Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Update – Preview of Fixtures on 16.03.13
WITH five Munster titles in a row under their belts Causeway Comprehensive approach the All-Ireland Vocational Schools Junior Hurling Final against Gairmscoil Mhuire, Athenry, with huge confidence.
Causeway enjoyed a hard-earned win over Coláiste Mhuire of Johnstown, Kilkenny, in the semi-final but team selector Tadhg Flynn hopes that endurance test will stand to his side in Saturday's final.
“Any day you beat a Kilkenny team is a good day,” he noted. “And we earned it – the game was nip and tuck until the end when they needed a goal to get a result but we held firm,” he recalled.
This season has been another promising one for the North Kerry school. In defeating Coachford Community School, Cork, they landed their fifth provincial title on the trot. It’s a production line that doesn’t seem to be halting anytime soon.
“There are 610 students in the school and hurling is our main game,” Flynn says. “You can clearly tell that a lot of the players really want to make the team because they know there is a good chance of winning cups and medals. A lot of them have also had brothers who have played with the school in the past so there’s a bit of tradition coming into it now as well. That’s all good. We’re fielding good, strong teams from under 12 up and we have the makings of two teams at Under 15 level.”
They also have a well-established backroom. Apart from Flynn, highly-regarded trainer Maurice Leahy, who once managed the Kerry senior hurlers is involved, as are selectors JJ Delaney and Willie Dowling.
“The final will be another big challenge for these lads,” Flynn says. “But we have a very strong team with a good work ethic. Our free-taker Brandon Barrett is very accurate and we have some great players like Jack Goulding. Many of the team is still underage from last year but we don’t know much about Gairmscoil Mhuire so we’ll be very wary of them.”
Win or lose, though, Causeway’s success gives much hope to the future of Kerry hurling. In recent years these young hurlers from North Kerry have turned tradition on its head by regularly out-classing opponents from strong hurling counties. Progress hasn't come by chance - they built a hurling wall in 2009 with an adjacent training area where they have worked exceptionally hard in the past few months.
Last year, they were beaten at All-Ireland final stage by St Brigid’s, Loughrea, but have no complaints about that result.
“They were the better side,” Flynn recalls. “I think we did well to get to the final because we had a very young team.”
Flynn is spot on - eight of their starting fifteen is underage again this year as are five of last year’s substitutes, so that's 13 players in total available from last season.
Many of the squad come from the surrounding hurling heartlands of Ballyheigue, Ballyduff and Lixnaw but they also draw players in from Ardfert and beyond.
“As I say hurling is a way of life down here; a real passion. And if we could bring an All-Ireland title back it would be superb,” Flynn concluded.
At senior level there is no doubting where the attention will focus upon this weekend with the meeting of St Kieran’s College, Kilkenny and Our Lady’s Secondary School, Templemore, grabbing pride of place on the Masita Post Primary calendar. The teams will meet in Johnstown at 12.45 on Saturday in what should be a classic encounter.
Templemore will be looking to shadow Nenagh CBS's achievements of last year’s - they lost the Harty Cup final only to later land the All-Ireland title. After losing to Dungarvan Colleges by 10 points, confidence will be low but in Colin O’Riordan and John McGrath they boast two top drawer hurlers.
Our Lady’s had not won the Harty Cup for 35 years so it remains to see if they can bounce back from that disappointment of losing to the Waterford side. St Kieran’s themselves will be hoping to bounce back off the ropes after Kilkenny CBS denied them a fourth successive provincial title at Nowlan Park recently.
CBS are in a great vein of form at the moment but the displays of Stephen Farrell, Chris Bolger and Vincent Teehan suggest there is more left in ‘Kieran’s tank. Farrell’s ball winning ability could be crucial.
There is another massive game among the senior fixture list this weekend as Mercy Colleges, Galway take on Ulster Colleges who are represented by 14 different schools and led by devout coaches like Mickey McCullogh. The Ulster team has trained diligently and used every resource at their disposal, including GPS tracking devices and high-intensity challenge games to prepare for this quarter-final. They are a good side and with three members of 'B' specialists St Mary’s CBGS on their books the clash with the Galway side should be an absolute cracker.
PLAYER TO LOOK OUT FOR THIS WEEKEND
Colin O’Riordan – Our Lady’s Templemore
While John McGrath is considered the Templemore side’s most gifted talent, his fellow midfielder O’Riordan is another huge prospect. A top young footballer, the dual star has already carved out a growing reputation as a hurler in recent times. His attitude, leadership and commitment are traits that any manager would wish for.
THE NUMBERS GAME
17 – the number of All-Ireland senior titles that St Kieran’s have won.