James McGahan may be still in his teens but he has been quietly amassing GAA honours at different levels over the course of the past two years.
The talented forward has already won Tyrone, Ulster and All- Ireland club medals with Cookstown Fr Rocks and tomorrow he will bid to add to his impressive haul of colleges accolades when he lines out with Holy Trinity College Cookstown in the All Ireland Colleges Vocational Schools final at Croke Park (1.30).
The holders are jointly coached by Peter Canavan and Adrian O’Donnell, but ahead of the clash with Cnoc Mhuire, Granard, the Leinster champions, O’Donnell fires out a warning.
“We made a lot of unforced errors in our semi-final win over St Gerald’s from Castlebar and we don’t want any repetition of that tomorrow if we can help it. We need to get into our rhythm quickly and take our chances,” he says.
The Cookstown side contains seven players from last year’s triumphant side but O’Donnell feels that this will not necessarily give them a psychological advantage going into the game.
“This Granard team will feel they are capable of winning this match and they certainly have justification for thinking this,” he adds.
While McGahan will, undoubtedly, carry a big scoring threat up front from both play and frees, the Cookstown school can look to several other players to fire up their challenge.
Dwayne McKenna, Darren Devlin, Kieran McGeary, Francis Burns and Daryl Magee will have key roles in an attacking strategy devised by Canavan and O’Donnell.
Cnoc Mhuire, who overcame Clonakilty Community College, the Munster champions, in the All Ireland semi-final, with the help of a spectacular goal from Nigel Rabitte will also look to David McGivney, Rian Brady, Anthony O’Reilly and Sean McKeogh for inspiration.