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Ratoath favourites

CHAMPIONS Ratoath College kick off the defence of their FAI Schools Junior Cup crown next week and will be the team to beat this year.

The Meath school host Blakestown Community School in the first round of this year's competition and how their new batch of stars get on will say a lot about their chances of reaching a third straight final.

Twelve months after losing to De La Salle Wicklow in the 2011 showpiece, Ratoath looked odds-on to fall at the final hurdle against St Benildus College in last year's final.


A super second-half comeback saw them win 3-2 on the day and take the title, but only Glenn O'Reilly, Shane Clayton, Daniel O'Sullivan and Daniel Chochlinski remain from last year's squad.

Benildus will be hopeful of going one better by combining what's left of last year's panel with graduates from their Minor Cup-winning side.

Semi-finalists last year, Killinarden CS, have not entered this year's competition, but the other of the last season's final-four teams, St Kevin's CC, are already up and running.

Ireland Under-16 international Dylan McKeever completed a brace with an extra-time winner as Kevin's came from three goals down to beat Firhouse CC 4-3 in last week's first-round clash.