St.Fergal's, St.Mark's and Kilkenny CBS Book Final Spots
THE weather may have played havoc with the Masita post-primary fixtures last weekend but despite the Baltic conditions, the icy wind and relentless rain, three notable wins were nonetheless etched out over the past few days.
Indeed, it was a massive weekend for Kilkenny CBS, St Fergal’s, Rathdowney, and St Mark’s, Warrenpoint, in their respective championships as they all forged wins to qualify for upcoming finals.
Two of the games that were postponed go ahead tomorrow (Tuesday).
In the Colleges ‘A’ senior hurling semi-final Dungarvan Colleges take on St.Kieran’s at WIT Sports Campus, 2.00pm while St.Brigid’s, Loughrea, and Scoil Airegeal, Ballyhale, meet at the same stage in the VS ‘A’ semi-final. This fixture has now been moved to Boherlahan-Dualla GAA Club, outside Cashel with a time change to 2.30pm.
The exciting schedule extends to Wednesday with the VS Junior football semi-final taking place in Clonmel, featuring Coachford College v Gallen C.S, Ferbane.
Much of last weekend’s focus, naturally, focused on Kilkenny CBS’ win over Mercy Colleges, which was certainly hard-fought. In fact, CBS depended on Kevin Kenny to help them prevail 1-12 0-10 in the end. Man of the match Kenny grabbed the decisive 50th minute goal in Banagher after the underdogs had laid down an early marker.
Once again, the highly-rated Jason Flynn kept his Galway team in the game, drilling over four points before the break. At one stage it really looked like an upset was on the cards as Mercy led 0-7 to 0-4 at the interval.
CBS were a different team upon the restart, however, and had regained parity at 0-8 each by the three quarter mark. That’s when Kenny clicked – he scored a point and an opportunistic goal within minutes and from then until the finish CBS roared home.
If that win was well-deserved so too was the exciting 3-19 – 2-15 victory St Fergal’s, Rathdowney, enjoyed over Colaiste Pobal, Roscre, last Saturday.
It has been a tough 12 months for the Laois school – they were eliminated from last year’s competition (at semi-final stage) following a couple of controversial meetings with Nenagh VS. To add to their hurt they lost this year’s Leinster final to Scoil Airegail, Ballyhale.
“It took us a while to get to grips with Roscrea this time around and we had to go to extra time to do the job but it was all worth it,” said team mentor Sean Conroy.
“Eight or nine of the lads would have been on the team last year so there is still a bit of hurt around and plenty of motivation to go on and win this year’s title. Losing the Leinster final stung them as well but we found at the weekend that there’s no shortage of heart anyway.
“Roscrea were always going to be tough. We went to watch them play Borrisokane VS in their last game and though they were lucky to win that we knew there was more in them.
“We played with wind in the first half but they got a few early scores. Their forward Sam Conlon was doing a lot of damage so we had to tighten up considerably.”
The outlook changed when St Fergal’s capitalised on a ball that bounced off the upright before being rattled to the back of the net. By the break Rathdowney, a school with just 300 students, were five points up only to find troubled waters once more when Roscrea’s Conlon goaled twice.
“We made changes, brought on subs and we clawed our way back,” Conroy adds. “We had weathered the wind factor so we won the toss and opted to stay playing against it in the first half of extra time. From there we played some great hurling.”
It’s a young team they boast – seven of the panel played junior hurling with the school this year with four of that side actually making the school’s senior team. They have a scatter of players on the Laois minor side and Conroy has lauded their commitment and work-rate, pointing out that they will continue to train during their Easter holidays.
The pedigree is good too – Colm Stapleton’s brother Brian plays corner back on the Laois senior side, while centre back Gavin Dunne has two brothers, Conor and Brian, also on Cheddar Plunkett’s county team.
“A lot of those current Laois seniors would have played with St Fergal’s when we on the 2006 VS All-Ireland final,” Conroy says.
“There is good tradition here – the manager John Casey has been a stalwart at producing teams and players and a lot of work has gone in. We’re looking forward to the final on Saturday week (April 6) now. It would be just great to get over the finishing line.”
Meanwhile, the highly-rated St Mark’s, Warrenpoint, team came through their VS junior football semi-final with ease, beating Davitt College, Castlebar, 2-21 - 0-4 last Saturday.
Ace free-taking from both Jordan Murphy and Tiarnan Rushe, together with some great scores from play, had them eight points ahead at the break. Despite heroics from the Castlebar rearguard the Down side surged further ahead in the second period.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
The margin of St Mark’s victory over Davitt College would have been much greater were it not for a series of spectacular, breath-taking saves from the Castlebar goalkeeper Darren Concannon. Not only did he stop a ninth-minute penalty from Jody McGovern but he pulled off a string of other smashing blocks as the game progressed.
NUMBER OF THE WEEK - 10
The points tally that young Sam Conlon contributed to the Colaiste Phobal, Roscrea, cause at the weekend with his impressive haul of 2-4.
Comhairle Iarbhunscoileanna now has it’s own youtube channel– PPGAATV will cover highlights of a number of Masita GAA All Ireland Post Primary Schools Championship fixtures in the coming week. Last weekend out camera was in Templemore for the epic clash between St.Fergal’s College Rathdowney and Coláiste Pobail Roscrea.
Subscribe to the channel ahead of this weekend’s featured games www.youtube.com/PPGAATV
Davitt College Castlebar v Holy Trinity College Cookstown
St.Gerald’s Castlebar v St.Pat’s Maghera