By Damian Dolan
North London are determined to end their ten-year wait for silverware at this year’s Féile Peile na nÓg, having come mightily close at recent tournaments.
This year’s competition will mark ten years since they beat Wolfe Tones of Clare to win the Division 4 Cup in 2008.
Mentor Joel McInern, who is also chairperson of the London Youth Committee, is confident the team is going in the right direction.
That lack of silverware was identified five years ago, with greater backing since given to supporting the Féile team. They’ve been getting closer and closer ever since.
In 2016, North London reached the Division 4 final only to lose out to Eiré Óg Greystones (Wicklow) by 1-8 to 0-4. Two years earlier they’d lost out to Louth’s St Marys Louth.
Last year, they topped their group only to lose out to a strong O’Raghallaighs side from Drogheda by a solitary point in their quarter-final.
“In the last five years, it’s been about ‘how can we do things?’ We debrief every year [following Féile] to learn the lessons, and that seems to be paying dividends,” McInern told the Irish World.
The past three tournaments have left North London rueing decisions, especially in finals. What hasn’t been open to question has been the “ability” of the team.
Rub of the green
“We’re hoping that we can get the rub of green, that one decision goes with us and kicks us on to win Division 4,” said McInern, who says North London resisted the temptation to drop down a division. For McInern, that would be the “easy option”.
“We believe we’ve got the talent to stay in Division 4 and getting to the final proved that. We just need to be that little bit sharper and push on and win it,” he said.
“We know we’re doing something right, we just need to get North London onto that winning streak.”
If they are to end their ten-year wait, they’ll first have to negotiate their way past Division 4, Group C, opponents Dunderry (Meath), Kinawley (Fermanagh) and Summerhill (Meath).
McInern is part of a three-man management set-up for this year’s Féile. The manager is Eddie McGivney, while former London and Cavan inter-county footballer Lorcan Mulvey, who was nominated for an All Star in 2013, has been an interesting addition.
“The relationship he got with the kids within two sessions would have taken Eddie and I six weeks. They all knew right away who he was,” said McInern.
“At the Féile selection process Lorcan told them that he never made Féile teams. He wasn’t developed as much at that stage.
“So it’s not the end of the world if they don’t get on a Féile team. Lorcan’s first break was getting on to a development squad in Cavan aged 17 or 18.
“It’s great that he can say that. Philip Butler, one of the best players in London, never made a Féile team.
“It’s not the be all and end all. Players like Lorcan and Phil got to be great players by just hard work.
“The next person we’d love to see in there helping us out would be London captain Liam Gavaghan. We’ve had Liam going around to most of the clubs doing the end of year presentations to show them this is what you could be.”
North London Feile Panel:
Terry Gallagher – Half Forward (Tara’s)
Joseph Spain – Full Back (St Kiernan’s)
Callum Downey – Corner Forward (Parnell’s)
James Cawley – Full Forward (Tir Chonaill Gaels)
Joseph Thornton – Half Back (Tara’s)
Harry Cunningham – Corner Back (Tara’s)
Morgan Ritchie – Half Forward (North London Shamrocks)
Barnaby Steward – Goalkeeper (Tara’s)
Fergus Murray – Full Forward (North London Shamrocks)
Conor Moran – Half Forward (Parnell’s)
Sean Howley – Corner Back (Tara’s)
Luke Keane – Full Forward (Parnell’s)
Pearse Kerr – Half Back (Parnell’s)
Frankie Finnerty – Full/Centre Back (Tara’s)
Conor Sweeney – Centre Forward (Tir Chonaill Gaels)
Rory Welby – Wing Back (Parnell’s)
Eoin McGivney – Half Back/Midfield (Tara’s)
Conor Reidy – Corner Forward (St Kiernan’s)
Luke Morahan – Half Forward (Tara’s)
Antonio Polleri – Midfield (Tara’s)