Friday 24 November 2017

Mooney key as holders look to counter Pat's goal threat

Macrory Cup Final

St Patrick's Dungannon v St Colman's Newry, Athletic Grounds, Armagh, 1.15. Live BBC2

DESPITE being the reigning All-Ireland champions, St Colman's go into this clash as underdogs.

That's because they are coming up against a St Patrick's Academy side boasting a number of the Tyrone minors who tasted glory last September and have been in free-scoring form.

Coached by senior All-Ireland winner Ciaran Gourley, Dungannon have the added incentive of dethroning the team who knocked them out in last year's Ulster semi-final with a late surge.

The Red Hand men have the man who lifted the Tom Markham Cup at Croke Park -- Shea McGarrity -- in their defence, while midfielder on that team Harry Og Conlon operates in the half-forward line, where he combines his fielding ability with some clever playmaking.

That creativity has helped St Pat's to become the most potent attack in the competition.

They ran up 2-18 on a fancied Omagh side in the early stages, and their 2-9 to 0-13 win over Enniskillen in the semi-final was thanks to a late Aidan McGarrity goal late, showing they have the spirit to get out of a tight spot.

St Colman's will look to Caolan Mooney for inspiration before his departure to Aussie Rules side Collingwood next year.

Mooney is joined in the team by eight of his colleagues from last year, including Ryan Johnstone, Ruairi Lively and Niall Donnelly.

St Colman's manager Cathal Murray feels the favourites tag will be irrelevant, but it appears his charges have much to do to prevent a changing of the guard.

"I don't read much into teams being favourites," he said. "They have the quality, they have been playing very well and are they team to beat. But we are only worrying about our own players."

Verdict: St Patrick's Academy


Irish Independent

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