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Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Championships Previews 09.03.13

posted 6 Mar 2013, 04:37 by Unknown user

Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Championships Previews 09.03.13


Laois giants Heywood play the role of clear underdog when they meet Dungarvan CBS in the Masita All-Ireland ‘B’ Post-Primary Schools senior semi-final on Saturday.

The Ballinakill-based school boast nine Laois minors in their set-up but still pundits feel they will be up against it when they meet Dungarvan in an eagerly awaited last four clash at Dr Cullen Park this weekend. The Waterford-based side has 10 players on the combined Dungarvan Colleges team which recently won the Dr Harty Cup and is currently flying high in the ‘A’ section of the All-Ireland series.

Still, Donnacha O Siochain, who has trained the Heywood side for the past four years, is hugely optimistic that his men will put on a show for their supporters.

“We have huge respect for Dungarvan, but no fear,” he stated. “They have a number of players from the combined Dungarvan colleges side and personally I don’t think it’s right that a player could win ‘A’ and ‘B’ schools medals in the same year. But that’s the system at the moment and we just have to get on with it.

“I have every confidence in my team,” he insisted. “We have one or two leaders in every line of the field and we’re strong down the middle as well. We have come up together from under 12 level and I know for a fact that these fellows will die for each other.”

Heywood began their preparations for this completion last September and spent much of the winter tuning up on a purpose built all-weather floodlit pitch. They opened their campaign with a loss to Gorey but came through the back door to beat Gorey at the second time of asking when they met again in the Leinster final. They have seven games played to-date and Dubliner O Siochain says that the experience of the last two years when they only lost back to back provincial titles by a combined total of only five points will stand to them,

 “This has been a coming team and standards are definitely being raised in Laois hurling,” the manager says. “Gorey were by far the best team we played and it was great to get a win against them second time around. Looking down the line to the first years, our school teams are still in the ‘B’ section but I can see all that changing. There is huge work going on.”

Heywood will look to key players like goalkeeper Enda Rowland and top defender Ronan Broderick for inspiration. Their full forward, Dave Kelly, comes from Ballyragget in Kilkenny and his brother Kevin captained the Kilkenny Under 21 team last year. Tactically, they’ll look to retreat their half back-line to create space in attack for a fluid looking forward line.

“We’ve been knocking on the door for a while,” says the manager, who is joined at the helm by school principal Phil Wade and Mick Lacey. “We’ll be giving it everything we have.”

The other semi-final is also expected to be close with St. Raphael’s College of Loughrea meeting last year’s All-Ireland champions  St.Mary’s CBGS, Belfast. Last season’s St Mary’s win secured the return of the O’Keeffe Cup to the school after a 38-year gap and they won’t be too keen to depart with it so soon. The northern side also has a number of players competing in the ‘A’ section with Ulster Colleges and they will prove formidable opponents for St Raphaels. The sides meet in Ashbourne at 2pm.

It’s also a busy weekend in schools football with the senior football ‘C’ semi-finals taking place between St Augustine’s College, Dungarvan, alma mater of top Waterford footballer Gary Hurney, and Ardee Community School. Meanwhile, the other semi-final sees St.Mary’s Strokestown take on Donaghmore, St. Josephs Covent at Brewster Park. St Joseph’s narrowly won the Ulster title last Monday with Colm Loughran shooting the winning point.

In the Masita All-Ireland vocational schools junior hurling semi-final, Causeway Comprehensive meet Coláiste Mhuire of Johnstown. Kerry’s Causeway won the Munster title by defeating Coachford Community School, Cork; their fifth year in-a-row winning the title.

They have a well-established backroom including trainer Maurice Leahy, who managed the Kerry senior hurlers, selectors JJ Delaney, Tadhg Flynn and Willie Dowling.

In recent times these young hurlers from North of the Kingdom have turned tradition on its head by out-classing opponents from strong hurling counties. With a purpose built hurling wall and training area they have refined their preparations over the winter ahead of this meeting with Colaiste Mhuire who beat St Fergal’s Rathdowney by 2-9 0 - 0-13 last time out.

Full details of this week's fixtures: