CAFRE GAA team win Agricultural and Horticulture Colleges Shield
The long anticipated game between CAFRE agri-food students and Botanic College of Horticulture for the Colleges All Ireland Shield has finally been played. It had been postponed due to poor weather and a lack of availability of suitable dates, and the fixture was played at Greenmount Campus near Antrim this week. The CAFRE team is a composite team made up of both Loughry and Greenmount students.
Botanics arrived from Dublin with a reduced squad of players and CAFRE facilitated the game by playing with reduced numbers. This however did not detract from the game which was very keenly contested.
With the throw in at 3.30, the game got under way and the CAFRE players at first seemed intimidated by the size and physicality of the Botanics players, which left them trailing by 4 points at the end of the first quarter of the game. CAFRE players however did not panic and they regrouped and asserted themselves on the game with scores from Chris Henry, Malachy Morgan and Conor Brown to leave the game level. Botanics reacted with some good play of their own, but stout defending from Stephen McKee, Martin Kirk and Donal Keown held them at bay and reduced the scoring opportunities for the visitors.
Scores from Ryan Killen, Chris Henry and Conor Brown late in the first half left the score line with only a possible 2 scores in it, at 3-3 to 0-7 in CAFRE’s favour. This reflected the possession and defence of the CAFRE players in the first half.
CAFRE started the second half with one change, James Campbell replacing Ryan Killen and playing with the breeze at their back, but found it difficult to hit their stride and Botanics took full advantage of this scoring 2 goals and 2 points unanswered, to retake the lead. With strong kick outs to the mid field from CAFRE goalkeeper Richard Magee and Frank McAuley stepping up in midfield to close down the Botanics play maker, this allowed players such as Phelim Savage, Malachy Morgan and Conor Brown to impose themselves on the game and take control.
CAFRE started to use their bench at this stage introducing Ryan Mortimer for Donal Keown resulting in an immediate scoring spree for Mortimer with 2 goals and a point to retake control of the game. Following a substantial collision CAFRE lost Stephen McKee to injury, this led to CAFRE introducing Ciaran McLaughlin to the game and a further substitution of Shane Morrow for Frank McAuley re-shored the defence.
With introduction of these fresh players CAFRE really took the hold of the game with some outstanding passages of play that any club would be proud of. Botanics players began to tire in the last quarter of the game leaving CAFRE to run out winners with a score of 8-06 to 2-08.
CAFRE GAC would like to take this opportunity to thank the horticultural staff within CAFRE for their hard work and efforts in preparing the pitch for the game which was a credit to them and to the canteen staff for catering to players after the game. Thanks to the referee Mr Gerard Doogan who had an excellent game also to our supporters both staff and students alike. Finally thanks to Botanics for a fine game of football and for making the effort to travel to Greenmount to facilitate the fixture.
The CAFRE team which won in the Colleges All Ireland Shield against Botanic College. Back Row (L-R): Martin Kirk (Plumbridge), Stephen McKee (Ballinascreen), Malachy Morgan (Kilcoo, Co. Down), Conor Brown (Clonduff, Hilltown), Cormac Fearon (Portadown), Ryan Killen (Donegal), Ryan McPolin (Clonduff, Hilltown), Ryan Mortimer (Claudy), Michael Connon (Crumlin), Donal Keown (Belleek, Fermanagh), James Campbell (Stewartstown), Francis McAuley (Toomebridge), Phelim Savage (Cullyhanna), Sean Mooney (CAFRE team Manager). Front Row (L-R): Ciaran McLaughlin (Carndonagh, Co. Donegal), Shaun Gallagher (Letterkenny, Co. Donegal), Richard Magee (Ardglass), Seamus McKeever (Ahoghill), Shane McGill (Strabane), Chris Henry (Ballymaguigan), Dan McMullan (Downpatrick), Shane Morrow (Ballybofey, Co. Donegal).