High School and Columba's on track for semis

Stephen Findlater

HIGH School and St Columba's are in pole position going into the winter break to be the two schools to join perennial favourites St Andrew's and Wesley College in the Leinster Schools Senior 'A' semi-finals.

With the inclement weather ruling out the final two series of pre-Christmas games, Columba's -- inspired by Leinster U18 star Ross Canning -- are surprise leaders of Pool 2 of the competition.

It follows an impressive away win over King's Hospital and a 4-2 success over Dundalk GS, who have struggled again without the injured former Irish U16 international, Andrew Shekleton.

With Harry Morris providing a pillar of strength from the back and Jack Armstrong a combative presence, the Whitechurch school also added a draw with St Andrew's 'B' to be two points clear of the pack.

In January, though, they will be left to face pre-group favourites Wesley -- recent All-Ireland finalists -- and Sutton Park, who showed their ability to do damage when they held the Ballinteer outfit 1-1 on the opening day of the campaign.

It has made for a slightly more uncomfortable than expected campaign for Wesley, who have five players included in the Irish U18 trial panel, set to meet up for the first time at the end of the month.

St Andrew's -- the 2010 Senior Cup winners -- are in pole-position in Pool 1 with a perfect record from their three fixtures to date.


With Kilkenny already completing their programme of matches, the Booterstown school need just one point from their remaining games against previously winless Mount Temple and Wesley 'B'.

It leaves the door open for High School to jump the queue for a semi-final place.

They have been in red-hot scoring form of late with sixth-year Shane O'Donoghue the root of their prowess.

Already an Irish U21 international and a regular first team member for the past three seasons with Irish Senior Cup winners Glenanne, O'Donoghue has seen his side run up a 6-3 win over Newpark and a 7-5 success over Kilkenny.

Those two sides were expected to be the main contenders for the second semi-final place but the Rathgar men have given themselves a real chance of making it through.

Again, Mount Temple and Wesley 'B' provide the opposition in January with two wins guaranteeing their passage.

Anything less and Newpark could steal their way back into contention.