On Friday night last the 2011 Mc Keever Sports Ulster Schools All Star awards were presented. The 20 players selected came through a rigorous selection process and on Friday night next will play the Connacht Schools All Stars under lights in Mullahoran.

Below is the name and profile of the twenty All Stars

Katie Farrell
Katie Farrell from Our Lady’s Grammar School in Newry is the recipient of the Goalkeepers position on the 2011 McKeever Sports Ulster Schools All Star team. From the Rostrevor club, Katie is currently the net minder for Down minor and senior teams and says that her height is a great advantage while on duty between the posts. Cliodhna O’Connor from Dublin is her favourite Ladies Gaelic Player and one day she hopes to lift an All Ireland title in Croke Park just like she did.

Clara McMenamin
Loreto Omagh’s Clara McMenamin takes the first slot on the full back line of the team and is no stranger to success having featured on Loreto’s Ulster and All Ireland winning teams. Playing her club football with Aghyaran, Clara has also picked up under 16 and senior league titles during her short playing career so far and has been involved with Tyrone under 14’s and 16’s. She is also a keen Irish dancer and has danced her way to Ulster level, she’ll be needing her quick feet against Connacht next week!

Stephanie Cochrane
The first of our double All Star winners Stephanie Cochrane from St Genevieve’s in Belfast moves from half back into the full back position for the 2011 team. Stephanie had a very successful year in 2010 with her club St Gall’s when they lifted the Antrim and Ulster Intermediate Championship title. A talented basketball player too Stephanie has also received Basketball All Stars at under 16 and under 19.

Siónainn McConville
Ladies Gaelic is only part of Siónainn’s expertise in the sporting field as she is also an All Ireland Handball champion at under 17. From St Michael’s Grammar School and the Clann Eireann club in Lurgan she is no stranger to success having picked up county and Ulster titles. Recently she was also named as sports personality of the year for Craigavon Borough Council.

Kayleigh Fleming
St Mary’s Limavady is very proud of their first all star award in the form of Kayleigh Fleming. From the Faughanvale club in Derry, Kayleigh has been named the clubs player of the year at under 12, under 14 and under 16 level. As well as playing Gaelic she also plays camogie and aussie rules. Shauna McCallion and Tomás Ó Se are her favourite GAA players.

Alana McShane
From Holy Cross in Strabane comes the centre half back of the team – Alana McShane. A Clan na Gael clubperson Alana has enjoyed underage success up to minor level and has also represented Tyrone at under 14’s and 16’s. A keen soccer player, she has been on the Northern Ireland under 17 team from 2009 to present day. Neamh Woods and Conor Gormley are her favourite GAA players.

Anna Finnegan
The final link in the defence of the 2011 team is Anna Finnegan from Our Lady’s & St Patrick’s Knock. Playing her club football with St Brigid’s in Belfast Anna has enjoyed success with their senior team. She has also represented Antrim up to minor level as well as playing basketball and soccer. She received her first cap for Northern Ireland Ladies against Austria in 2009 while off the field she hopes to go to college next year to study pharmacy.

Laura McEneaney
Laura McEneaney from St Louis’s in Carrickmacross is the first of our mid-fielders and hails from the Corduff club in Monaghan where she has collected both county and Ulster junior titles. A regular in the underage teams of Monaghan she has now made the step to senior level where she has already tasted success. A talented basketball and soccer player too Laura has been known to eat her own body weight in fruit before games and sites fellow Monaghan player Edel Byrne as her favourite player.

Aoife Lennon
Aoife is the first of the St Catherine’s girls to pick up an All Star this year and this is her second award having been named at corner forward last year. She plays her club football with Armagh Harps but it is with St Catherine’s that she has had most success being part of the 2007 All Ireland winning team. During the summer, along with a group from St Catherine’s, Aoife spent two weeks in Uganda doing charitable work – something she thoroughly enjoyed.

Kirsty McGuinness
The second St Genevieve’s girl to receive an award is Kirsty McGuinness from the St Paul’s Club in Belfast. Kirsty is a very talented gaelic and soccer player and has been successful throughout her playing career so far picking up Feile, county and Ulster titles with St Paul’s and representing Northern Ireland soccer team right up to senior level. Last year she was given the honour of being named Ulster Young Player of the Year and received her award alongside her idol Sinead Aherne at the All Star banquet in the City West Hotel.

