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Good Counsel Retain McGirr Cup in Thriller

posted 29 Apr 2015, 04:13 by Post Primary   [ updated 29 Apr 2015, 04:13 ]

Good Counsel Retain McGirr Cup in Thriller



28-04-2015 (Tue)

Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools McGirr Cup (Junior Football)

Final

Good Counsel College New Ross

2-12

V

3-7

St Brendans Killarney

 

Referee:  Derek O Mahoney



Thomas O’Connor's top level future may lie away from Gaelic football but the youngster was absolutely sublime in Clonmel yesterday afternoon when his Good Counsel College, New Ross, side made it back to back Paul McGirr Cup titles.

The Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools U16 cup is one of the hottest trophies around and O'Connor, who is reportedly set to join Southampton FC after he finishes his junior certificate, is undoubtedly one of the hottest properties in the game. The Kilkenny native - and Republic of Ireland U15 soccer international  - scored two goals from the penalty spot and added four points from play from a personal haul of 2-6.

It's incredible to note that O’Connor was also the best player on the field when his side beat Rochestown in last year's decider. On that day he scored 0-8.

But yesterday's 2-12 - 3-7 win against St Brendan's Killarney surely tops the lot. It was an action-packed, end to end game, one that was played in the perfect spirit of pure Gaelic football.

"It was a breath of fresh air to see two sides eager to play football without a blanket defence," Said co-manager Kevin Bates, who led the team to glory with Kevin Kehoe.

"This resulted in a very exciting and free flowing game where the skills of both forward and defender were on display. 

"Brendan's really stayed true to the Kerry traditions and their boys played with great skill and determination which left the game in the balance until the very end," Bates added.

The GC manager added that the manner in which the game was played really absorbed the fine crowd in attendance. 

"Yeah, the game was played in a great spirit with great support for both sides in the stands in a game that really was an advert for the sport. We are delighted with the result of course."

Bates could not ignore the impact that O'Connor had but pointed out that there were several other support acts who stepped up to the mark and lit up centre stage themselves.

"While Thomas O' Connor's performance was quite exceptional at centre forward, he was very well supported by a gifted group of players who created their own little bit of history for Good Counsel today, achieving a double All-Ireland in U-16 Football & Hurling this year, to add to the U-16 football Paul McGirr title won last year. 

"It was just great to hear the crowd chanting C'mon the 'Superblues' at the end. It has been a great period in this school's history. We are all very proud of them."

The game lit up from the start -  St Brendan’s first attack almost yielded a goal but David Shaw's thunderous drive struck the crossbar and bounced down on the goal line giving the umpires a very difficult decision to make. The goal was not allowed and from there Good Counsel went onto establish a foothold in the final.

After 10 minutes 'The Sem' did find a goal when Donnchadh O’Sullivan took advantage of some fine interchange play to score, giving the Killarney side the lead.

However, it was the only time on the day that they would be ahead of their Wexford opponents. 

And it was from there that O'Connor burst into life and his side took over. They clipped over a spate of points before Mark Hartnett hit back with another goal for Brendan's.
The end to end nature of this fine spectacle continued when O’Connor slotted home his first penalty. He then hit two long range points to help his side into 1-9 to 2-1 at the break.

The Kerry giants had a stiff wind in their favour after that but when O’Connor goaled from the spot again soon after the restart the writing was on the wall. 

They surged on from there, leading 2-11 to 2-1.

Still, by the game's end, St Brendan’s were left kicking themselves. They missed a stack of chances, had that disallowed goal to reflect upon and only lost by two points when the final whistle blew. 

They hit 1-4 without reply but it wasn't enough. Good Counsel hung on to claim a famous double with the junior hurling title and back to back McGirr cups.

THE GOOD COUNSEL - KERRY CONNECTION

posted 27 Apr 2015, 03:26 by Post Primary

THE GOOD COUNSEL  - KERRY CONNECTION

 

This Tuesday 28th April 2015 sees the final of the All Ireland Post Primary Schools Junior Football between the holders - Good Counsel College, New Ross and the challengers – St. Brendan’s College, Killarney.  Few, if anyone, attending this much anticipated final, will be aware of the strong historical connections between Good Counsel and the Kerry Football tradition – connections which originated almost a century ago.  In recent decades Good Counsel have become Ireland’s leading dual college in both hurling and football and has a proud track record of success in both codes.

 

Situated in New Ross the school draws its student population largely from South West Wexford and South East Kilkenny.  It is understandable that the strong hurling tradition of these catchment areas would account for the hurling successes, but strange to relate it was in football  that Good Counsel became a prominent nursery long before it made hurling progress.  Where did this tradition come from and how did this happen ?  The simple answer is that it came largely from the Kerry connection.  The early Augustinian friars who founded Good Counsel as a boarding school in the centre of New Ross at the beginning of the twentieth century were concerned to attract quality students who might later become Augustinians.  They established a bursary scheme called the JKL scholarship (named after Dr. James Doyle an Augustinian Priest who later became the Bishop of the Diocese of Kildare and Loughlin) to attract bright youngsters from primary schools across the country in promoting this scheme they targeted Cork, Dublin, Limerick and in particular Kerry.  From the 1930’s onwards the Good Counsel boarders were in the main drawn from these counties and in particular from Kerry.

This had an immediate effect on the promotion of Gaelic football as the school’s main sport.  Though still a small school of some eighty boarders with very few ‘day boys’ it began to “fight above its weight” in the Leinster Colleges football competitions.

Its major break through came in the 1950 – 51 season when it beat St. Finians, Mullingar to become the Leinster junior football champions.  That final has gone down in the folklore of Leinster college’s football as one of the greater finals ever.  That Good Counsel team was backboned by a strong Kerry contingent.  Outstanding amongst these were the late Kevin Coffey who later played at the centre back for Kerry and the late Eric Ryan an outstanding Kerry minor who later transferred to Cork and played at centre field against Louth in the 1957 all Ireland.  The name of the late, great, Eamon Young of Cork must also get an honourable mention.  Over the years many other Kerry natives played a prominent role in the successes of Good Counsel and our sister college St. Augustines, Dungarven. 

