Former Fermanagh player Shane McCabe recalls three memorable games that he was involved in

Wednesday March 8, 2000

MacRory Cup Semi-Final Replay

St. Michael's 2-15

Abbey CBS 0-08 (aet)

I had a couple of great years playing MacRory Cup football at St. Michael’s with a great bunch of lads and one game that sticks out was a semi-final replay which had no shortage of talking points.
We had won the MacRory Cup the previous year and our goal was to retain it, something that very few teams have been able to do.
We had progressed to the semi-final to play the Abbey CBS who we had beaten in the semi-final the previous year and there was a good rivalry between us. They were a very good side with some fine players like Michael Walsh and Ronan Sexton and it was always a tough game. 
We played out a draw on the Saturday and the replay was then fixed for a Wednesday afternoon and the boys were delighted as we had a half day off school. 
There was a good crowd at the game, we had brought a couple of buses with us and I remember it was a wet day in Omagh and the match itself was played at a high intensity. Dom Corrigan would have had us well drilled and we had started really well but we just couldn’t get the scores on the board and it remained very tight.
At half time, there was an incident in the tunnel, in those days in Omagh you had to go through the tunnel and up to the club house to get changed. Anyway, there was a row kicked off and all hell broke loose between the two sets of players and the referee then came into the changing room and he warned everybody about their behaviour.
The game remained close in the second half and I think Barry Owens kicked an equaliser for us to send it to extra time.
But we took over after that and produced some fantastic football to  blow them away. We outscored them 2-06 to 0-01 in extra time.
A lot of people remember that game for the row but I felt that in extra time we made a real statement. We showed great composure and they couldn’t live with us.
Unfortunately, the final didn’t go our way, Ronan Clarke and Sean Cavanagh did the damage in the last two minutes to win it for St. Pat’s Armagh and that was a hard one to take because we wanted to win back to back cups but I have very fond memories of playing MacRory Cup football for St. Michael’s.

Sunday October 14, 2007

Manor House SFL Division One Final

Belcoo 2-15

Teemore 1-08

This was a memorable one for me because it was historic in that it was the first and only time that Belcoo had won a senior title.
We had a great bunch of young lads coming through at that time who had won everything at underage and were now making their way into the senior side.
We were newly promoted and we did well in the league and managed to qualify for the league final against Teemore who were a big, aggressive team with the likes of Barry Owens, Hugh Brady and Declan O’Reilly. 
However, we gave an exhibition of football that day and we could have beaten them by a lot more. 
The team was led by big Stevie Maguire who would have been about 28 at the time then there was myself and Sean McNulty who were 24 and the average age of the rest of them was 18 or 19. Brian Cox was 17 and I think that was only his second or third appearance for the senior side.
Jimmy Leonard scored four or five points, you had John Carrigan, Ryan Dolan, Emmet Scallon who was a fantastic player. It was a really good team and I think it helped us that year that the boys were young and didn’t really have any fear.
I remember Barry Owens played centre half back and was picking me up and Barry would be the first man to admit that he wouldn’t like to pick up somebody who is maybe small and sharp. Owens though was moved to the edge of the other square and he caused havoc. He scored a goal and James McGrath in goal made a couple of great saves but thankfully we were able to get a handle on him in the second half and we were deserving winners.
This was an important win for the club and you look back on it with a smile but also with disappointment that we didn’t kick on. There was a lot of quality in the side and we got to a county final that we lost to Roslea but but we didn’t go on to do a big pile after that and we should have.

Sunday July 27, 2008

Ulster Senior Football Championship Final

Fermanagh 1-11

Armagh 2-08

That had been a really hectic summer for me as I was playing Gaelic for Fermanagh and soccer for Glentoran and when I look back, it was crazy times. 
In the run to the final we had beaten Monaghan at Brewster Park in the quarter final and I had come on and had a decent enough performance and then we beat Derry and I came on again and I felt I had done reasonably well once more.
On the Thursday night before the Ulster final against Armagh I had played in the UEFA Cup with Glentoran and I was sure that I would be used as an impact substitute. However, we landed at the Slieve Russell on the morning of the game and Malachy (O’Rourke) and Dropsy pulled me to one side and said that I was starting and although I was delighted, when I look back I probably wasn’t prepared mentally for it. My father wouldn’t have been well at this time and he couldn’t make the game so I went out and called him to let him know which was emotional. 
I can remember the bus arriving in Clones and the atmosphere was electric heading towards the ground. By coincidence, the Armagh bus pulled up at the gate at the same time as ours and I remember the two goalkeepers, Ronnie and big Hearty were shouldering each other going in through the turnstile and neither wanted to back down. We eventually got through and when we were out to the pitch the crowd was unreal, there was a really big Fermanagh support and I suppose it’s days like these that you dream about.
The game itself, we had started reasonably well and Mark Murphy had hit the crossbar but Armagh did start to pull away from us and Finnian Moriarty who was marking me took off on a run, I’ll argue that I passed him on to Mark Little but anyway the ball ends up in the back of the net and ultimately it was my man who had scored and as you can imagine I got a bit of stick for it. 
It didn’t look good for us early in the second half when they got a second goal and we were eight points down but we went on to dominate through to the finish. Eamon Maguire got a goal to really get us going and we got back on level terms in added on time. I have absolutely no doubt that if there had been another minute on the clock we would have won the Ulster title, we had all the momentum.
To be involved in that journey that summer was unforgettable and I suppose it is just disappointing that we didn’t get over the line and in the replay we missed too many chances and they deservedly won it.