Willie Duggan hopes for Mitchelstown CBS masterclass

Willie Duggan has been on the Mitchelstown CBS staff since 1982 and, with over 30 years of service in the classroom and in promoting GAA amongst the school’s small student populace, today marks CBS’s biggest day in sport– its inaugural appearance in an All Ireland colleges final.

Willie Duggan hopes for Mitchelstown CBS masterclass

The Kildorrery native teaches Maths and Business at the north Cork school, but the toughest equation he must solve this week is how to break down what he describes as “a resolute Warrenpoint defence” in today’s All Ireland PPS Senior Football ‘C’ final.

The journey to this point of the season has been a long and enjoyable one for Duggan, who is assisted today on the sideline by Cillian Bohane from Bishopstown and Conor O’Leary from Cullen.

Mitchelstown CBS was founded in 1857 when the Christian Brothers set up in the town. The official opening of the new school took place in 2008 and, with a current student enrollment of 325 and a senior football panel comprising 22 players, reaching an All-Ireland decider from such slim pickings is a staggering achievement in itself.

Twelve of today’s team also helped the school make significant inroads in hurling during this academic year. Along with Duggan, staff member and Cork senior hurling goalkeeper, Anthony Nash, has been leading the revival with the small ball as Mitchelstown reached this year’s Munster PPS Senior B final, their march toward provincial honours thwarted by a very well-drilled Abbey CBS side in the decider. Mitchelstown also competed strongly in the Cork Colleges Senior ‘A’ hurling competition, the Dr. O’Callaghan Cup.

Describing this year as the school’s most successful to date, Duggan adds: “We enjoyed a fantastic run in hurling, but we can put our hands up and say we were beaten by a very good Abbey CBS team. We gave it our best but weren’t good enough on the day.” Attracting students from the local town and nearby Kildorrery and Glanworth, Mitchelstown CBS’s football fortunes have also benefited from the revival in Tipperary football on its nearby border with students coming to the CBS from Clogheen, Galtee Gaels and Ballyporeen while players also commute each day from the nearby villages of Ballylanders and Kilbehenny.

“We’d a good squad of 21/22 players when they came into first year,” admits Duggan. “A few dropped out but that’s always the way.

This group won Cork Colleges titles at U14 B and u16 B level and a number of the senior panel today reached the Munster U161/2 C final last year. Nine of the senior squad will be leaving CBS this year.”

The school’s senior football captain, Colin English, hails from Fr. Sheehy’s/Clogheen. English is Mitchelstown’s go-to man and was an important member of the Tipperary minor football squad during its successful run to last year’s All Ireland final.

CBS’s path to today’s national final saw them secure wins in Munster over Ennistymon CBS, Douglas Community School, Patrician Academy Mallow, Maria Immaculate Lisdoonvarna and Milltown (Kerry) in the final.

“Our toughest game in Munster would have been against Lisdoonvarna. We then beat Dunshaughlin from Meath in the All-Ireland semi-final. It was 0-10 to 0-8 with ten minutes to go, but, then, for some reason, their defence disintegrated and we scored four goals.”

Ulster champions Warrenpoint represent a different challenge for Duggan and his team, and he’s aware of their danger areas, particularly their teak tough defence and his team will need to be at their best.

“They’re very good, have two very good corner forwards, very strong midfielder and very good centre-back. They’ll take beating. There are always good footballers in Down. They have a wonderful tradition in the game.”

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day. PS ... We would love to hear your feedback on the section right HERE.