This football tradition dominated in Good Counsel until the boarding ceased and it became a day school in the nineteen eighties.   By then the footballing tradition of Good Counsel had been well and truly established.  Another important aspect of this Good Counsel Kerry connection was the number of Kerry students who joined the Augustinian Order and became distinguished as missionaries over the world.  One such outstanding person was the late Fr. Michael Heffernan from Castleisland who remained a lifelong strong Kerry supporter and was president of the Kerry association in Dublin for many years.  The ‘Kerry factor’ in the Good Counsel’s football tradition continues to this day and as a past student and player with Good Counsel I hope to be a proud spectator as the Kerry and the Wexford-Kilkenny footballing students clash for the first time.   I am a strong follower and supporter of Good Counsel.   I would like to see them win.  From another perspective as a Kilkenny man and admirer of Kerry I see this final it as a win-win situation.

Fr. Michael Mernagh OSA

Masita Paul McGirr Cup Final Preview

posted 27 Apr 2015, 03:25 by Post Primary   [ updated 27 Apr 2015, 03:25 ]


28-04-2015 (Tue)

Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools McGirr Cup (Junior Football)

Final

Clonmel

13:00

Good Counsel College New Ross

 

V

 

St Brendan’s College Killarney

 

Sometimes tradition can ruthlessly scupper the most exciting of journeys.
 
That was certainly the case when St Mary's Clady, who were enjoying an historic season, travelled to Kildare to play St Brendan's Killarney in the McGirr Cup semi-final.  
 
With a place in the All-Ireland final the prize at stake, the Derry lads were hopeful of maintaining their excellent run having recently landed a first provincial title after an end to end Arthurs Cup win against Colaiste na Carraige following extra-time.
 
All the way through the campaign Paddy Bradley's men had been impressive and looked like they could make another historic breakthrough - this time to a national final. 
 

They went down south looking to their key men Conall Shaw, Oisin McGuckin and Lorcan Spier in defence, Ben O'Kane and John Lewis in midfield and Stephen Bradley, Odhran Quinn and the free-scoring Damon Gallagher in attack. These men were on fire and there was a feeling that they could take St Brendan's all the way.

The Sem, after all, had only just claimed the Munster title the previous week when they came from behind in the closing eight minutes to see off Kerry rivals Tralee CBS on a 1-13 to 1-9 scoreline.
 
But as we said at the start, tradition is often King. And the Derry side was simply blown away as the Kerry side eased to a 5-25 to 0-4 win at Round Towers GFC in Kildare town. Men against boys.
 
 "Brendans were just too strong for us," Bradley admits.
 
 
 "You just have to accept how good they are. They play with real pace and directness. They cut us open time and time again and that was with us trying to be defensive.
 
 "I have to say that their centre and full forwards (Dara Moynihan and David Clifford) are very good players. But their forwards in general had unreal movement and only for that they eased up, made changes and took points near the end the score-line would have been harsher on us."
 
It was Clifford who set the tone in that one sided semi. An early goal, soon followed by one from Jack Griffin gave St Brendan's a 2-9 to 0-1 advantage at the break.
 
Two further goals from Mark Harnett and a Donnachadh O'Sullivan effort in the second half completed a 36 point annihilation.
 
That win set them up nicely for next Tuesday's prestigious final but they will have long forgotten it.
 
In fact they will have to be very careful that they don't read too much into that comprehensive win as they learned little, if nothing, on the day and next time out they will face a very different opposition.
 
Good Counsel themselves have their own agenda - to make it back-to-back Junior football All-Ireland titles. "We are current McGirr Cup holders and aiming to retain the cup," said co-manager Kevin Bates who looks after the team with Kevin Kehoe. "We have five players who were on our starting 15 last year, and were also on our senior football team that won the Leinster C'ship earlier this year. It's been a busy time for the school - our U-16 Hurlers won the All-Ireland last November and so we are going for a unique double. Meanwhile, two players on our starting team were on the Republic of Ireland U15 Soccer team this year, Thomas O' Connor and Eoin Porter."

They won't read much into their heavy defeat of Rice College last time out either but instead will draw serious heart from their beating of Scoil Aodháin in the Leinster Post Primary Under-16 'A' final in Netwatch Cullen Park some weeks back. They won that game comfortably enough too, on a 1-12 - 1-6 scoreline even though they trailed badly at half-time (1-5 to 0-6) but put on a stunning show in the second period to burst back into the game. 
 
In doing so they kept their Dublin opponents to just a solitary injury time point as they romped home to a six-point win.
 
They were dominant before that game as well; beating local rivals St Peter's 2-8 -1 -4 in the South Leinster Post Primary Schools Junior football 'A' final at Bellefield in March. 

 
That win once more meant that silverware in the south-east has been dominated by the New Ross side. 
 
Dominant this season in many areas of the field, both Andrew Walsh and Darragh Lyons, both from the St. James' club, have been pivotal performers thus far.
 
It has been said that the current team possibly does not have the same exuberance in attack as the side that won last year's title but they have serious thirst for more glory.

They have a top class defence and endless energy levels too. It should be a fascinating clash between a school that is on a real crest of a wave, and a school that, traditionally, has always been riding high.

Damian Lawlor


Schools Ready for Croke Park Stage

posted 9 Apr 2015, 04:22 by Post Primary   [ updated 9 Apr 2015, 04:34 ]


Preview of Masita Hogan and Drummond Cup Finals







IT'S a Connacht versus Munster Hogan Cup decider this weekend after two epic semi-finals sent the students of Roscommon CBS and Kerry’s PS Chorca Dhuibhne into this eagerly awaited colleges football showpiece.

 
he reigning champions from Dingle needed extra time to overcome the challenge of Ulster champions St Pat’s Cavan, finally winning by 1-14 to 1-11. In fact, right at the end Pat’s looked like they were through to this decider when they led by a point in injury time but the holders levelled at the death and scored three unanswered points in the first period of extra time to take a 1-13 to 1-10 extra time interval lead.

