Jason Flynn was influential as Mercy Colleges came from behind to overcome Ulster Colleges (Picture: Rafael Gatt)
Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Update
Review of Fixtures on 16.03.13
ST PAT’S,Maghera, may have landed the MacRory Cup and dominated the weekend’s headlines but just below the radar there were plenty other moments of intense drama and excitement in the Masita GAA All-Ireland Post-Primary championships.
St Kieran’s had a resounding win over Our Lady’s Templemore in the Colleges Senior hurling ‘A’ quarter-final while there was serious intensity displayed in the other quarter-final between Mercy Colleges, Galway, and Ulster Colleges with a late point securing a win for the Galway outfit.
Meanwhile, in an epic junior VS hurling final, Athenry VS enjoyed a thrilling, a hard-fought 2-14 -1-16 win over Causeway CS at the Gaelic Grounds following extra time. The win made it an extra special weekend for Galway hurling as St Thomas’ landed the All-Ireland club title. Interestingly, many of the starting St Thomas’ team studied at Athenry VS.
“I think the only three lads that didn’t come to Athenry VS were the two Cooney’s and James Regan,” says the school’s well-known coach and trainer Bosco Hurney.
“So it’s been a huge weekend for us at the school. Firstly, I want to acknowledge Causeway. What a game they gave us. I told the boys in the dressing room that it was one of the hardest school wins I have ever seen and I meant it.
“I had watched Causeway play Johnstown from Kilkenny in the semi-final and I knew they had pedigree over the past few years. We all realised this would be tough but the final was absolutely in the balance until the end,” he added.
“And to win that – and then see the lads from Thomas’ do the job on St Patrick’s Day - I can’t tell you what this will do for Galway hurling. Our own final was at the Gaelic Grounds and then a lot of the same kids would have been in Croke Park the following day. The young guys coming up will want to aspire to that now. That’s the level they’ll want.”
On the day Athenry were best served by Calum Mulroy, Thomas Monaghan, Ultan Hanley, Killian Hurley and Ian O’Brien.
The school, best known for producing the likes of legendary wing back Tony Keady, also supplied the majority of players that served on the Clarinbridge team that recently won their own All-Ireland senior title so there is no escaping the massive role this nursery plays in Galway hurling.
“Yes, we have a big role to play and this competition has a big role to play,” Hurley insists. “The future of the intercounty VS schools competition is up in the air and that’s not a good thing. That competition gives strong players from weaker clubs a platform to be noticed. They can compete for trophies and they may not really have that chance with their own clubs. At the end of the day we’re in the business of promoting hurling and that avenue was on that was working.”
Hurley should know- he spent much time over Galway VS teams.
For now, though, he can be content with another All-Ireland for the school.
“The Connacht final and the battle with St Brigid’s, Loughrea, was our toughest battle before the final,” he says. “That went to a replay so along with the final win we may not have had too many games but we deserve the title. It’s a lovely feeling for the lads involved.”
While Hurney and his young team returned to Athenry with the Cup, the inaugural Ulster Colleges hurling team experienced severe heartbreak losing their All-Ireland ‘A’ quarter-final clash to another Galway team – Mercy Colleges.
The Ulster side looked good for a win most of the way through but a late Shane Caulfield point gave Mercy a one point win. They now play a fancied Kilkenny CBS side this weekend.
For the Ulstermen, however, it’s back to the drawing board and it’s not likely that they will field a combined colleges’ team in next year’s competition.
“It’s heartbreaking for the lads,” said team mentor Mickey McCullogh. “We didn’t win but surely this shows that at least Ulster hurling can be competitive. I think we added to the competition and gave the Ulster players and supporters a bit of impetus.
“When the pressure came on we went back to old habits and that’s a bit disappointing but we have found another team that can compete in hurling and that has to benefit the game. The players enjoyed the whole experience; they loved being competitive and they think it will be horrible if they cannot field a team in next year’s competition.”
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Galway minor Jason Flynn netted a whopping 2-9 for Mercy Colleges in that nail biting win over Ulster Colleges and gets this week’s accolade.
RESULTS (Played on 16.03.13)