St Joseph's, Donaghmore target strong start in All-Ireland final showdown
IT has already been an historic season for St Joseph’s, Donaghmore after collecting the coveted MacLarnon Cup for the first time – but they are 60 minutes away from reaching the pinnacle as they take on Abbey CBS from Tipperary in the Paddy Drummond Cup final.
The All-Ireland schools senior ‘B’ decider takes place at The Downs in Westmeath on Saturday afternoon and the Tyrone lads will go into the game as favourites.
They have been in this position before when beating Rathmore Grammar in the MacLarnon final, but only after the Belfast school made life very difficult in the first half for them.
St Joseph’s, Donaghmore midfielder Shane Scullion is well aware of the need to get out of the blocks quickly this time around.
“We have played well at stages in games to date but I have no doubt that we will have to play well in the final on Saturday,” he admits.
“In the MacLarnon final we had a bit of a rough start and struggled to get going, but we played some good football in the second half and the aim this weekend will be to start the All-Ireland final the way that we finished the Ulster final.
“We have finished all our games strongly and if we can play like that for a longer spell then we won’t be far away.”
Shane’s club is Derrylaughan Kevin Barry’s, the same club as Tyrone All-Ireland midfielder Brian Kennedy, and he is enjoying the build -up both at home and at school. He can’t wait to take the field on Saturday.
“I have been getting messages flat out from everybody around the club and that gives you a great boost and hopefully I can go out on Saturday and do them all proud,” said Shane.
“The atmosphere at school this past few weeks has been great and it’s brilliant to be a part of it all.
“The buzz around the school in the build-up to the final is unreal. It’s only something that you could have ever dreamed of, but I can’t wait for the game to begin.
“As the game gets closer the focus becomes more intense and you have to try and block everything out.
“No doubt Mr Kelly will have his work done on our opponents and we will all find out what jobs we have to do.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and the aim of all the squad will be to perform to the best of our ability.
‘Every player in this team has loads of ability and we just have to go out and apply that for the full 60 minutes and extra-time if it goes to it.”