Masita GAA Post Primary Schools preview
Wednesday, March 7
Masita GAA All Ireland Post Primary Schools Br Edmund Ignatius Cup (Senior D Football) Semi Final**
Colaiste Ailigh, Letterkenny v Coláiste na Trocaire Rathkeale, GAA Centre of Excellence Abbottstown 3.00pm
Wednesday is a massive day for the senior footballers of Colaiste na Trocaire in Rathkeale as they prepare to take on Colaiste Ailigh of Letterkenny in the semi-final of the Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Br Edmund Ignatius Cup semi-final.
Their manager, Killian Phair, originally from Cavan, has been teaching in Rathkeale since 2012 and says his team are really looking forward to the challenge.
“We are a rural school in West Limerick with approximately 440 students,” he says.
“The football panel includes lads from Rathkeale GAA, Adare, Croagh-Kilfinny, Granagh-Ballingarry and St Kieran's.
“We achieved a Munster Football and Hurling double in this 2017/18 academic year having won the Munster D Football and Munster D Hurling titles with 18 of the lads dual players.
“We won the Limerick Post Primary Schools ‘A’ county title in 2016/17 for the first time and retained it again this year in 2017/18.”
This season they have maintained that tempo, as Phair explains.
“We received a walkover in our first-round match and then we defeated Schull Community College in our quarter-final,” the manager recalls.
“In our Munster semi-final against Boherbue Comprehensive School we came back from seven points down at half time to win by five points in the end. In our Munster Final against Mean Scoil Castlegregory we were again seven points down at the start of the second half and won by four points in the end.”
They will be hoping to retain that fighting spirit tomorrow in Abbotstown as they strive to make the final of this prestigious competition.
They face Coláiste Ailigh, Letterkenny, who recently celebrated a first Ulster Championship success following their O’Doherty Cup final win against Ballybay Community College.
Five points separated the sides at the final whistle after the Letterkenny boys finished with a late flourish. Late goals from Mikey Sweeney from the penalty spot and Sean McNulty sealed the win.
The Monaghan boys had stormed back into the game in the second period after Coláiste Ailigh led by ten points early in the second half. Ballybay put the issue beyond doubt when Oisin O’Neill tied up the game with a little over five minutes remaining.
“We're a Gaelscoil in Letterkenny with a mixed student population of 270 students,” explains Colaiste Ailing manager John Bosco Gallagher.
“The school opened in 2000. We moved into a new school in 2013 with excellent playing facilities. This present team lost a county final at under 16 level two years ago but have really grown as a team since.”
Masita GAA All Ireland Post Primary Schools Michael Cusack Cup (Senior C Hurling) Semi Final
St Patrick's High School Keady v Scariff Community College, Belfield 5.30pm
Meanwhile, in the semi-final of the Masita GAA All Ireland Post Primary Schools Michael Cusack Cup (Senior C Hurling) St Patrick's High School Keady face Clare opposition, Scariff CC.
“St Patrick’s is an all-ability, co-educational school situated in the small town of Keady, eight miles south of Armagh city,” says their manager Damien McConville.
“There are approximately 1030 students enrolled at present coming from a wide catchment area in south Armagh,” he added.
“We participate in all four GAA codes and have won many titles over the past ten years in hurling ,camogie and Gaelic football and many of our past players are currently on the senior county hurling and camogie teams with some on the football team such as Niall Grimley, Gavin McParland and captain Rory Grugan.
“Another past pupil Kelly Mallon features on the senior county ladies football team. Our current team is principally drawn from three hurling clubs, Keady Lamh Dearg, Middletown Na Fianna, and Derrynoose St Mochuas with one player from Cuchulainns, Armagh.
“We are currently Casement Cup (Ulster Senior B Hurling) champions for the second year running and would dearly like to reach the final this year after losing out at semi-final stage in 2017.”
The Armagh lads face stern opposition, though. High-scoring Scariff CC, led by manager Sean McNamara, have beaten strong opposition en route to this stage of the competition, accounting for Carragaline Community School, PBC Cork, Colaiste Treasa Kanturk, Kinsale Community School, and St Augustines Dungarvan along the way.
They are averaging a combined tally of around 27 points per game and such prolific shooting will make them exceptionally hard to beat in the semi-final.
On Saturday there will be another six games played in the Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary School Championships.
Pride of place will be the Croke Cup quarter-finals - Midleton CBS will take on Kilkenny CBS in the Croke Cup Quarter-Finals, while St Kieran’s College will tackle Gort in the other Quarter-Final.
Midleton will want to recover from their disappointing showing against Ardscoil Ris in the Dr Harty Cup final.
In the other quarter-final, St Kieran’s face the beaten Connacht beaten finalists, Gort after they lost to Presentation College Athenry in Duggan Park in Ballinasloe.