COLAISTE Eoin face an uphill battle to reach their second All-Ireland Colleges Senior 'A' Football final when facing St Patrick's Maghera in Newry next Saturday afternoon.
The Derry school are the current holders of the Hogan Cup having trounced St Patrick's Navan in last year's decider and they appear in rude health after defending their Ulster title with a 1-12 to 1-8 success over Omagh CBS on St Patrick's Day.
Six out of the last eight MacRory Cup winners have gone on to claim national honours, but that statistic is of little relevance for this weekend, according to Coláiste Eoin manager Pádraig MacDonncha.
"Well, we know the strength of Post Primary football in Ulster and St Patrick's are an excellent side and worthy All-Ireland holders.
"We watched them against Omagh in the Ulster final and they are undoubtedly a very strong outfit. Certainly, we expect a tough battle on Saturday," said MacDonncha.
The bookmakers may have St Pat's at odds-on to defend their title claimed so emphatically last year, but Coláiste Eoin will enter the tie with confidence buoyed from their Leinster success over Marist College earlier in the month.
The Stillorgan outfit may not have produced the silky forward play that had been a hallmark of previous wins in the campaign, but the manner in which they seized control in the second half at Croke Park augurs well for their chances.
"Winning Leinster was a massive day for the school and given how close we had come in recent years, it was a hugely enjoyable day for everyone involved with Coláiste Eoin," said MacDonncha.
"However, we cannot see that win as the height of our ambitions and all the lads know that opportunities like this don't arrive too often, so there is a determination within the panel to ensure we get the most out of the year.
"The win over Marist was a huge battle and I think that will stand to us. The hard work has been done since then and we're in a good place going into Saturday's match.
"The lads are acutely aware of what is ahead of them and they are hugely determined and focused to put in a big performance."