Pobalscoil should be better equipped this year to deal with All-Ireland semi-final

Jason O'Connor

POBALSCOIL Chorca Dhuibhne return to the stage they reached last year as they enter their second successive Hogan Cup semi-final against St Pats of Navan this Saturday in Nenagh. The fixture will mean a flight back from Kerry's training camp in Portugal for team manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice and he admitted that it was not something he had expected to do in advance.

"Going on the dates we were given at the start we thought that this match was down for last Saturday but when it turned out that those were wrong we've had to readjust but thankfully it is feasible to travel over and back on the day with flights so we're all dealing with the card that has been dealt.

"For the players it has been difficult keeping that momentum from the Corn Ui Mhuiri Final going with club games and the lads who are in with the Kerry Minors have been preparing for that as well but the good thing is that we have had no major injuries coming into this bar a couple of knocks and bruises," he told The Kerryman.

Pobalscoil were impressive in seeing off St Brendans College, Killarney in the Corn Ui Mhuiri Final, Tomas O Se himself returning from London on the day of the final to put in a stellar performance as Eanna O Conchuir, Cathal O Luing and Padraig O Conchuir provided some much needed experience alongside players such as Barra O Suilleabhain and Padraig O Dubhain in earning another All-Ireland semi-final appearance.

Fitzmaurice admits that the players who were involved last year won't lack motivation following last year's defeat to St Michaels of Enniskillen.

"It's great for the lads from last year that they are getting another chance and we will be hoping that they will have learned from it. However it's a different game and it's going to be very difficult to beat St Pats because they are a school with plenty of tradition in this competition, they've won it in recent years while this is still a fairly new experience for our school.

"I know people will talk about omens and us going a step further each time over the last few years but football doesn't work like that and we're only focussing on going out there and doing our best against St Pats and seeing where that takes us."

In terms of omens St Pats have lost their last two Hogan Cup semi-finals against Kerry Schools, Tralee CBS (2007) and St Brendans (2010) but this is a totally different group of players that Colm O'Rourke's school will be bringing to Nenagh on Saturday.

If it comes down to experience then much will hinge on what the Pobalscoil players from last year have learned about handling occasions such as this. These games carry with them such a sense of the unknown however that you really can't make a decisive call on it until you see the two teams take the pitch. There is that sense of gradual improvement with each game that gives you the sense Pobalscoil have a big chance however.


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