 
In the other semi-final Roscommon CBS defeated Good Counsel New Ross by 0-10 to 0-8 to qualify for this final. The Connacht champions had been trailing by 0-03 to 0-01 after the first 10 minutes. Good Counsel played with the wind in the second half started the second half brightly and levelled matters right after Diarmuid Cunniffe was shown a black card for the Roscommon side. Richard Hughes and Noel Gately then restored a two point lead for the Roscommon side who had also lost some key players due to injury a this stage.

 Both sides swapped scores and Roscommon CBS eventually won a serious battle.
 
 "It's about the workrate," says joint manager Seamus Heneghan, who looks after the team with renowned GAA commentator Willie Hegarty.
 
 "People take it for granted but to keep Good Counsel from scoring goals and to see the lads tackling, running back and covering was very satisfying.
 
 "The things is our lads are success starved - the first Connacht medal they would have won only came a few weeks ago. Not a lot of them would have won much at club level on the way up and they are absolutely starving for success. That drives them. 
 
 "I wouldn't be overly happy with the goal chances we missed in the semi-final but we didn't give away any chances either and that makes up for it. They are a great team, great to work with," Heneghan said.




In attendance at the Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Hogan Cup and Drummond Cup Football Finals photocall are, from left, Jack Casey, Roscommon CBS, Sean O'Bambaire, Pobscoil Corca Dhuibhne, Dingle, Co.Kerry, Niall Lowry, St. Mary's Academy CBS, Carlow, and Keith Landy, The Abbey School, Tipperary Town. The Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Hogan Cup and Drummond Cup Football Finals take place on Saturday April 11th in Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE ***



The school has contributed a lot to football in the west and have a long history of competing in the Connacht Colleges Championship, winning senior A titles in 1940, ’41, ’42, ’48 and 1998, and senior B titles in 1951, 1997 and 2011. Most of the CBS panel come from Roscommon Gaels, Oran, St. Croans, Kilbride, St. Dominics, St. Ciarans, Fuerty, Creggs and St. Faithleachs and they are hoping that their tightly-knit side can successfully tackle the might of the Munster giants who have been taking the Hogan Cup by storm in the lats two years.
 
Several past players have been involved in intercounty managerial positions, most notably Feargal O’Donnell who captained the Roscommon senior team to the 2001 Connacht title before going on to manage the Roscommon minor team to the All Ireland title in 2006.
 
But they face by far their biggest test on Saturday, up against the team still fresh from their historic 4-in-a-row of Corn Uí Mhuirí titles, Pobal Scoil Chorca Dhuibhne. 
 
PS Chorca Dhuibhne knew they were up against it facing St Pats - Mac Rory Cup winners for the first time in 43 years and they played against very strong wind in the first half of that game which upped the stakes even more. 
 
Steely performers on the day were Sean Ó Gairbhiá, Conor Geaney and Seamus Ó Muirceartaigh, 
and like Roscommon CBS the West Kerry boys kept the momentum in the final ten minutes of their semi which saw them through to the weekend's final.
 
The Kerry side has played seven games to get to this stage and their first four were won with ease. But they showed in the Munster final against St Francis, Rochestown, that their hunger was still intact, drawing 1-10 apiece and then winning the replay 1-10- 0-10. They went to the wire again in the Hogan Cup semi and they'll probably have to go back there to win at the weekend. 
 

It won't be much different, we expect in the Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Drummond Cup (SF 'B') final between Abbey CBS and Carlow CBS.
 
Both teams were pushed to their limit in the semi-finals.
 
"We had to work extremely hard to overcome a very good Coláiste na Carraige side," said Abbey CBS manager Damian O'Brien. "Our defence was tested to the limit and they kept us in the game when Coláiste na Carraige dominated possession in the second half, only conceding two points in the entire second half, this was a major achievement against a very well coached side.

 "This allowed us to stay in the game and our players up the field showed great patience in slowly reeling in a four point deficit with 20 minutes to go. 
 
 "Our free-takers were clinical, finishing with six out of six, on what was a wild and windy day. We had to wait until injury time to lead and we had to ride our luck at stages but against very good teams at this level that's what you have to do sometimes." 
 
 They are in an All-Ireland senior football final for the 3rd time in our history. In 1998 they overcame St.Louis, Ballymena 1-13 to 0-10 in Croke Park and in 2005 they were defeated by Our Lady's, Castleblaney 1-11 to 1-9 in Parnell Park. 
 
 The Abbey have only faced Carlow opposition once before - in the 1998 semi-final the Abbey defeated Knockbeg College by 4 points. 
 
 But now they face a school with massive pedigree. Carlow CBS won the Leinster Clonard Cup in 1962 and 1983 and won the Leinster 'B' hurling final against FCJ Bunclody in 1990 when Conor Kinsella's dad, Rory was in charge of Bunclody while CBS was managed by Leo Hogan, their current principal. and the recently deceased and much loved Denis O'Grady.
 
 "Carlow CBS will be a great challenge for us in the final," O'Brien agreed. "They are an impressive outfit and play a very good brand of football. We will have to play at our best, fight hard for 60 minutes so as to be in with a shout in the closing stages."
 
The school had Tipperary and Limerick minor hurlers in the first round of the Munster Minor Hurling Championship on Wednesday 8th April as well - Eoghan McNamara (Limerick captain) and Shane Neville & Tommy Lowry (Tipperary) which only adds to the challenge facing the school. 
 
Next Wednesday (April 15) the Abbey will play Rathmore, Kerry in the Munster Post-Primary Schools Under 16.5 B football final with four of their senior starting team involved. What an exciting time for all involved.

