27 Jan 2016

St Colm's face Carrick in Ulster

Ulster U16 Arthurs Cup (Mon 1st Feb- Irvinestown 12.30)
St Colm's Draperstown v Coláiste na Carraige

In 2011 Kevin Cassidy kicked a wonder point into the Hill 16 end at Croke Park in the last minute to snatch victory over Kildare and put Donegal another step closer to clinching an All-Ireland. 

Under the floodlights on that Saturday evening when the ball ended up with Cassidy he was well prepared for the shot. He had spent a lifetime waiting on it. 

All through his underage journey 'Cass' spent endless hours kicking points on Gaoth Dobhair's pitch in Magheragallon under the watchful eye of is coach and confidant Tom Beag Gillespie. All for such an occasion.

Last week at the same scenic coastal venue when Coláiste na Carraige were struggling to see off the stubborn resistance of Carndonagh in the Donegal U16 final, it was another half back that stepped forward. 

With four minutes of extra time remaining and the game deadlocked at 1-6 each, joint captain and centre back Aaron Doherty dissected the posts. The Carrick based school were champions.

In the semi final win Doherty scored 0-8 against Stranorlar so it was no surprise he was the man who kicked the winner.

The Carrick team is based on players from two clubs Kilcar and Naomh Columba (Glencolumbcille).  Past pupils are the McBrearty brothers (Stephen and Paddy), as well as brothers Mark, Ryan McHugh and their cousin Eoin McHugh.

This week St Colm's Draperstown manager Ciaran Meenagh will be thinking about Doherty's influence as he prepares his team for the next step.

Doherty's joint captain Brian O'Donnell is another important cog at midfield. In attack are the Molloys - Lanty and Garry. They are key players and Lanty is a nephew of Anthony who captained Donegal to their first All-Ireland in 1992.

The Donegal champions are battled hardened from their final last week, whereas Draperstown have not had a competitive game since last December when they saw off St Mary's Clady. 

If Doherty's point was the dramatic winner for Carrick, Noel Rafferty's last minute goal to clinch the Derry title was every bit as important.

St Colm's have had a long lay off but having to scrap to get over the line against Clady will have benefited them. A core of their players played for Ballinascreen in a series of highly competitive club championship games against Bellaghy. Despite their age the big game experience will help them deal with nerves.

Meenagh will have Aaron Bradley to marshal the defence and Marty Bradley to put in a big shift alongside Noel Rafferty in midfield. In attack he will look to the pace of JP Devlin and Mark Farrelly to ask questions of the Donegal defence.

On Monday in Irvinestown St Colm's boss Meenagh and Paddy Boyle (Carrick) will know their teams have the ability to win games right at the death. Neither team will throw in the towel so it has the makings of a great game.

Who will be the hero this time?

Probable Teams:

St Colm’s Draperstown: Tom McGovern, Ruairi Kelly, Ciaran Doyle, Ciaran McGlone, Ryan Scullion, Aaron Bradley, Jack Heron, Martin Bradley, Noel Rafferty, Euan McBride, Mark Farrelly, Niall Doyle, Ryan Doyle, JP Devlin, Ronan Hamill.  

Coláiste na Carraige: Colm Garvey; Gavin Moore, Fionn Gallagher, Jordan Burns; Cormac Ó Leime, Aaron Doherty, Kenny Doogan; Brian O’Donnell, Oran Doogan; Garry Molloy, Lanty Molloy, Ryan O’Donnell; Cealan Curran, David Love, Tadhg McGinley.

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