Colm Bradley looks ahead to the ‘Sevens for Sam’ tournament this weekend, and, what a feast of football there is in store…
When both Declan Bogue, the award winning author (that’s how we have to refer to him), and Enniskillen Gaels said they wanted to do something to raise funds for my son Sam I thought they would make the perfect bedfellows.
And it seems I have been proved right as their collective talents are putting on what is a stunning football show this Saturday.
‘Sevens for Sam’ is coming to Brewster Park and with it some of the best footballers of their generation.
Also there is Gerry McDermott who will be togging out for Enniskillen Gaels.
The man from Donegal came to the club (you see we take them from all over not just Tempo and Belnaleck) in the mid 90’s and stayed for ten years winning a host of championships and scoring what turned out to be a match winning goal against Crossmaglen in the Ulster Club Championship.
Don’t worry, if you meet him on Saturday he will tell you about that strike before long. Gerry used to enjoy saying how he kept Kieran Gallagher scoreless in the 98 championship final.
Kieran was centre half back for Devenish.
And Gerry tells it with a straight face. He also enjoyed telling players from other clubs during our good run that they should come and buy a pint in the clubhouse and that they might get a championship medal in their change.
He is some boy is Gerry.
But even he would have to admit that his exploits on the pitch are being put into the shade by the devastating array of talent that is coming to showcase their talents on Saturday.
Take for example the Down team. Mickey Linden, James McCartan, Ross Carr, DJ Kane.
There is eight All Irelands right there with a fair few more sprinkled throughout the rest of their squad. Donegal are bringing the big guns too. Brendan Deveney, Tony Boyle and Adrian Sweeny are all forward options for the Martin McHugh led side.
Skipping over the border to Derry we have the kiss blowing Joe Brolly settling in beside Paddy Bradley with Paul McFlynn and Johnny McBride adding a bit of steel further back.
Fermanagh has the Gallagher cousins, Raymond and Rory with the Greene brothers of Derrygonnelly adding some steel to proceedings.
I met the younger Greene, Archie, in the play park in Belnaleck. He had a brood of kids running about and Sam was floating about too.
He was looking lean and mean. Almost as good as the time he was called up for Ulster trials.
I still order an ‘Archie Fry’ when looking for breakfast.
Mayo are coming up for the tournament too. Liam McHale will make an appearance as will Pat Fallon while Kevin McStay will be adding some colour to Fermanagh’s own Ger Treacy’s commentary on the day.
Big Jarlath Burns is bringing a contingent from Armagh that includes MP Conor Murphy. Benny Tierney will fill the sticks and Steven McDonnell will lead the attack with a few O’Rourkes thrown in for good measure.
Also from Armagh the greatest club side of all time Crossmaglen are due in Brewster. Speaking to one of their players this week they were worried that there were not enough club sides in it.
For a side that has Oisin McConville and the two McEntees he has little to be concerned about.
Antrim are coming to win the whole thing.
There is no doubt about that. Kevin Brady, Kevin Madden and Sean McGreevy are part of a squad with a decidedly youthful look.
The rules of the tournament was that you had to have played in the 90’s to qualify.
There are a few boys across a host of teams borderline on that one.
Trust me, this will start off a bit of craic but will get competitive very quickly.
Monaghan are bringing a squad that includes Damian Freeman, Stephen McGinnity and Ray McCarron.
I still remember McCarron scoring a goal for Monaghan in the early 90’s where he solo dummied past a defender and then stuck it in the top corner.
It remains one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. YouTube Ray McCarron goal if you don’t believe me. Unreal.
Neighbours Cavan are bringing a team laden down with attacking talent. Mickey Graham, Jason Reilly, Fintan Cahill and that is before you mention the man himself the one and only Larry Reilly.
A cult figure it is said that when Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone he had three missed calls from Larry.
Finally we have Tyrone. Finbarr McConnell, Ciaran Corr, Fergal Logan, Jody Gormely is not a bad start for the Red Hands and then of course you have our Lord God himself Peter Canavan.
What a day of football we have in store.
Kids get a chance to learn from the best
As well as the sevens tournament there will be a coaching clinic at Brewster Park on Saturday where kids will get the opportunity to learn from some top inter county talent.
Tyrone’s Ryan McMenamin, Cathal McCarron and Joe McMahon will be accompanied by Kevin Cassidy of Donegal and Fermanagh’s Barry Owens, Marty McGrath, Niall Bogue, Chris Breen, Paul Ward and Niall Bogue.
Ryan Bogue will also be on hand to take some hurling skills. The kids coaching will be held between 4:00pm and 6:00pm.
Youth secretaries were circulated with registration forms for the event and there is a cost of £5. There will also be face painting and other activities on offer.
The tournament itself will get underway with the first two matches beginning at 3:15pm. The final will take place under lights at around 8:00pm and in between we are promised a feast of football.
So, a big thank you to all the player and coaches, to Enniskillen Gaels and to Declan Bogue and in anticipation a massive thank you to all the people who will come along on Saturday.
You will be thrilled by watching some of the biggest names of the 90’s strut their stuff. It promises to be a great day.
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