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.