Aine Canavan
St Ciaran’s Ballygawley provide the centre half forward of the team in the form of Aine Canavan. Aine has already graced the hallowed soil of Croke Park when she played at half time of the 2003 Tyrone and Kerry All Ireland semi-final where her dad also played, but has gained respect as a player in her own rite with her club Errigal Ciaran and her county Tyrone. She has played with Tyrone under 14 and 16 teams and has received many honours with them since 2004.

Barbara Ward
The number 12 on the All Star team goes to Barbara Ward who, like her other St Louis teammate plays her club football with Corduff where they won the Junior Ulster Club in 2009. Barbara has played at county level from under 14 up, and in 2010 was named Under 16 county player of the year. She is also a keen athletics competitor and uses her stamina from this to run riot in the half forward line. Sharon Courtney and Bernard Brogan are her favourite GAA players.

Aoife McCullough
First in our full forward line is Aoife McCullough from St Paul’s in Bessbrook, who are extremely proud of their first schools all star. Carrickcruppen in Armagh is where Aoife plays her club football and with them has attained many league and championship honours from under 14 to senior level and has been named the club’s under 12, 14 and minor player of the year at different stages throughout her playing career. Caroline O’Hanlon from Armagh provides the inspiration for Aoife who, like Caroline, also competes in netball.

Geraldine McLaughlin
One of two Loreto Letterkenny players on the 2011 All Star team Geraldine McLaughlin comes from the Termon club in Donegal. This is Geraldine’s second schools all star award and in 2010 she was nominated for an All Ireland All Star at the young age of 17 having also picked up the Ulster Writer’s Player of the Month for October. She has experienced lots of success with both her club and county, the highlight of which was lifting the All Ireland Intermediate title in Croke Park last September.

Caoimhe Mohan
Representing St Louis in Monaghan Caoimhe Mohan takes the number 15 jersey for the All Star team. A talented player from a young age Caoimhe won the All Ireland Feile Skills competition in 2007 and has progressed through the ranks to now play senior football with Monaghan, and picked up a Dowd Cup All Star with them earlier this year. Playing her club football with Truagh she was part of the team who lifted the Ulster Juinor Club Championship in 2008 and says that her big sister Natasha is her favourite Ladies Gaelic player.

Niamh Friel
The second Loreto Letterkenny girl on the team Niamh Friel also plays her club football with Termon in Donegal. A wing half back to be reckoned with Niamh has also played with Donegal under 16’s and minors and lifted the All Ireland Minor title in 2009. With her club she is no stranger to success either having completed the league and championship double last year with the senior team who also went on to win Ulster. Niamh is also a keen soccer player.

Niamh Kelly
St Mary’s in Magherafelt get their first schools All Star award thanks to the efforts of Niamh Kelly from the Creggan club in Antrim. A talented camogie player too Niamh juggles the demands of both and still manages to excel. With Antrim Ladies she was part of the All Ireland Junior Championship winning squad and has also lifted Ulster under 16 and minor titles. Alan Brogan is her favourite GAA player.

Fionnuala McKenna
Fionnuala McKenna receives her second Schools All Star award tonight having been named at mid field in last year’s team. The second representative from St Catherine’s Fionnuala was also part of the All Ireland winning team of 2007 and has many other achievements in football with her club Armagh Harps. A very talented handball player too Fionnuala won an All Ireland title in 2009 and in 2010 she was part of the National handball development squad. Armagh Sports forum named her the young sportsperson of the year in 2009.

Mairead Cooper
Mairead Cooper represents Rathmore Grammar School tonight and like four other players on the team this is her second schools All Star award. From the St Paul’s club in Belfast Mairead has won an array of titles from under 14 to senior level, the most notable being the Ulster Intermediate Club Championship. With Antrim ladies Mairead played a vital part in winning the All Ireland Junior title in 2009 and is still on the Antrim squad for the current season. Juliet Murphy from Cork is her favourite Ladies Gaelic player.

Lisa Marie Skeffington
Last but certainly not least Lisa Marie Skeffington from St Joseph’s Grammar School Donaghmore makes up the final member of our team. The oldest player of the squad Lisa Marie plays her club football with the Killeeshil club just down the road and has achieved many titles with them from under 14 to senior level. On an individual level Lisa Marie was named Senior Player of the year in the club last year and back in 2005 she picked up the All Ireland Feile Skills title. Off the pitch she is a very musical person and can play the guitar, drums and piano.

By Paul Swift

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