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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)




Good Counsel College New Ross




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