The score line speaks eloquently, as a much more powerful Carrick cruised into a final appearance against Breifne College, after a facile victory in Irvinestown over a weak Ballybay Community School, on Tuesday night.
Colaiste na Carraige . . . . . . . 2-22
Ballybay Community School . . 0-2
The winners were bigger, stronger and much more skillful than their lighter but game opponents, and were never really troubled.
Once again, all the usual suspects walked tall, most notably their powerful diamond of Aaron Doherty, Brian O’Donnell, Oran Doogan and Lanty Molloy.
Ballybay’s best player was sturdy midfielder, Shane Forde, who carried the fight to Carrick in the opening quarter.
But he lacked support, and time and again his smaller and lighter colleagues lost the individual battles in the skill and strength stakes.
Despite the disparity, Carrick never lost their focus and this was a clinical and controlled display from a team that is growing bigger and better by the year.
Last year’s beaten finalists quickly established their authority and the points flowed smoothly from the boots of Lanty Molloy, Aaron Doherty and the most impressive midfielder Brain O’Donnell in the opening half.
Team captain Aaron Doherty orchestrated matters from defence while O’Donnell was the heartbeat of this talented side.
Up front the jinking Garry Molloy and Lanty Mollo,y who has the gait and hairstyle of a young Paidi O’Se, repeatedly carved openings in a very overworked Ballybay backline.
It was no surprise that the Carrick lads led by 0-12 to 0-1 at half-time, Ballybay’s only point come from Aaron Mulligan.
Doherty was clinical from frees while O’Donnell hit a number of fine long range efforts with Oran Doogan also helping to add to the misery of Ballybay.
It did not get any better for the losers in the second half as classy Carrick piled on the agony.
Quickfire points from O’Donnell, Doherty, Molloy and Ryan O’Donnell quickly extended the winners’ lead.
And two goals from full-forward David Love and substitute Cealan Curran sealed an easy victory for the southwest Donegal boys.
Love palmed the ball to the net after a Doherty and Ryan O’Donnell had unlocked the Ballybay rearguard in the 44th minute
And substitute Cealan Curran also got in on the scoring act in the 60th minute when he coolly picked his spot after yet another flowing movement.
This was an easy victory for Carrick but they will face a much tougher test in the final as Lanty Molloy acknowledged.
“Yes it was pretty easy but we knew nothing really about this team other than they had won the Monaghan final”.
He diplomatically added: “They were not a bad team, but it was just not their day with the shooting and all that.
“It was not much of a challenge really and while they had a few big men they could not really move all that well.
“We were the better footballing side and we were just quicker and stronger.
“I was happy with my own start and got a few points early on, some days the shooting can be a bit off.
“We got off to a good start and that was important, but I know their manager Ciaran Byrne, who is from my own parish in Glen.
“Breifne College will be much tougher in the final; we beat them in the senior competition last year but you can’t go by that.
“They will be big tough men, Cavan bucks you know, and we will be expecting quite a battle.
“That game is not too far away.
“We were in the final of this competition but were beaten by Claudy from Derry after being ten points down but just ran out of steam last year.
“We hope to put that right this year.
“The school has lost three or four Ulster finals and we would love to win this one for all those in charge of us”.
Colaiste na Carraige: Colm Garvey, Jordan Burns, Fionn Gallagher, Gavin Moore; Kenny Doogan, Aaron Doherty (0-7,3f), Cormac O’Leime; Brian O’Donnell (0-4), Oran Doogan (0-2); Garry Molloy (0-2), Lanty Molloy (0-5), Michael Lyons; Tadhg McGinley, David Love (1-0), Ryan O’Donnell (0-2). Subs: Dylan Kelly for Gavin Moore (45), Cealan Curran (1-0) for Kenny Doogan, Eoin Cormack for David Love (48), Dylan O’Gara for Michael Lyons (50), Shane McHugh for Lanty Molloy (58).
Ballybay Community College: Dean Johnston, Adam McCabe, Charlie Counihan, Enda McPhillips; Leon McKeown, Padraig Hughes, Shane West; Shane Duffy, Shane Forde; Aaron Mulligan (0-1), David McCabe, Joel Wilson; Conor Monaghan, Oisin O’Neill, Cathal Lennon. Subs., Caolan Byrne (0-1) for Cathal Lennon (37), Joseph Duffy for Shane West, Killian Lennon for Enda McPhillips (44), Niall Maguire for David McCabe (56)
Referee: S McCartan (Tyrone).