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Good Counsel Retain McGirr Cup in Thriller
All-Ireland Post Primary Schools McGirr Cup (Junior Football)
Good Counsel College New Ross
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
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
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.
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
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.
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,
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
GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools McGirr Cup (Junior Football)
Counsel College New Ross
St Brendan’s College Killarney
Sometimes tradition can
ruthlessly scupper the most exciting of journeys.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
further goals from Mark Harnett and a Donnachadh O'Sullivan effort in the
second half completed a 36 point annihilation.
set them up nicely for next Tuesday's prestigious final but they will have long
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.
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."
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.
so they kept their Dublin opponents to just a solitary injury time point as
they romped home to a six-point win.
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.
once more meant that silverware in the south-east has been dominated by the New
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
"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.
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
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
"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.
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."
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.
have only faced Carlow opposition once before - in the 1998 semi-final the
Abbey defeated Knockbeg College by 4 points.
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
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
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
Fixtures Details / Admission Prices
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.
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.”
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.
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.
establishing that foothold the black and white hoops were not to be denied.
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.
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
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
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
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 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
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
The famous Croke Cup Trophy - Picture Credit Sportsfile
St Kieran's don't have many weaknesses. They
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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,
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
"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.
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
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
Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Croke
Cup (SH 'A')
St.Kieran’s College, Kilkenny
Referee: James Owens
St.Peter’s College, Wexford
Vocational School, Loughrea
Referee: Brian Gavin
Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools
Dr.O’Sullivan Cup (SF 'C')
Ardscoil Rath Iomgháin
Secondary School, Belmullet
Coláiste Ghobnatan, Baile Mhic Íre
Grammar School Kilkeel
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
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
All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Cusack Cup (SH 'C')
Ballyhaunis Community School
Referee: Damian Fox
St Declans Kilmacthomas
Louis Grammar School Ballymena
Referee: Kevin Brady
All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Rice Cup (SF 'D')
Referee: Noel Mc Kenna
Connacht GAA Centre
Ballymahon Vocational School
Referee: Marty Parker
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
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
"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
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
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
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
This Weekends Fixtures
Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools
Cusack Cup (SH 'C')
Ballyhaunis Community School
Referee: Damian Fox
St Declans Kilmacthomas
Grammar School Ballymena
Referee: Kevin Brady
Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Rice
Cup (SF 'D')
Ballingarry Presentation Secondary
Referee: Noel Mc Kenna
Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Rice
Cup (SF 'D')
Connacht GAA Centre
Sancta Muire Louisburgh
Referee: Marty Parker
All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Poc Fada 2015
What is the distance of your longest
Follow in the footsteps of Cú
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
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
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.
>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 firstname.lastname@example.org