Beforehand on Friday evening Coláiste Ghobnatán defend their Dr.O’Sullivan Cup (Senior Football ‘C’) title against Leinster champions Ardscoil Rath Íomgháin. The final takes place in McCann Park Portarlington at 7.30pm and will no doubt be a keenly contested affair.


Fixtures Details / Admission Prices





Terrific Twentieth Title for St.Kieran's

posted 6 Apr 2015, 07:28 by Post Primary   [ updated 6 Apr 2015, 07:28 ]

CPC Ballycastle Bounce Back

THEY are the greatest school that the Croke Cup has ever seen and at Thurles last Saturday St Kieran's collected a very special Masita GAA Post Primary Schools All Ireland SH 'A' title.
 
 Everyone knew they would be hard to beat and such was the case as they claimed their 20th crown. In the end they had to dig in - they prevailed by three but that lead was down to one at a stage in the second half and we were left to wonder if the home side could pull off a shock.
 
Thurles tried - and they tried hard - but it was not meant to be. Instead the 'Terrific Twenty' was achieved and Kilkenny's domination of the hurling landscape continues apace. Several veterans and legends of the game may have retired from Brian Cody's senior team this last year but there is serious talent emerging.
 
 After savouring the win, St Kieran's manager Liam Smith referred to the school's wall of fame and said the current bunch would proudly take their place there now. 
 
 "We are absolutely delighted. In St Kieran’s you’re judged by what’s up on the board and some of the boys are up there again," he said. "Some of these lads have two medals and it’s unreal. Any time I mention the wall the boys look at me and say, sir, you used to have hair back then!
 Everyone that comes in looks at that wall and the lads are up on it again.”
 
Smith's men were well decorated as it was, both with their clubs and the Kilkenny minor squad. Perhaps it was that confidence that propelled them into such a great start - they led by three points early on until Thurles hit back with a Michael Connors a 14th-minute goal.
 
St Kieran’s didn't wait long to hit back. Before the game a lot of eyes were on vice captain Liam Blanchfield who had been in tremendous scoring form and while the Thurles guys were looking after him Ray Lahart snuck in for a great goal to make a swift reply. Lahart finished with 1-5 in a top class display. 

 
 It left them 1-10 to 1-7 clear at the break and the majority of 3,642 spectators felt the holders were on their way. 
 
 But Thurles came out with all guns blazing and points from Jack Skehan and Niall Heffernan reduced the deficit. 
 
 "We showed great character to hit four unanswered points," Smith said. "And at that stage it drove us on. We missed a few more chances but thankfully we got over the line."
 
 Indeed they missed six shots on goal and Kieran's, inspired by Bennettsbridge man Seán Morrissey who played with a broken finger, hit his team's last point. Thurles were left in despair after a gallant effort came up just short. 
 
 Kieran's deserved this - they had been given a brief scare against Presentation College Athenry in the semi-final but came good late on again. Morrissey and Blanchfield were leaders throughout - both already had medals in their pocket this season after starring for Bennettsbridge in the All-Ireland Junior Club Hurling Final. What a season this is turning out to be for them.
 
 This game was a serious advertisement for schools hurling, and once again the famed Kilkenny academy end up top of the pile. In time they will look back at a superb first half where, despite conceding an  early goal, they led by three points at the interval.
 
After establishing that foothold the black and white hoops were not to be denied.
 
Meanwhile, as many people expected, Cross and Passion, Ballycastle, losing finalists last year, came good this time around when they landed the Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Paddy Buggy Cup. The Antrim team can thank Shane McGrath who hit 1-2 in the second half to topple Mountrath CS. It was an absolutely cracking game with the teams level on eight occasions.
 
 McGrath’s 55th minute goal was the turning point. Mountrath never gave up, however, and Dylan Conroy scored a consolation goal in the final minute.
 
They had another goal disallowed in stoppage time for a square ball but they largely depended on twin brothers Stephen and Aaron Dunphy who scored six of their points in the first half.


 The Antrim lads, spurred on by the  devastating loss of last year, were totally deserving winners.
 
"We are in the heart of North Antrim and we have been the most successful school in the area winning numerous 'A' colleges titles at all levels in Ulster – Thompson, McNamee, Gallagher and Forresters Cups," says Joe Cassidy of the college. "We have been a real hurling nursery to Antrim over the years supplying many greats such as all- stars Paul McKillen and OlcanMcFetridge and hopefully now this will continue."

All Roads Lead to Semple

posted 31 Mar 2015, 11:19 by Post Primary


All Roads Lead to Semple



Ronan Teehan, captain, Thurles CBS, left, and Liam Blanchfield, vice-captain, St Kieran's College, Kilkenny, pictured ahead of the Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Croke Cup Final which will take place between Thurles CBS, Tipperary, and St. Kieran's College, Kilkenny, in Semple Stadium, Thurles, at 5pm on Saturday. Semple Stadium, Thurles, Co. Tipperary. Picture Credit Sportsfile



THREE days after they won the Harty Cup, the players of Thurles CBS were met at the entrance to the school building and led in by a lone piper.

 
 That practice is a long-standing tradition there and both the management and squad enjoyed it. After that the players regrouped and brought the cup to the local primary schools where the young hurlers of tomorrow go to touch a piece of history. 
 
 But after they came back to their own school a line was firmly drawn under that achievement and when they came back to their first training session following that final the manager Niall Cahill and his two selectors, Martin Maher and John Devane, were thrilled to see that the hunger was just as strong as ever within the squad. Maybe even stronger.
 
The disappointment of 2014 still lingers for the school and some of the players who were involved back then. They lost out at the Harty quarter-final stage last year and it was a huge blow to a team that fancied its chances of winning. But most of that team are still around, a year older, studying for their Leaving Cert exams and they want to reap as much out of what is left of their school days. That means going all out on Saturday in Semple Stadium to try and take down the standard bearers of the Croke Cup competition, St Kieran's who have won a staggering 19 titles.
 
