Macroom’s young guns expecting tough challenge from Skibbereen

Given that it is a town renowned for football, it’s perhaps surprising that Macroom’s premier footballing academy is only lately enjoying fruitful times on the pitch.

While De La Salle lost a Corn Uí Mhuirí final in 1978, the 1990s saw them hustling in the B grade before a return to the top flight of Munster colleges football in 2005.

Their first year back up brought Corn Uí Mhuirí success and they have made two further final appearances, losing both, including last year.

Today, they meet St Fachtna’s De La Salle of Skibbereen in Ballineen in a quarter-final clash.

De La Salle, Macroom manager Eric Graham admits that the goals set last autumn were relatively modest.

“At the start of the year, we felt that it was a young team, there were a lot of fifth years involved, so really our main aim was just to get out of the group.

“It was a tough group, so to win it was excellent, now it’s wide open again and everybody’s in it to win it.

“Being honest, we didn’t really expect to win the Simcox, but things just went our way, the lads took all of the opportunities that came their way.”

The Simcox Cup, the Cork colleges competition, was won with a final victory against fellow Corn Uí Mhuirí quarter-finalists Rochestown College in December. Along the way, De La Salle also met Fachtna’s, and that game, along with last year’s quarter-final win, leaves Graham expecting a backlash.

“With five minutes left, we were up a goal and Skibb had a goal chance but our goalkeeper made a great save and then we went down the field and got a goal ourselves.

“We ended up winning by five or six points, but it could have gone any way.

“I suppose the Simcox win and the quarter-final last year will probably make us favourites, but that’s only likely really to make them more determined.”

Such is the winning mentality in Macroom, however, that complacency is unlikely to be entertained.

“We came back up in 2005 and winning the Corn Uí Mhuirí in our first year was amazing. Things have just rolled on from there.

“It has almost become self-fulfilling now, the first years come in and see the senior football team doing well so they’ll aspire to be on it when their time comes. Keeping it going is the main thing.”

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