COLAISTE NA CARRAIGE are back in another Donegal schools final and chasing another senior championship crown when they face Carndonagh Community School, tomorrow (Tuesday) in Castlefin (Throw-in 12.30 pm).
While they missed out on last year’s decider, Colaiste Na Carraige, formerly Carrick Vocational School, have been the dominant force in second level schools football for the past five to six years.
However, with Mark McHugh, Patrick McBrearty and Ryan McHugh all having moved on from the teams of recent years, it is a relatively new look and inexperienced Colaiste Na Carraige that will face Carndonagh.
“It is a very young team and to be honest we are a little lucky to be in the final. We had a much stronger side last year with Patrick McBrearty and Ryan McHugh in the team. But we got caught in the semi-final by Rosses Community School,”said Noel Ward, the Colaiste Na Carraige manager.
“Patrick and Ryan were big players, and unfortunately they are no longer with us. This year’s team large is very young and most of them will be with us again next year and a good few of them for the next couple of years and if anything, we are a little surprised to be in the final. We find teams come in cycles and we feel it would be next year and possibly the year after before we would be in with a chance again.”
Stephen McBrearty, a younger brother of Patrick, who is one of the young brigade and Aodhan McGinley, along with the vastly experienced Eoin McHugh are the big name players in this season’s Colaiste Na Carraige set-up.
However, except for their opening game against PCC Falcarragh, injury has meant that McBrearty has missed the remainder of their run to the final. And that injury, which also saw him miss out on Kilcar’s Minor A championship final victory over St Eunan’s, means the influential McBrearty is still a major doubt for tomorrow’s clash.
While county minor McGinley has been nursing an ankle injury picked up the minor final in recent weeks and has got very little time on the training pitch.
“Stephen is very doubtful and it is really touch and go and we will not make a final call until the last minute. Our concern about Aodhan is that he has got in very little training and ball work in the last few weeks, but thankfully, his injury has cleared up and is fully fit again.”
Martin Byrne is also on the long term injured list. Other than Byrne and the doubt about McBrearty, the manager has reported no other injury concerns.
Carndonagh are a appearing in their first senior final for the first in over six years. They are manager by former county minor and U-21 John Farren and the Inishowen men have come through from the slightly tougher side of the draw. It took a play-off to separate themselves and a fancied Rosses Community School before seeing off the challenge of St Columba’s from Stranorlar in the semi-final.
“We have been knocking on the door for a number of years but could never get past the semi-final losing to Rosses and Carrick and that is why the win over Rosses after losing heavily the first game down in Dungloe. It gave us the confidence to go and beat St. Columbas and hopefully we can now go on and win the final,” said Farren.
Seamus Houghton, on the books of Derry City; Fergal Doherty, county minor Conor McCormick, Danny Monagle, Kevin McLaughlin, Matthew McLaughlin and Conor O’Sullivan will backbone the Carn challenge.
Colaise Na Carraige squad: Patrick Byrne, Martin Byrne, Christopher Byrne, Stephen Callaghan,Jason Campbell,Cormac Cannon, James Carr, Michael Cunningham, Pauric Cunningham, Conor Doherty, Paul Doherty, Philip Doherty, Chris Doogan, Ryan Gillespie, Stephen Jones, Conor
Kennedy, Stephen McBrearty, Andrew McClean, Jamie McGinley, Aodhan McGinley,Eoin McHugh, Patrick McNiallais, Philip McNern, Jason McGill, John McGuire, Dominic Gallagher, Eoin O’Leime, Pauric O’Neill, James Shovlin,Pauric Ward.
Cardonagh CS:Patrick McGilloway, Ronan Hartin, Conor Byrne, Danny Monagle,Matthew Crampsey,Nathan Toland, Aaron Friel, Danny Devlin, Conor Brennan,Conor McCormick, Fergal Doherty, Darren Coyle, Matthew McLauglin, Adam Byrne, Darren McLarkey, Caomhan Canny, Kevin McLaughlin, Gary Doherty, Seamus Houghton, Conor O’Sullivan,Pauric Roddy, Jamie McLaughlin.