Holy Trinity College fired up for Croker glory
Holy Trinity College, Cookstown will carry a strong tradition into the All-Ireland 'B' Colleges final against St Nathy's, Ballaghadereen at Croke Park, today (2.00pm).
It's 20 years since the Tyrone school made their big breakthrough in the Ulster Colleges' sector and this afternoon the current side will aim to claim another major honour for what is now regarded as one of the strongest GAA nurseries in the province.
But to take possession of the Paddy Drummond Cup, Holy Trinity will have to fend off the challenge of a St Nathy's Bellaghdereen side that was pushed to the pin of their collar by a fiercely-driven Lucan CBS side in the semi-final.
It took a late goal from substitute Luke Hester to give St Nathy's their slender 1-11 to 2-7 victory and today they may have to battle just as hard against a Cookstown side that produced a storming second-half performance to overcome Munster side Pobalscoil Inbhear Sceine in the other semi-final by 4-11 to 2-8.
Holy Trinity looked to be heading for the exit door when they trailed by 2-5 to 0-1 at the end of the first quarter but they levelled matters at 2-6 each at half-time before pushing on to book their final ticket.
Coach Aidan O'Hagan believes that while his side have tended to make things hard for themselves, they possess plenty of spirit and character.
"We have dug out victories but we now face a huge challenge against a team that have shown skill and resilience," comments O'Hagan.
"We have to take our chances and not allow ourselves to be chasing the game," he adds.
Tiarnan Mackle, Tarlach Quinn, Mark Devlin and Tiernan Quinn are key players for Holy Trinity while St Nathy's Bellaghdereen will look to skipper Kuba Callaghan as well as James O'Hara and Oisin Phillips in particular for inspiration.
When St Eunan's College, Letterkenny drew with Holy Trinity in the MacLarnon Cup final last month, it was thought that the Donegal side would have the upper hand in the replay but in that game the Cookstown team dug deep to come out on top.
They will be hoping to do so again today.