February 24th, 2023


Richard Bullick

Recent Orchard debutant Maeve Lennon and 2022 Armagh Minor Player of the Year Caitlin McCormack have both made the prestigious Ulster Schools All Stars team at full forward and left wing back respectively.

The first ever Ulster Schools All Star for gaelic football from St Patrick’s HS Keady and also her club, Lennon’s prolific feats were central to Derrynoose being crowned Armagh Junior champions last season and reaching the Minor county final.

Lennon won Player of the Match in October’s Junior showpiece win against Clonmore and she has picked up two All Stars awards in the space of a fortnight having also been named in the Buttercrane Club Championships Team of the Year.

McCormack captained Armagh Minors to victory in a subsidiary Ulster title triumph, winning Player of the Match in the final against Derry and also helped her club Ballyhegan win the Orchard county’s Intermediate Championship for the first time in their history.

The St Catherine’s College sports ambassador, who captained the cathedral city team to a dramatic Ulster Schools Cup quarter-final victory in spite of a broken finger was shortlisted for Armagh Banbridge Craigavon Junior Sportswoman of the Year last autumn.

The admirable Ballyhegan Minors captain also received a call-up from new Armagh manager Shane McCormack and seems set for a good Orchard career but she has understandably decided to wait a little longer to pull on the orange jersey at adult level.

The Ulster Schools All Stars XV was unveiled in a ceremony at Kelly’s Inn earlier this month to honour the 30 players awarded All Stars for this academic year, including Silverbridge goalkeeper Cailin Traynor and Caitlin Brady of Clan na Gael.

St Joseph’s HS Crossmaglen pupil Traynor is back-up Ulster Schools goalkeeper to Loreto College Coleraine’s Clodagh Moore while Caitlin Brady of St Ronan’s College Lurgan, who sadly tore her cruciate in an Armagh Minors match before Christmas, got the No17 jersey.

There are some 2000 players active at Under 20s level in schools across the nine counties of Ulster, of whom 200 were initially invited to the first of a series of trials which eventually led to the selection of a squad of 30 and finally the awarding of jerseys No1 to No15.

The Ulster Schools XV also includes McCormack’s St Catherine’s College colleague Emma Conroy at left half forward, though the school’s Health and Wellbeing Ambassador comes from Moy so is counted among Tyrone’s contingent of six in the squad.  Conroy was announced as Tyrone Minors captain for this season on Friday.