The competition’s record winners with 20 titles, St Brendan’s were one of only two teams to win all of their group games, along with Pobalscoil Sliabh Luachra, who lost to Flannan’s in the quarter-finals. The Killarney outfit had nine different scorers in the win over holders Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne and five of those – Lee O’Donoghue, David Clifford, Michael Potts, Dara Moynihan and David Shaw – contributed more than a point. When Brendan’s met St Flannan’s in the group stage, they won 0-14 to 0-4, but that gave a false reading of the Ennis side’s capabilities. They drew with Coláiste na Sceilge and put six goals past Abbey CBS before putting a stop to Sliabh Luachra’s gallop. Darragh Duggan and Gavin Cooney were central to the scoring effort then with Maurice Nugent’s strong midfield play another important component of their play.
Clonmel CBS are the only Tipperary side to win the Corn Uí Mhuirí, albeit back in 1928, but their form during this campaign has been encouraging, with a group-stage win over Rochestown already under their belts. Michael Barlow, Michael O’Reilly and Shane O’Meara all impressed during the quarter-final win against Ballincollig’s Colásite Choilm while Mark Kehoe and Dara Ryan will also have strong influences. Rochestown, last year’s beaten finalists, overcame Clonakilty CC in the last eight without key men Seán Powter and Eoghan O’Brien, though the latter could be back today. Shane Kingston, Evan Ryle, Conor Russell and James Holland will be among the players the Cork school will look to as they seek to reach back-to-back deciders.
Whatever the outcome, a new name will be etched onto the trophy, with Marist’s 2014 final loss to Coláiste Eoin the only appearance in a decider by either school. The Athlone school’s semi-final win against New Ross’s Good Counsel was unusual, as second-half goals from Ryan Gaffney (two) and Emmett Nally gave them a 3-1 to 0-8 win. Goalkeeper Conor Devaney is another key man for Marist and he is likely to see some action as St Benildus have a strong attacking threat. Led by Dublin minor Callum Pearson, they edged past Clane’s Scoil Mhuire in a semi-final replay. Along with Pearson, Tom Fox, Joseph Rafferty and Tom Keane provide scoring ability up front.