THE big screen welcomed all to Croke Park yesterday. It stated that Cumann na mBunscol have been promoting 'the love of our games since 1928'. And it looks like the beat will go on.
GAA president Liam O'Neill called in on the party. And Ciaran Whelan too. The second day of the Allianz Dublin Primary Schools Football finals proved a sure hit. Three pitches in use and 24 matches over the two days. The legendary Lar Foley was remembered. His grandson, Liam Foley, got a hat-trick of goals as St Oliver Plunkett's returned to Malahide with the Sciath Kitterick.
Sean Guiden, son of former Dub, Niall, scored four points. Sean's twin, Caitlin, was also in action at HQ yesterday. Plunkett's beat Hollypark in an absolute cracker that extended to extra-time. The Hollypark captain, Conor Kane, has a left foot that would cut the Christmas cake.
The Sciath na nGearaltach was a thriller. Ballyroan pipped Cronan's. Ballyroan published a lovely programme. It carried a touching tribute to Jim Stynes, who played for the school in Croke Park in 1978. Padraig Harrington, Michael Darragh McAuley and Darragh Nelson also wore the school jersey.
Adam Farrell, Aaron Deegan, Adam Carrigan, Lorcan O'Dell and Conor Lyons excelled for the Rathfarnham side, while the Swords stars were Jamie Condon, Mark Corcoran and Liam Nangle.
Also returning to the north county with pride were Rush NS who tasted Division 1 Corn Kitterick success for the first time. Remarkably, they haven't been beaten in two years. They had to be at their very best to overcome St Brigid's. Matt Barr, son of Keith, and Tom Hegarty, son of Brigid's Brave, Tony, impressed in defence, while the cultured Cian Rogers hit 1-8.
Gaelscoil Cholmcille and Scoil Naithi also produced a classic Corn an Cheid. Cholmcille got there by a point. Jamie O Broin and Ciaran Mac Seoirse were in top form, while Donncha O Ciardha and Tom O hEachthigheirn flourished for the Ballinteer boys.
Swords Educate Together produced a super show to lift the Sciath O Donnchu. Gavin Poole-Flanagan showed commendable accuracy for their Donnycarney opponents, while it was a case of Magical Mary's in the Corn na nGearaltach, with Rathfarnham defeating their Lucan cousins.
Darragh O Neill hit 1-7 for Scoil Mologa in the Corn Matt Griffin and was hailed a true warrior by his side in the shape of Max Svejdar. Unfortunately for them, however, they came up against a well-drilled St Mary's team, who were propelled to victory by goals from Craig McMahon and Rian Lawlor.
Gaeilscoil Chnoc Liamhna took the Sciath an Chladaigh honours with Eibhlin Ni Dhuinnsleibhe grabbing 0-5 against St Oliver Plunkett's, Malahide, who had stars of their own in Caitlin Guiden, Nekane and Carla Barnes, and Katie O'Sullivan.
Archbishop Ryan SNS were too hot to handle with goals from Lily O'Reilly, Allanah Cassells and Aofie Brophy inspiring a Corn na Laoch success over Scoil Naomh Damian. The Walkinstown outfit were represented with distinction, Aisling Wedick, Kacey Murphy and Lauren Fox catching the eye.
Mikaela Griffin was the star for St Brigid's, Castleknock, but even she couldn't stop Scoil Lorcaín from getting their hands on the Sciath Austin Finn. Rachel Ní hAirtneada and Sinead Ni Dhonnchu were outstanding for the winners, while Grainne Ni Drisceoil played a captain's role.
Corn Austin Finn will reside in Cabinteely as St Brigid's hit the heights. Róisín McGovern scored 0-4, Jodi Egan a lovely goal. It was hard luck on Belgrove Girls Clontarf. Jane McHugh and Niamh Hetherton did them proud.
Terenure College JS held off a late Divine Word rally. Seamus Noone was a class above and George Morgan knitted it all together. Joseph Sweeney showed his skills for Divine Word, the Cullens Luke and Ronan knew how to find the net.