Having beaten Abbey CBS by 12 points in their Group B opener, victory against St Flannan’s in Newcastle West today (throw-in 1.30pm) will secure qualification to the quarter-finals of this season’s competition.
The famed Killarney nursery last won Munster’s premier post-primary football competition in 2010, but manager Gary McGrath insists that there is no pressure felt due to the school’s exalted status.
“I wouldn’t say that there is pressure,” he says, “maybe more expectation, but I think that that’s external in any case, it comes from outside the camp.
“The lads themselves just want to play at this level and perform to their best, they know that there is strong competition for places so it’s important to do well.”
St Brendan’s won the Frewen Cup (U16½AFC) last year and reached the final in 2013/14. Those two sides form the nucleus of what is a young senior team.
“A lot of the team are underage again next year,” he says, “and they have experience of winning big games. That’s why beating Abbey was a big achievement as they won the All-Ireland B last year and would have had similar experience.
“The other side is that we have some players who are still U16 with their clubs so they’re giving away two years to some opponents. But that brings them on too.
“We’re in the O’Sullivan Cup [Kerry post-primary AFC] final against Coláiste na Sceilge next week and then we have them a week later in the Corn Uí Mhuirí, so it’s beneficial to be playing good teams, as it really helps the lads to gel.”
In the other game in that group, victory for Coláiste na Sceilge against Abbey would also book their last-eight spot.
In Group A, St Francis College Rochestown and CBS HS Clonmel meet in Glanworth, both having won their opening games, while Tralee CBS meet IS Killorglin at Firies, with the losers set to be eliminated.
Pobalscoil Sliabh Luachra will look to build on their excellent win over holders Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne as they clash with Coláiste Chríost Rí in Mallow in Group C.
Corca Dhuibhne face De La Salle Macroom at Dr Crokes’ complex in Killarney.
Clonakilty CC clash with Mercy Mounthawk Tralee in Carrigadrohid, with the winners securing a qualifying berth from Group D.
The other game, between Skibbereen’s St Fachtna’s College and Coláiste Choilm of Ballincollig in Enniskeane is a battle to avoid elimination.
In addition, there is one Dr Harty Cup game, with Gaelcholáiste Mhuire AG playing Charleville CBS in Fermoy.