Today’s Dr Harty Cup quarter-final clash with Castletroy College in Cahir marks new territory for Youghal’s Pobalscoil na Tríonóide.
Having opened in 2006 after the merging of the town’s other establishments – Youghal CBS, Coláiste Eoin and Loreto Convent – the community school has had brief spells in Munster’s premier hurling competition, without reaching the latter stages.
Backboned by the Munster U16½B and Cork U16B winning sides of 2012-13, this year they have made an impact. Manager Brian Lotty admits circumstances dictate the playing of a long game in the search for success.
“When I first arrived 22 or 23 years ago, a lot of the time the school was competing at C level, so there was an effort made to improve on that.
“We’re now at the stage where we’re looking to play at A level in the Cork competitions, sometimes that’ll be good enough for A at Munster but other times we’ll play at B.
“What we try to do is put in place four-year plans for the students in first year, so by the time they get to transition year they have all of the necessary skills. There’s a lot of work involved, they’re basically out there twice a week from the time they start, but you’re looking at the bigger picture.
“Transition year is optional in the school, but we try to get the players who would still be underage in sixth year to stay on and a lot do. Even as far back as first year, you’d be looking at the dates of birth to see who falls on which side of June 1.”
The Pobalscoil na Tríonóide team is primarily a mix of Youghal and Killeagh/Ita’s, the latter having reached the county Premier 1 MHC final last year, though two members, Eddie O’Halloran and John Paul Lucey, have played minor for Waterford.
Lotty believes having 11 players up to the age is a real boost. The bulk of the team benefited from what was a tough campaign last year.
“We lost all three group games,” he says, “most of the team would have come straight from the U16 wins of the previous years. It was difficult at the time but the experience has stood to them, I think.
“A lot depended on the first game this year against Templemore but once we won that we got a bit of confidence and we were in the driving seat.
“After we beat St Caimin’s, we lost to Rochestown, but we knew that winning the last game against Charleville would put us through. They had beaten us by three points last year but the lads put in a great performance.”
And so the focus turns to today and the possibility of reaching the last four.
“I think you’d probably say Castletroy are at a similar level to ourselves,” Lotty says.
“They’ve a nice mix of players, like we do. They won their group so they probably won’t fear us but we won’t fear them either.”
Today’s Dr Harty Cup action
(1.30pm unless stated)
Hamilton HS v Ardscoil Rís, Mallow
A repeat of last year’s semi-final, which Ardscoil won en route to claiming the title. The schools also met in the group stages last year, a game the Limerick side also won, and they are favourites to make it three in-a-row, despite Hamilton winning all of their group games. Ronan Lynch, Peter Casey and Eoin Mulcahy give them a strong look in attack but their Bandon opponents have some star performers too. Centre-back Chris O’Leary can dominate while Luke Meade is on the Cork panel and Eoin O’Reilly has a good eye for goal.
Verdict: Ardscoil Rís
St Francis College, Rochestown v Nenagh CBS, Charleville
Rochestown are third favourites behind Thurles and Ardscoil Rís and showed their quality in the group stages as they won all their games. Shane Kingston, Ciarán Cormack and Seán Powter help to give their attack varying sources of threats while John Cashman is excellent at centre-back. Nenagh, however, will be buoyed by the impressive second-half comeback which saw them edge out Midleton CBS in the final group game. Keith Nealon, John Cahalan and Ruadhan Mulrooney are all capable of making an impact.
Castletroy College v Pobalscoil na Tríonóide Youghal, Cahir
Thurles CBS, who beat Gaelcholáiste Mhuire AG last week, await the winners of this clash in the semi-finals. Apart from a defeat to Doon, Castletroy impressed as they topped their group, their team underpinned by the likes of Limerick minors Barry Nash and Andrew La Touche Cosgrave while John Nicholas can also contribute important scores. Declan Dalton is the primary score-getter for Youghal, who can also call upon big contributions from centre-back Darragh O’Brien and midfielders John Paul Lucey and Matthew Farrell.
Verdict: Castletroy College
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved