ON Saturday, St Joseph’s Spanish Point will attempt to win a third Munster colleges title.
They will play St Augustine’s College, Dungarvan in Bansha at 12.30pm, as they seek to add to Munster titles won in 1983 and 1995.
Four clubs, St Joseph’s Miltown, Kilmurry-Ibrickane, Cooraclare and Doonbeg supply players to the panel, many of whom were part of last year’s team that was beaten in the U-16½ Munster final.
St Joseph’s beat Beara from Cork in the first round, Miltown Castlemaine (Kerry), Douglas (Cork) and Causeway Comprehensive (Kerry) to reach the final.
St Joseph’s are managed and coached by Paul Reidy (Kilmihil), John O’Sullivan (Miltown), Cathal Crowe (Ennistymon) and Paul Dillon (Doonbeg).
Two years ago, the school won the Clare U-15 competition and last year won in Clare U-16½, while they lost the Munster final to Kenmare. Fourteen of the current team are eligible again next year.
“We didn’t expect to go on this sort of run but we have a lot of work put in since last September. They’re good lads to train and they are a very talented group. It’s 11 years since we were last in the final and it’s 22 years since we won it in 1995. They have been very talented since they came in as first years. We have a lot of them for two more years. Dermot Coughlan was a county minor last year and he’s here again next year. He was one of the best players in the U-21 A final last year. We have Oisin Looney, Euan Reidy and Micheál Murray from Miltown, who are three Clare U-17s. From Kilmurry, we have Dermot, Paudí Murrihy, Kevin Tubridy and David Sexton, who is a very good goalie.
“Diarmuid King is injured and is out for the final. He’s a massive loss to us. He tore his quad. We have really strong lads from Cooraclare in Fergal Donnellan, Seán McNamara, Colin McNamara and Davy Martyn, who broke his collar bone and he is also a massive loss. Seán Conway (Doonbeg) is also is on the U-17 county panel,” Reidy, who is also the school vice-principal, explained.
While the school has its own pitch, they have used Hennessy Memorial Park in Miltown for many of their training sessions.
“Miltown have been great to us all year. They let us in over the Christmas and throughout the winter. We also played challenges in Kerry over the Christmas. When there is such a good group, you have to put the work in. They want to win. We should have won the Munster final last year. Dermot Coughlan was black-carded after four minutes and we lost by four points in the end,” Reidy added.
Ironically, St Joseph’s were beaten in the first round of the Clare Senior Colleges Championship by Mary Immaculate College, Lisdoonvarna. In their Munster campaign, they have yet to fall behind in any game but expect a testing hour from their Waterford opponents.
“They are very physically strong. They have about 10 lads over six foot which is going to be an issue for us,” Reidy predicted.
By Peter O’Connell