When you compare that trophy tally with Thurles CBS there should only be one winner on Saturday- certainly if traditional values are to play a role in the destiny of this year's final.
 
 After all Thurles only secured the Croke Cup at the first attempt in 2009, and they have since failed to return to the winners podium. So, even though they emerged from a victorious Harty Cup campaign, and while the year is already deemed a success, the Thurles men want another piece of silverware.
 
 In a recent interview their manager Niall Cahill, from the Nenagh Eire Og club, recalled that when they won the 2009 Harty Cup in 2009, the team subsequently never looked back and went all the way in the All-Ireland series. That, Cahill pointed out, has set the bar for future Thurles teams.
 
 It's the right outlook. 
 
For if you're going on tradition Thurles need not even show up in Semple Stadium. 
 
After all, the current St Kieran's side has been doing what so many teams of the past have done - blazing a trail. This season they have been averaging about 1-16 per game, a great tally considering the poor weather conditions that games have been played in. And they have a slain a string of opponents en route to this decider having beaten Kilkenny CBS, Good Counsel, St Peters and then, in the semi-final, enjoying a thrilling win against Presentation Athenry. They deserve to be back in another final.
 
They have nine players starting from last year's team and their captain, Sean Morrissey, won a junior club All Ireland medal with Bennettsbridge recently so they will have huge leadership to drive them on. They also have eight of last year's Kilkenny minor winning panel to call upon with two more county minors missing with cruciate injuries.
 
It will take all the combined efforts of a fine young Thurles CBS team and a steely management trio of Cahill, Maher and Devane to thwart the Kilkenny school in a bid for the 'Terrific Twenty'.
 From players like Niall Heffernan and Robbie Long to Ronan Heffernan, the Thurles side have plenty of quality to call upon.
 
Make no mistake, this is Kilkenny against Tipperary and the Thurles camp won't be one bit daunted about being underdogs. In fact they will relish fighting against the odds.
 
"The lads trained over Christmas, they trained mid-term, if you asked them to train in the middle of the night, they'd come in," said Niall Cahill.
 
"Their parents would bring them in and back them to the hilt. We couldn't thank the parents enough for the effort they've made.
 
"They were just so, so good all year. And they deserve it. They worked so hard. There was a huge crowd of Thurles people at the Roschestown match and they just live for it. They live for the competition."
 
With a united panel of over 40 players there is a feeling that they can cause a shock at the weekend. But it would be a massive coup. 
 


The famous Croke Cup Trophy - Picture Credit Sportsfile



St Kieran's don't have many weaknesses. They never do.
 
Meanwhile, the Buggy Cup final promises to be every bit as thrilling as the Croke Cup finale.
 
Cross and Passion Ballycastle enjoyed a thrilling, narrow win against St Joseph's Tulla to reach a second final in succession. The Passion won its first Ulster Colleges Mageean title in 1978 and since then have collected seven senior colleges titles in Ulster. 
 
Most prominent from that era was the 2009 & 2010 group who went onto win back to back all Ireland/ Colleges 'B' titles and then backboned the Antrim U-21 team that reached last years All Ireland final. 
 
Lying deep in the heart of North Antrim The Passion has been the most successful school in the area winning numerous 'A' colleges titles at all levels in Ulster – Thompson, McNamee, Gallagher and Forresters Cup and have been a real hurling nursery to Antrim over the years supplying many greats such as All Stars Paul McKillen and Olcan McFetridge.
 
Their team is managed by Joe Cassidy (former Derry & Bellaghy footballer) and coached by Loughgiel star and Ulster Club hurler of Year for past two seasons Eddie McCloskey and Oran Kearney (Coleraine FC manager).
 
They are a fine outfit and will push very hard today. But they face a big task - on the other Buggy Cup semi-final, Mountrath CS from Laois swamped St Calasantus College, Oranmore by 3-22 to 1-9 to mark themselves down as favourites for today's decider.
 
The Mountrath school has already hit sporting highs in camogie and table tennis this year and with Conor Hiney, in particular, in fine scoring form, with a deadly eye for goal, they will be confident of claiming this competition.
 
Not that the underdog status will affect The Passion in the slightest.

Croke Cup Quarter-Finals & O'Sullivan Cup Semi-Finals Previews

posted 13 Mar 2015, 10:36 by Post Primary

When It comes to the Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools competitions, the Croke Cup (SH 'A') is right up there at the top of the bill.

This weekend the quarter-finals of that Cup are down for decision. At Fraher Field, Dungarvan at 2pm on Saturday, the famed St Kieran’s College of Kilkenny will take on this year's success story in Post Primary games -  St Francis College, Rochestown.
 
For most of the academic year, St Francis have been chasing honours in both hurling and football, and only last weekend were defeated by Corca Dhuibhne in the Corn Ui Mhuiri. Just before that they were defeated by Thurles CBS in the Harty Cup decider.So heartbreak all around, but the prospect of facing the giants of the senior hurling 'A' competition will surely galvanise them again.

It has also been a busy spring for Kieran's, though they have taken all three games in their stride.

 "In the championship so far we have played Kilkenny CBS ( they won 1-14 -2-3), Good Counsel  (they won 1-18 -0-5) and St Peter's in the Leinster final which they won 1-14. 1-6," says team mentor Liam Smith.
 
 "We have nine lads starting from last year's team and that brings a bit of experience. Our captain is Sean Morrissey from Bennetsbridge who recently won a junior club All Ireland title so it's been a great year for him so far. We have 10 lads from the Kilkenny minor winning panel of last year but two of them are out with cruciate injuries."
 

They will be tested against Rochestown who have battled so gamely all season and deserve more for their toil and won't want to drop out of the hurling fare without a right battle.
 
