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Schools Ready for Croke Park Stage

posted 9 Apr 2015, 04:22 by Post Primary   [ updated 9 Apr 2015, 04:34 ]

Preview of Masita Hogan and Drummond Cup Finals

IT'S a Connacht versus Munster Hogan Cup decider this weekend after two epic semi-finals sent the students of Roscommon CBS and Kerry’s PS Chorca Dhuibhne into this eagerly awaited colleges football showpiece.

he reigning champions from Dingle needed extra time to overcome the challenge of Ulster champions St Pat’s Cavan, finally winning by 1-14 to 1-11. In fact, right at the end Pat’s looked like they were through to this decider when they led by a point in injury time but the holders levelled at the death and scored three unanswered points in the first period of extra time to take a 1-13 to 1-10 extra time interval lead.

In the other semi-final Roscommon CBS defeated Good Counsel New Ross by 0-10 to 0-8 to qualify for this final. The Connacht champions had been trailing by 0-03 to 0-01 after the first 10 minutes. Good Counsel played with the wind in the second half started the second half brightly and levelled matters right after Diarmuid Cunniffe was shown a black card for the Roscommon side. Richard Hughes and Noel Gately then restored a two point lead for the Roscommon side who had also lost some key players due to injury a this stage.

 Both sides swapped scores and Roscommon CBS eventually won a serious battle.
 "It's about the workrate," says joint manager Seamus Heneghan, who looks after the team with renowned GAA commentator Willie Hegarty.
 "People take it for granted but to keep Good Counsel from scoring goals and to see the lads tackling, running back and covering was very satisfying.
 "The things is our lads are success starved - the first Connacht medal they would have won only came a few weeks ago. Not a lot of them would have won much at club level on the way up and they are absolutely starving for success. That drives them. 
 "I wouldn't be overly happy with the goal chances we missed in the semi-final but we didn't give away any chances either and that makes up for it. They are a great team, great to work with," Heneghan said.

In attendance at the Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Hogan Cup and Drummond Cup Football Finals photocall are, from left, Jack Casey, Roscommon CBS, Sean O'Bambaire, Pobscoil Corca Dhuibhne, Dingle, Co.Kerry, Niall Lowry, St. Mary's Academy CBS, Carlow, and Keith Landy, The Abbey School, Tipperary Town. The Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Hogan Cup and Drummond Cup Football Finals take place on Saturday April 11th in Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE ***

The school has contributed a lot to football in the west and have a long history of competing in the Connacht Colleges Championship, winning senior A titles in 1940, ’41, ’42, ’48 and 1998, and senior B titles in 1951, 1997 and 2011. Most of the CBS panel come from Roscommon Gaels, Oran, St. Croans, Kilbride, St. Dominics, St. Ciarans, Fuerty, Creggs and St. Faithleachs and they are hoping that their tightly-knit side can successfully tackle the might of the Munster giants who have been taking the Hogan Cup by storm in the lats two years.
Several past players have been involved in intercounty managerial positions, most notably Feargal O’Donnell who captained the Roscommon senior team to the 2001 Connacht title before going on to manage the Roscommon minor team to the All Ireland title in 2006.
But they face by far their biggest test on Saturday, up against the team still fresh from their historic 4-in-a-row of Corn Uí Mhuirí titles, Pobal Scoil Chorca Dhuibhne. 
PS Chorca Dhuibhne knew they were up against it facing St Pats - Mac Rory Cup winners for the first time in 43 years and they played against very strong wind in the first half of that game which upped the stakes even more. 
Steely performers on the day were Sean Ó Gairbhiá, Conor Geaney and Seamus Ó Muirceartaigh, 
and like Roscommon CBS the West Kerry boys kept the momentum in the final ten minutes of their semi which saw them through to the weekend's final.
The Kerry side has played seven games to get to this stage and their first four were won with ease. But they showed in the Munster final against St Francis, Rochestown, that their hunger was still intact, drawing 1-10 apiece and then winning the replay 1-10- 0-10. They went to the wire again in the Hogan Cup semi and they'll probably have to go back there to win at the weekend. 

It won't be much different, we expect in the Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Drummond Cup (SF 'B') final between Abbey CBS and Carlow CBS.
Both teams were pushed to their limit in the semi-finals.
"We had to work extremely hard to overcome a very good Coláiste na Carraige side," said Abbey CBS manager Damian O'Brien. "Our defence was tested to the limit and they kept us in the game when Coláiste na Carraige dominated possession in the second half, only conceding two points in the entire second half, this was a major achievement against a very well coached side.

 "This allowed us to stay in the game and our players up the field showed great patience in slowly reeling in a four point deficit with 20 minutes to go. 
 "Our free-takers were clinical, finishing with six out of six, on what was a wild and windy day. We had to wait until injury time to lead and we had to ride our luck at stages but against very good teams at this level that's what you have to do sometimes." 
 They are in an All-Ireland senior football final for the 3rd time in our history. In 1998 they overcame St.Louis, Ballymena 1-13 to 0-10 in Croke Park and in 2005 they were defeated by Our Lady's, Castleblaney 1-11 to 1-9 in Parnell Park. 
 The Abbey have only faced Carlow opposition once before - in the 1998 semi-final the Abbey defeated Knockbeg College by 4 points. 
 But now they face a school with massive pedigree. Carlow CBS won the Leinster Clonard Cup in 1962 and 1983 and won the Leinster 'B' hurling final against FCJ Bunclody in 1990 when Conor Kinsella's dad, Rory was in charge of Bunclody while CBS was managed by Leo Hogan, their current principal. and the recently deceased and much loved Denis O'Grady.
 "Carlow CBS will be a great challenge for us in the final," O'Brien agreed. "They are an impressive outfit and play a very good brand of football. We will have to play at our best, fight hard for 60 minutes so as to be in with a shout in the closing stages."
The school had Tipperary and Limerick minor hurlers in the first round of the Munster Minor Hurling Championship on Wednesday 8th April as well - Eoghan McNamara (Limerick captain) and Shane Neville & Tommy Lowry (Tipperary) which only adds to the challenge facing the school. 
Next Wednesday (April 15) the Abbey will play Rathmore, Kerry in the Munster Post-Primary Schools Under 16.5 B football final with four of their senior starting team involved. What an exciting time for all involved.

Beforehand on Friday evening Coláiste Ghobnatán defend their Dr.O’Sullivan Cup (Senior Football ‘C’) title against Leinster champions Ardscoil Rath Íomgháin. The final takes place in McCann Park Portarlington at 7.30pm and will no doubt be a keenly contested affair.

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