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Novel Pairings to Begin Masita Championships

posted 4 Mar 2015, 11:40 by Post Primary   [ updated 6 Mar 2015, 02:54 ]

Novel Pairings to Begin Masita Championships
(Scroll to bottom of page for match programmes)

WITH the provincial honours all but decided and spring in its infancy, the Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools series once more swings back into town this weekend.

And in the SH 'C' championship there's certainly a novel fixture to begin with. 

CC Roscrea have made huge waves in schools rugby of late but they are also just one step away from reaching the Cusack Cup final.

Whilst renowned for their rugby prowess, the Tipperary college has produced some incredible hurlers over the years like Limerick's Stephen Lucey and Tipp trio John O'Brien, Paddy O'Brien and Seamus Hennessy.So even if they are better known for their success with the oval ball, they have also had a plethora of All-Ireland winners on their books. 

Their opponents on Saturday, meanwhile, Ballyhaunis CS, are also better known  for proficiency in another code - this time Gaelic football."Still, in this small corner of South-East Mayo you are just as likely to see young boys and girls with hurleys in their hands as the distinctive O’Neills football," says their team manager and PE teacher Raymond Woolley.The school was founded in 1977 and has a proud tradition of Gaelic Games. Connacht Football titles have been captured at all levels but unfortunately All-Ireland titles have remained elusive with them coming closest in 2002 when defeated in the All-Ireland final by Moyne Community School. 

By the way, one of the stars of that team was none other than Keith Higgins, Mayo’s first three in a row All Star recipient. The school recently landed its first senior title with players from feeder clubs Tooreen & Ballyhaunis gelling successfully into a very cohesive unit to come through a victorious Connacht campaign. 

"The Connacht final win over Woodford was a very proud day in the school’s history and was the first hurling title annexed by a Mayo school since 1985," adds Woolley.

Man of the Match that afternoon was Sean Kenny, whose older brother David is also a dual player for club and county and won the same accolade when Mayo captured the All Ireland Minor Football Title in 2013. 

"Tooreen clubman Nicholas Freyne is our team coach and has spent many hours on the training pitch honing the skills of this talented squad," Woolley continues. 
"Whatever the outcome the team has done the school proud but something tells me these boys aren’t finished yet."

Roscrea won't take them for granted anyway in this clash which is fixed for Ballinasloe at 2pm. The school is determined to write another chapter in their history annals which have been filled from time to time since the 1970s.

"Hurling in Cistercian College really took off in that time with the arrival of Hugh McDonnell who was to coach the senior team for the next thirty six years," says CCR Director of Sport Brendan McKeogh."The big breakthrough came in 1986 and 1987 when Hugh’s senior teams won Leinster “B” titles.  In 1986 we lost the All Ireland final by a point to Nenagh CBS, while in 1987 St. Patrick’s, Shannon defeated us, so the heritage is strong."The college again claimed the Leinster “B”  title in 1997 with and finally won an All Ireland title in 2000."Considering the small numbers playing the game we have pushed above our weight over the last forty years," McKeogh says.  
"Hurling is in safe hands now with the commitment of and enthusiasm of Mark Carey, Roger Quigley and Aidan Franks."

It promises to be a cracking game, as does the meeting of St Declans Kilmacthomas and St Louis Grammar School Ballymena in the other semi-final at Ashbourne.
There will also be huge interest in the Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Rice Cup (SF 'D') Semi-Finals at Trim. The clash between Ballingarry Presentation Secondary and Magherafelt NRC takes pride of place.

"The majority of the squad come from our Derry GAA Academy which has been running for threee years," explains joint manager Kevin McSorley who oversees the side with Paul McMenemy.
"The GAA BTEC Level 3 course is a blend of academic and practical based assessments geared specifically for those with a sport career path or GAA in mind. In the past we have had Derry under 21 and senior national league finalists Ciaran McFall and Ryan Bell come through the academy. "We boast county minor standard players every year and this season have hot shots Fintan McGurk of Swatragh Michael Davitts and Tiernan Flangan of Glen Watty Graham's.Our players are keen to keep their success story running and look forward to a tough game against Ballingarry," McSorley, a native of Newtownstewart in Tyrone said. 

On the other side of the draw, Sancta Muire Louisburgh take on Ballymahon Vocational School.

So, four semi-finals on the cards and places in the respective deciders up for grabs. Novel pairings all around and plenty of excitement expected - what a way to begin the Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary series. 


This Weekends Fixtures

07-03-2015 (Sat)

Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Cusack Cup (SH 'C')




Ballyhaunis Community School




Roscrea Cistercian College


Referee:  Damian Fox



St Declans Kilmacthomas




St Louis Grammar School Ballymena


Referee:  Kevin Brady

Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Rice Cup (SF 'D')




Ballingarry Presentation Secondary




Magherafelt NRC


Referee:  Noel Mc Kenna

08-03-2015 (Sun)

Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Rice Cup (SF 'D')


Connacht GAA Centre


Sancta Muire Louisburgh




Ballymahon Vocational School


Referee:  Marty Parker