Like most schools there have been a lot of good people involved in the progression of the Cork school, like Liam O Murchú with the football side of things, and Denis McDonnell, who re-started hurling in the school just over 10 years ago.

From there, other staff members have really dug in to develop both codes and it's those staff members and the players who are still driving the momentum as there are no outside coaches. It was a long and arduous route to get to where they are now. Only thirteen years ago they managed to string enough players together to take part in a Cork Colleges C competition.
 
By 2008 they were playing at 'B' level and gathered silverware at U14 level.
 
Progression continued the following year when they played in the 'A' grade. With numbers swelling around the Rochestown,Passage, Carrigaline, Shamrocks, Tracton, Nemo Rangers, Ballygarvan and Douglas areas, the school's population has swollen in tandem, helping them reach both those Harty and the Corn Uí Mhuirí deciders.
 
To get through that hectic schedule they went from game to game  – football one week, then hurling. 
 
The other quarter-final of the weekend will also be played on Saturday at Ashbourne, again at 2pm, with this one between St.Peter’s College of Wexford and St Brigid’s Vocational School, Loughrea  
 
St. Peter's College advanced to their first Leinster Senior hurling 'A' championship final appearance since 2004 when they saw off the persistent challenge of surprise packets Borris Vocational College by 2-18 to 0-15 but they were defeated by Kieran's in the provincial final.
 
 Still, they will be hoping to bounce back to winning ways and players like Matthew Joyce, Joe O'Connor, the classy Billy Dunne and Jack Pettit are all capable of shooting the lights out on any given day. Also capable of inspiring the side are John Lee Meyler, Rowan White, Conor Hearne, Jake Firman and Rory O'Connor. Their clash with St Brigid's will be just as tight as the other quarter-final.
 
There is also football action on the Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools programme this weekend with the semi-finals of the Dr.O’Sullivan Cup (SF 'C') taking place.
 
Ardscoil Rath Iomgháin beat Confey College in the Leinster final by 2-17 - 2-6 and now take on Our Lady’s Secondary School, Belmullet.
 
 "We have a proud tradition," says teacher and coach John O'Reilly. "Our players are taken from four different GAA clubs in the Erris area; Kiltane, Belmullet, Cill Chomain and Ballycroy. 
 
 "Chris Barrett is a past pupil of our school who is a current member of Mayo Senior team and ex Mayo Minor Tommy ‘Goals’ Conroy graduated just last year. 
 
 "Indeed, Our Lady’s had no fewer than three players on last year’s Mayo Minor team; Gary Boylan, Eoin O’ Donoghue and Mikey Barrett. 
 
 "Last year, the senior gaelic football team created history by capturing the school’s first national crown, when they defeated Crossmaglen Community College. There are eleven of that All-Ireland wining team, in the current starting fifteen.  
 
 "We have beaten some stiff opposition on their way to this All-Ireland semi-final," O'Reilly said.  Our Lady’s accounted for both Gortnor Abbey Secondary School and Davitt College in the group stages. Then Dunmore Community College and Balla Community College. In the semi-final, we produced a great performance to again defeat Davitt College, Castlebar, on a score line of 5-09 to 0-03 before overcoming Colaiste Iognaid in the Connacht final, following a gruelling extra-time battle.
 
 "The current group of players are unbeaten in championship football for over two years, but today’s match represents a step-up in class."
 
It certainly does. Meanwhile in the other semi-final Coláiste Ghobnatan, Baile Mhic Íre, who have a very special place in this competition, take on St.Louis Grammar School Kilkeel, the former school of Down star Marty Clarke.
 
We'll have all the reaction to those games early next week when we round up another hectic series of the Masita GAA Post-Primary Championships.

 

14-03-2015 (Sat)

Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Croke Cup (SH 'A')

Quarter-Finals

Fraher Field,

Dungarvan

14:00

St.Kieran’s College, Kilkenny

 

V

 

St.Francis College, Rochestown

 

Referee:  James Owens

Ashbourne

(Meath)

14:00

St.Peter’s College, Wexford

 

V

 

St. Brigid’s Vocational School, Loughrea

 

Referee:  Brian Gavin

Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Dr.O’Sullivan Cup (SF 'C')

Semi-Finals

Elphin

(Roscommon)

14:00

Ardscoil Rath Iomgháin

 

V

 

Our Lady’s Secondary School, Belmullet

 

Referee:  Paddy Neilan

 

Round Towers

(Kildare Town)

14:30

Coláiste Ghobnatan, Baile Mhic Íre

 

V

 

St.Louis Grammar School Kilkeel

 

Referee:  Brendan Cawley

 

Roscrea & Kilmacthomas Book Cusack Cup Final Places

posted 9 Mar 2015, 14:06 by Post Primary   [ updated 9 Mar 2015, 14:11 ]



Last weekend saw the curtain unveiled on the Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary series and any of the crowds that attended the four opening games were left on their feet, applauding and looking for more. Never mind the novel pairings; the drama and sheer excitement was enough to keep attendances enthralled in all instances.

Saturday was a hectic day. It saw the eagerly awaited Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Cusack Cup (SH 'C') semi-finals take place.

The game of the day was at Ballinasloe where Ballyhaunis Community School took on Cistercian College Roscrea (CCR) with the Tipperary side coming out on top by just three points after a wholly spirited display from the Mayo CS.  If Mayo hurling wants to continue its progression the officials at the helm should certainly harness this fine bunch of youngsters coming through this Post Primary School.

To anyone well versed in schools hurling, that there was but a few points separating the sides is no shock as Ballyhaunis, who scored 2-6 compared to their opponents tally of 0-15. This was no massive surprise because the currency of hurling in the east Mayo strongholds of Ballyhaunis and Tooreen is so strong these days.

And their worth really came to the surface with this school team. Sure, getting to this stage of the competition was uncharted waters for them but they did all involved proud with a lovely brand of hurling and no little flair either. 

