Wednesday 7 December 2016

History on cards as Sligo schools duel for Connacht Colleges title

Michael Verney

Published 05/03/2016 | 02:30

Between the two Sligo sides they have lost five out of the last six finals with Summerhill beaten in 2010, '11, '12 and '15 and despite the lack of silverware, Breheny is quick to point out that underage policies are reaping rewards, something he relishes given he is current Sligo senior captain.
Between the two Sligo sides they have lost five out of the last six finals with Summerhill beaten in 2010, '11, '12 and '15 and despite the lack of silverware, Breheny is quick to point out that underage policies are reaping rewards, something he relishes given he is current Sligo senior captain.

The exploits of his older brother Tommy with Summerhill College, Sligo in 1985 were heard regularly by Mark Breheny growing up and having never made it over the line himself, today he has the opportunity to bridge a 31-year gap in the Connacht Colleges Senior 'A' football final.

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As coach to the current Summerhill crop, where he works as a maths and business studies teacher, Breheny recalls the missed opportunities along the way and believes it would be "nearly as special to win it as part of a management team".

After a lightning-quick start they put their Sligo counterparts St Attracta's, who they meet again today in a first all-Sligo final at Markievicz Park (3.0), to the sword in the league final in January but lessons have been learned from last year's final reversal.

"We're just focusing on our own performance," Breheny said. "Last year we beat Roscommon CBS well in the league final before losing to them by a point in the Connacht final. League is not remembered, it's all about championship now."

Between the two Sligo sides they have lost five out of the last six finals with Summerhill beaten in 2010, '11, '12 and '15 and despite the lack of silverware, Breheny is quick to point out that underage policies are reaping rewards, something he relishes given he is current Sligo senior captain.

Prospect

One exciting prospect who has already made his mark with Niall Carew's senior side is Summerhill attacker Kyle Cawley, called in on the back of scoring 1-6 for St Mary's in their county final win last year.

Cawley grabbed headlines when striking the crucial goal in Sligo's Allianz NFL Division 3 win against Westmeath and Breheny hopes he can perform despite the added pressure of "coming back to schools' level".

It's a unique pairing given the absence of big guns like St Jarlath's, Tuam and St Gerald's, Castlebar but St Attracta's, Tubbercurry boss Colm McGee is quick to point out that the only history they want is claiming a first Connacht 'A' title, having only stepped up from 'B' three years ago.

"People are saying the novelty all-Sligo pairing is great but really it's waste of time unless we win it," McGee said. "It means nothing. If we were playing Jarlath's or whoever it wouldn't matter so we just need to focus on getting our own heads right and performing."

Tubbercurry have quality in the likes of star forward Liam Gaughan and county U-21 panellist Nathan Mullen but are still without last year's minor captain Eddie McGuinness, and McGee has no qualms in lauding Summerhill's quality.

"They are the best school team I've seen since I came here, they are a class side with so much power. We know them well and know what they're capable of," McGee said.

Thirty-one years or a maiden title, Yeats would certainly write about it.

Irish Independent

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