)

10. Christy McGarry (Cross & Passion, Ballycastle)

11. Callum O’Kane (St Patrick’s, Maghera)

12. Ruairí Ó Mianáin (Gaelcholáiste Dhoire)

13. Tomás Galvin (St Patrick’s, Keady)

14. Tom McGrattan (St Patrick’s, Downpatrick)

15. Oisin Coulter (St Patrick’s, Downpatrick)


Published in The Irish News 12/04/2022