In fairness, the task ahead of them was quite difficult, playing against an experienced Roscrea team just seven days after winning their first Connacht Post Primary Schools Hurling title.

Whilst tradition was against them yet again they certainly didn't let that get hold the team back as they took on the Leinster (CCR take part in the eastern provincial fare) side right from the start. With four successful outings from the Connacht Senior series behind them, in which they accounted for four Galway teams, including St Enda’s, New Inn, Ballygar and Woodford, they had nothing but confidence in themselves. And rightly so.

However, the side, trained by Ray Woolley, Nick Freyne, Jonathan Griffin, and David Freyne came up just short in this the latest stage of their development.

They continued their record of goalscoring but in the end the fluency and stability of the Roscrea side was enough to see them through.

Like their opponents, CCR came through a tough path to the semi-final - and now final - and their director of sport Brendan McKeogh reckons that stood to them.

"We went into the All-Ireland semi final after a hard fought North Leinster final win over Killina, a tough Leinster semi final outing against Carnew and then a comfortable victory over Scoil Catriona in the Leinster Final. 

"The team has a strong spine with Ben Hyland (Tipperary), Martin Phelan (Laois), Jack Canning (Portumna - and nephew of Joe) and Alan Tynan (Tipperary) to the fore. All of these lads are hoping to play for their respective counties over the summer months. 

"It's been a bust time for the school - Alan Tynan is also a Leinster U-18 Rugby rep and Tipperary Footballer." 

While the school is currently excelling with the oval ball too their galaxy of star studded former intercounty players will now have an All-Ireland final to look forward to.  In last week's preview we mentioned that their past pupils included John and Paddy O Brien and Stephen Lucey but Hugh Moloney, Austin Murphy, Conor and John Phelan (Kilkenny) Redmond Barry (Wexford), Tom Delaney (Laois) and Peter O Brien (Cork) all attended the school and could be back to see them in final action.

In that game they will play St Declans Kilmacthomas who overcame St Louis Grammar School Ballymena on a scorline of 1-17 to 1-12 after extra time in Ashborune. It should be a very tight decider. 

Saint Declan’s CC largely pick from clubs in the middle of Waterford and their path to the All-Ireland final had been pretty clear and untaxing prior to Saturday.

In the group stages of the provincial Championship, they were drawn in Group E along with just one other side, their next door neighbours – Carrick-on-Suir CBS.

Twenty one teams were entered into the championship, split into five groups of three and three groups of two, with two teams advancing from each group to the second round of games and ultimately St Declan's have emerged to this stage of the competition through fine displays from players like Eoin Bray and Jamie Murphy.

There were two other finals spots up for grabs at the weekend and that was in the the Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Rice Cup (SF 'D').

Ballingarry Presentation Secondary, who managed a whopping 3-13 , were still pushed all the way by NRC Magherafelt who scored 2-12 in Trim. Again extra-time was required to separate the two sides.

Many had fancied Magherafelt who have top class people like Kevin McSorley and Gary Mallon in and around the set-up but while they showed plenty of heart they fell just short after a titanic battle to a brilliant Ballingarry side. 

Meanwhile in the Connacht GAA Centre on Sunday, Ballymahon VS comfortably saw off the challenge of Sancta Maria College, Louisburgh with a comprehensive nine point victory.

What more could one ask for on the opening weekend of the All-Ireland series. It sets up us nicely for the remainder of the competitions with further enthralling encounters to come over the next month.

 

 


 

07-03-2015 (Sat)

Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Cusack Cup (SH 'C')

Semi-Finals

Ballinasloe

14:00

Ballyhaunis Community School

2-6

V

0-15

Roscrea Cistercian College

 

Referee:  Damian Fox

Ashbourne

14:00

St Declans Kilmacthomas

1-17

V

1-12

St Louis Grammar School Ballymena

 

(AET)

Referee:  Kevin Brady

Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Rice Cup (SF 'D')

Semi-Finals

Trim

14:00

Ballingarry Presentation Secondary

3-13

V

2-12

Magherafelt NRC

 

(AET)

Referee:  Noel Mc Kenna

08-03-2015 (Sun)

Connacht GAA Centre

14:00

Ballymahon Vocational School

     1-08

V

0-02

Sancta Maria Louisburgh

 

 

Referee:  Marty Parker

 

 

 

 

Novel Pairings to Begin Masita Championships

posted 4 Mar 2015, 11:40 by Post Primary   [ updated 6 Mar 2015, 02:54 ]



Novel Pairings to Begin Masita Championships
(Scroll to bottom of page for match programmes)

WITH the provincial honours all but decided and spring in its infancy, the Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools series once more swings back into town this weekend.

And in the SH 'C' championship there's certainly a novel fixture to begin with. 

CC Roscrea have made huge waves in schools rugby of late but they are also just one step away from reaching the Cusack Cup final.

Whilst renowned for their rugby prowess, the Tipperary college has produced some incredible hurlers over the years like Limerick's Stephen Lucey and Tipp trio John O'Brien, Paddy O'Brien and Seamus Hennessy.So even if they are better known for their success with the oval ball, they have also had a plethora of All-Ireland winners on their books. 

Their opponents on Saturday, meanwhile, Ballyhaunis CS, are also better known  for proficiency in another code - this time Gaelic football."Still, in this small corner of South-East Mayo you are just as likely to see young boys and girls with hurleys in their hands as the distinctive O’Neills football," says their team manager and PE teacher Raymond Woolley.The school was founded in 1977 and has a proud tradition of Gaelic Games. Connacht Football titles have been captured at all levels but unfortunately All-Ireland titles have remained elusive with them coming closest in 2002 when defeated in the All-Ireland final by Moyne Community School. 

By the way, one of the stars of that team was none other than Keith Higgins, Mayo’s first three in a row All Star recipient. The school recently landed its first senior title with players from feeder clubs Tooreen & Ballyhaunis gelling successfully into a very cohesive unit to come through a victorious Connacht campaign. 

