All-Ireland Vocational Schools Senior ‘A’ Football Championship Semi-Final

Cnoc Mhuire Granard manager James Carroll looks on during the Leinster Vocational Schools Senior A Football Championship Final on Saturday last at the St. Loman's grounds Mullingar.

For Cnoc Mhuire teacher and the school’s senior football team manager James Carroll it’s a case of role reversal as he hopes his homework on Clonakilty Community College can lead to a place in the All-Ireland Vocational Schools ‘A’ Championship Final at Croke Park on Saturday April 13th.

The Granard school take on the Cork side on Saturday next in the All-Ireland semi-final at Sean Treacy Park in Tipperary town and Carroll told the Leader that he will do as much research and preparation as he can for the game: “A school coming out from Cork is always going to be very good as they take their football very serious down there. We will be giving everything going into the game and we will be doing our bit of research on the opposition.”

Clonakilty won this competition back in 2010 and got to the final in 2011 so Cnoc Mhuire supremo Carroll is under no illusions about the tough task that lies ahead for his side. “There is no bigger motivation than winning that match and getting a game in Croke Park and it is every boy’s dream to play at the National Stadium. We will be very focused and will do everything that we can to get to Croke Park,” said Carroll.

James and his players were taking each game as it came but as they progressed in the competition he kept an eye on possible All-Ireland opponents. “I know we were taking it one game at a time but a few weeks ago I did a bit of research on Munster and who had been winning down there. Clonakilty have been in All-Ireland Finals in the last few years and will be tough opponents.”

Cnoc Mhuire got to this stage of the championship by beating some stiff opposition and staged a remarkable fightback against Ashbourne Community School (Meath) in the Leinster Final. Carroll believes that game can stand them in good stead for the clash with the Munster champions: “It’s the tight games that mean a lot more to you than when you win well and hopefully that will help us against Clonakilty. In the two All-Ireland U-16 Finals we won in 2011 and 2012, we emerged victorious by a point on each occasion.”

Clonakilty will provide stern opposition but Cnoc Mhuire are backboned by players who have developed a habit for winning and Carroll hopes their winning streak can continue on Saturday. “These boys are used to winning and hopefully that can continue. David McGivney and Aidan McElligott and the other Leaving Cert players have achieved a lot of success since their first year in the school, most notably the back-to-back All-Ireland U-16 ‘A’ titles, and most of the current senior team were members of the Longford Vocational Schools squad that won the Leinster Inter-County Senior ‘A’ title back in January. They have developed a winning habit and even in the recent Leinster final against Ashbourne when they didn’t play well, they still won.”