Sigerson win tops the lot for McGeehin


RONAN McGeehin believes that winning the Sigerson Cup this year with Ulster University is the sweetest achievement so far in his career.

McGeehin was the goalkeeper for the Jordanstown university as they made their way to the final before lifting the trophy in Tralee in February.


It wasn’t all straightforward however, as UU lost their second game in the competition in round 2A against UCD and had to advance through the backdoor to reach the final.

But they met the South Dublin side again in the decider and won by 3-12 to 0-15, for which the St Eunan’s man receives the Donegal News February Sports Personality of the Month award in conjunction with Brian McCormick Sports & Leisure.

“It just didn’t work for us down there in Belfield in the first game but we got a second bite at them at the most important stage,” McGeehin, pictured below, said on the run to the final.

“They had such a good team on paper too, they were stacked with county boys.

“Everyone was probably thinking UCD would do the same thing again and we’d fumble under the pressure but we knew we let ourselves down in the first game against UCD and that gave us a push on as well.

“Then the three first half goals helped a lot, we let it drop a bit in the second half but the first half was unbelievable from every single person on the field and it was hard to lose when you’re that far ahead, keep doing what you’re doing and don’t let it slip.

“The priority was of course winning, but I can always say I did my part in keeping a clean sheet in a winning Sigerson final so it was a nice bonus on top of things.


“I’d honestly say winning the Sigerson is ranked number one for me, I couldn’t even describe how good it felt, it was my first All-Ireland title. I’ve won an Ulster title at Under 16 level, and an Ulster Under 15 at 7-a-side but this was incredible, the whole group was unbelievable and I became good friends with every one of them.

“The championship win (with St Eunan’s) in 2021 would not be far off but I was coming off the bench of a very good team. I played every second of the Sigerson campaign so I was there helping from start to finish.”

The team was made up of Ulster footballers with an abundance of quality in the team, going right through from the likes of Tyrone stars Darragh and Ruairi Canavan, while Conor Cush was also part of the panel in 2024.

Derry’s Niall Loughlin also starred for the team while Fermanagh county players Ronan McCaffrey and Josh Largo Ellis played a part in a competitive squad.

And the number one spot was no different, with McGeehin impressing Derry man and UU boss Barry Dillon and he nailed down his place from the league to help UU win their first Sigerson title since 2008.

“There were a lot of Tyrone players, some of the names are unbelievable, Future Stars and nominees and everything, it wasn’t a bad panel to be part of.

“It was difficult, the two main goalkeepers there were Harry Morgan from Tyrone and Oisin Treacy from Down who would have both played underage for their county the whole way through, it was competitive but it was always going to be the case with goalkeepers, there’s only space for one unfortunately.

“I had an alright league and things were going well, I’m good playing in bad weather because I have an ignorant boot to kick the ball long which always helps!

Ulster University’s Ronan McGeehin tries to save a shot from UCD’s Donncha Gilmore earlier in the campaign.

“Barry has been unbelievable, University football is so different to club and county because you need that social aspect of it a lot more because you don’t get much time together. He is just an expert at getting team chemistry very quickly and that’s probably what he’d pride himself most on and he chose the right men at the right time to step in when needed.

“From the get go we knew we had an unbelievable team, Ulster always has an unbelievable team on paper, but it rarely translates, they’d always fall short.

“But Barry told us that the longer we played together, the better we’d get and he said from the start of the league that if we won the quarter-finals then we’d win the whole thing outright because we’d have enough playing time together and he was right.”

McGeehin also featured throughout the league campaign for St Eunan’s and he admits his role between the Letterkenny side and University side was different.

The ‘keeper enjoys a venture forward for the club side and even pointed from play against Glenswilly in a league meeting back in April in O’Donnell Park.

“I think that was the same weekend Donegal played Derry in the championship too and Odhran Lynch got caught out a couple of times so I was probably told to stay in my net! But I saw the gap open.

“For Ulster it was very different and when you have the forwards we had there was no reason for me to be going near the halfway line with the two Canavans and Niall Loughlin, I just let them have the ball and do what they needed to do because they’re unbelievable at it.”

McGeehin is going into his final year of Computing Technolgies at Ulster University.

The Letterkenny native did a foundation year in Belfast Met so played with Queen’s University for a season but Covid halted the competitions that year, before an injury kept him out for the majority of his second year at Ulster University.

But he’s back fully fit now and there is plenty more to play for with his club team this year, although he faces plenty of competition for the number one spot with Donegal ‘keeper Shaun Patton the man to displace.

“I was out with an ankle injury, I tore ligaments against Bundoran in the championship, it was well over nine months before I was back.

“It was on my kicking foot and I got misdiagnosed. I came off straight away and I was told it was a fracture so I was in a cast and I went back to training but before the Kilcar game I just fell down at training and said ‘something isn’t right’ so I got an MRI and was told it was a grade 3 ligament tear so it was completely snapped in half.

“The priority now is club and concentrate on championship to try and finish off 2024 on a good way.

“I’ll obviously try and push Shaun as best as I can but I need to be realistic, but whatever Barry Meehan needs this year I’m more than willing, if he needs someone in nets if Patton isn’t available, or if he needs someone in full-forward I’d be happy to do that, I’m still training for both positions.

“But we’d definitely be looking to win another Sigerson next year, we have a good team coming through. Darragh Canavan, Niall Loughlin, Peter Óg McCartan and Ben McCarron would be graduated but we still have some very good players coming through and some players who weren’t available this year like Eoin McElholm from Tyrone.”

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere

and get access to our archive editions dating back to 2007
Every Thursday
Every Monday

Donegal News is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. St. Anne's Court, Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland