Tom Comack email@example.com @dgldemocrat
Coláiste Na Carraige and Coláiste Cholmcille, Ballyshannon, meet in an all Donegal Markey Cup final on Friday in Ballybofey.
The game was originally fixed for tomorrow (Tuesday) but has now been refixed for MacCumhaill Park on Friday at 12.30
In the long history of the Markey Cup, it is only the second all Donegal final.
The one and only other all Donegal decider was two years ago, when Coláiste na Carraige completed back-to-back titles with a narrow win over St Columba’s Comprehensive, Glenties. Coláiste Na Carraige won what was a closely contested decider by two points.
Aaron Doherty, Brian O’Donnell and Lanty Molloy are the survivors from that 3-3 to 1-7 win over St Columba’s in O’Donnell Park.
A fourth, Gary Molloy, has missed most of the season with a knee injury and has been ruled out of Tuesday’s showdown by manager Noel Ward.
Colm Garvey, Jordan Burns, Fionn Gallagher, Gavin Moore, Aaron Doherty, Cormac Ó Leime, Brian O’Donnell, Oran Doogan and Lanty Molloy were all on board from last year’s Arthur’s Cup winning team.
Doherty, O’Donnell, Molloy Paddy McShane, Shane Gillespie and Fionn Gallagher are members of this year’s Donegal minor squad.
“We have a young team and up to ten of the team will be available again next year,” said Noel Ward.
“The team is backboned by players from last year’s Arthurs Cup winning team,” added the manager.
Coláiste Cholmcille, Ballyshannon, are appearing in their first Markey Cup final following the full integration of Ulster Colleges and Ulster Vocational Schools this year.
Up to this season Coláiste Cholmcille competed in Ulster Colleges competitions.
The Ernesiders are jointly managed by former Donegal player Damien Conlon and former Aodh Ruadh player Philip O’Reilly.
They have the bulk of the team of last season’s Ulster Colleges Senior C O’Doherty Cup final team available to them.
Coláiste Cholmcille lost the O’Doherty final to St Louis, Kilkeel.
Sean Taylor, Donegal, and Dean Carroll, Sligo, are the only current minors in the Coláiste Cholmcille line-up.
However, Nathan Boyle, Shane McGrath and Oisin Rooney were members of last season’s Donegal Ulster championship winning minor team.
The teams have met once already this year with Coláiste Cholmcille coming out on top in that encounter by five points, 5-12 to 2-12.
“That was in the group stages and we got off to a good start and scored a couple of early goals and led by nine points at half-time,” said Damien Conlon.
“But they pegged it back in the second half and got back to two points before we pulled away again in the closing minutes.”
Coláiste Cholmcille and Coláiste na Carraige were in a group along with St Columba’s, Glenties; St Catherine’s, Killybegs; Abbey Vocational School - last year’s winners - and Rosses Community School.
Coláiste Cholmcille topped the group with four wins and one draw - the draw was with St Columba’s. Coláiste na Carraige came second in the group with wins over Abbey, Rosses and Killybegs.
After a big win in the Ulster quarter-final over Holy Cross, Strabane, Coláiste na Carraige had just a point to spare at the end of their semi-final clash with St Patrick’s, Keady.
Aaron Doherty lofted over the winner in their 1-6 to 0-8 win, deep in injury time at the end of an absorbing contest in Garvaghy.
“Keady were a big physical side and we got an early goal and built up a good lead but they pulled it back and there was just a point in it at half-time and the best way to describe it was we ground out a result in the second half,” said Noel Ward.
“It was a good, tough game and being honest it could have gone either way. It was a good game to win and hopefully, it will stand to us now in the final.”
Coláiste Cholmcille have had a slightly easier passage in their two games with a five point win over Rathmore, Belfast and a four point win over St Joseph’s, Donaghmore from Tyrone.
“They were not as comfortable as the final score might suggest, especially the St Joseph’s game,” insisted Damien Conlon.
“We had the wind in the first half and built up a lead and then got a goal early in the second half. But they hit back and we had to dig deep in the closing minutes to pull away again.
“But it was a good test for our lads and will give confidence going into the final.”
Other than the long term injured Gary Molloy, Noel Ward and Neilly Byrne have a fully fit squad to select from.
Damien Conlon is sweating on the fitness of his team captain, Melvin Gaels’ Cathal McSharry. McSharry suffered a broken nose in club training last week.