Keenan tips St Patrick's, Maghera to make history
Derry county board chairman John Keenan believes that St Patrick's College, Maghera can replicate the feat of St Colman's College Newry by winning the coveted 'double double'.
The Newry seat of learning clinched MacRory and Hogan Cup success in both 2010 and 2011 and now having already won both trophies last year and retained the MacRory Cup this year, the south Derry college can secure their own place in the history books by beating Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne (Kerry) in tomorrow's Hogan Cup decider at Croke Park.
"I think it's tremendous that within the space of 24 hours Derry will be represented on two fronts at Croke Park. We have the colleges' semi-final tomorrow and then on Sunday Brian McIver's team will meet Mayo in an Allianz League semi-final that is arousing such huge interest within the county," points out Keenan.
"I honestly believe that a double victory is more than a possibility and I hope that as many people as possible will get behind both teams in their bid for success."
The Maghera school side, who beat fancied Dublin and Leinster champions Colaiste Eoin, Stillorgan at the Hogan Cup semi-final stage, have gained in poise and confidence over the course of their campaign.
But coach Paul Hughes is ensuring that his players' feet remain firmly rooted to the ground.
"When you come up against a Kerry side in any competition you just know that it is going to be very tough," insists Hughes.
"We were aware going into the MacRory Cup final against Omagh CBS that it was a difficult task and so it turned out while Colaiste Eoin presented us with problems in the Hogan Cup semi-final. You can be sure that our Kerry opponents tomorrow will be coming well-armed for battle."
And that indeed is hardly surprising. The coach of the Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne side is the current Kerry senior boss Eamon Fitzmaurice, who is no stranger to success as a player.
He has moulded together a team that looked impressive in coming out on top in the Munster colleges' sector and which overcame a strong St Gerald's, Castlebar side in their Hogan Cup semi-final.
The Maghera outfit will be powered by Conor Glass and Conor Cassidy from midfield with Danny Tallon, Conor Convery and Paul Gunning forming a dynamic full-forward line.
Skipper Peter Hagan and Oisin Hegarty underpin the central spine of a defence noted for its frugality while Cathal Mulholland is an enterprising wing-back who can discomfit opponents.
The Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhe side boasts outstanding players in Conchúir O Géibheannaigh, Tómas O Sé, Seamus O Muircheartaigh and Cathal O Bambaire.