"The Connacht final win over Woodford was a very proud day in the school’s history and was the first hurling title annexed by a Mayo school since 1985," adds Woolley.

Man of the Match that afternoon was Sean Kenny, whose older brother David is also a dual player for club and county and won the same accolade when Mayo captured the All Ireland Minor Football Title in 2013. 

"Tooreen clubman Nicholas Freyne is our team coach and has spent many hours on the training pitch honing the skills of this talented squad," Woolley continues. 
"Whatever the outcome the team has done the school proud but something tells me these boys aren’t finished yet."

Roscrea won't take them for granted anyway in this clash which is fixed for Ballinasloe at 2pm. The school is determined to write another chapter in their history annals which have been filled from time to time since the 1970s.

"Hurling in Cistercian College really took off in that time with the arrival of Hugh McDonnell who was to coach the senior team for the next thirty six years," says CCR Director of Sport Brendan McKeogh."The big breakthrough came in 1986 and 1987 when Hugh’s senior teams won Leinster “B” titles.  In 1986 we lost the All Ireland final by a point to Nenagh CBS, while in 1987 St. Patrick’s, Shannon defeated us, so the heritage is strong."The college again claimed the Leinster “B”  title in 1997 with and finally won an All Ireland title in 2000."Considering the small numbers playing the game we have pushed above our weight over the last forty years," McKeogh says.  
"Hurling is in safe hands now with the commitment of and enthusiasm of Mark Carey, Roger Quigley and Aidan Franks."

It promises to be a cracking game, as does the meeting of St Declans Kilmacthomas and St Louis Grammar School Ballymena in the other semi-final at Ashbourne.
 
There will also be huge interest in the Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Rice Cup (SF 'D') Semi-Finals at Trim. The clash between Ballingarry Presentation Secondary and Magherafelt NRC takes pride of place.

"The majority of the squad come from our Derry GAA Academy which has been running for threee years," explains joint manager Kevin McSorley who oversees the side with Paul McMenemy.
 
"The GAA BTEC Level 3 course is a blend of academic and practical based assessments geared specifically for those with a sport career path or GAA in mind. In the past we have had Derry under 21 and senior national league finalists Ciaran McFall and Ryan Bell come through the academy. "We boast county minor standard players every year and this season have hot shots Fintan McGurk of Swatragh Michael Davitts and Tiernan Flangan of Glen Watty Graham's.Our players are keen to keep their success story running and look forward to a tough game against Ballingarry," McSorley, a native of Newtownstewart in Tyrone said. 

On the other side of the draw, Sancta Muire Louisburgh take on Ballymahon Vocational School.

So, four semi-finals on the cards and places in the respective deciders up for grabs. Novel pairings all around and plenty of excitement expected - what a way to begin the Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary series. 
 

 

This Weekends Fixtures

07-03-2015 (Sat)

Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Cusack Cup (SH 'C')

Semi-Finals

Ballinasloe

14:00

Ballyhaunis Community School

 

V

 

Roscrea Cistercian College

 

Referee:  Damian Fox

Ashbourne

14:00

St Declans Kilmacthomas

 

V

 

St Louis Grammar School Ballymena

 

Referee:  Kevin Brady

Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Rice Cup (SF 'D')

Semi-Finals

Trim

14:00

Ballingarry Presentation Secondary

 

V

 

Magherafelt NRC

 

Referee:  Noel Mc Kenna

08-03-2015 (Sun)

Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Rice Cup (SF 'D')

Semi-Finals

Connacht GAA Centre

14:00

Sancta Muire Louisburgh

 

V

 

Ballymahon Vocational School

 

Referee:  Marty Parker

 

Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Poc Fada 2015

posted 17 Dec 2014, 08:22 by Post Primary   [ updated 17 Dec 2014, 09:01 ]



Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Poc Fada 2015

 

What is the distance of your longest Poc?

 

Follow in the footsteps of Cú Chulainn!

 

Represent your school, county and province in Semple Stadium, Thurles at half-time of the Masita All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Finals!

 

The Mastia All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Poc Fada champion will represent Comhairle Iarbhunscoileanna at the Martin Donnelly U-16 All-Ireland Poc Fada on the Cooley Mountains (Louth) in August 2015.

 

Ask your teacher/coach to register your school today!


Click here for a poster template to promote your Post Primary School's qualifier.


Prizes for County, Provincial and All-Ireland Winners.

 


Format 

One participant to qualify from each participating school to proceed to County/Regional final.


Registered schools will be requested to hold their qualifier and notify of their winner by Friday February 13th.


Winners details from each school will be sent from Croke Park to Provinces.


Each Province to decide if Regional/County Competitions more suitable for qualifiers from schools.


Each Province to appoint Regional/County co-ordinators to arrange county event to be completed by Friday February 28th


Each province to coordinate provincial final to be hosted at Half-Time in Post Primary ‘A’ Final.


One winner from each province to proceed to All-Ireland Final to take place at Half-Time in ‘A’ Final in Thurles.


Winner of All-Ireland will receive prize of accommodation, travel expenses & entry for winner and family to All-Ireland u-16 Poc Fada Competition in Louth in August 2015.


Further prizes for County and Provincial Winners.



Rules


>Participants must be Male Bone Fide Second Level Students attending a County or Provincial Post Primary Committee affiliated Post Primary School..


>Participants must be born on or after 1st of January 1999. 


>Post Primary Schools must register their internal competition by Friday January 30th via the online form (link available from your Provincial Post Primary secretary. 


>Post Primary Schools may host their qualifier in either of the following formats:

                1.Simple format – 3 pucks per participant to be struck by an appointed line – the furthest puck                                                  qualifies to win.

                2. Schools may adopt a longer format on a course if desired. 






For further information or if you have any queries please e-mail gearoid.devitt@gaa.ie

 


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