ST EUNAN’S COLLEGE manager James Gordon was fretting a little this week as his side’s Danske Bank MacLarnon Cup quarter-final was being rescheduled.
A Saturday fixture at Owenbeg, throw-in 12 noon, meant a number of his players might’ve been unavailable due to one reason or another against St Louis Ballymena.
However, goalkeeper Matthew Gallagher has been given the green light to represent his school by Donegal minor manager Shaun Paul Barrett, who has a get-together organised. Meanwhile Donegal U-17 manager Brian McGeehin has also let the county panellists go to the Derry Centre of Excellence.
However, Lee Doherty cannot make the journey due to work commitments and Shane Doherty is holidaying in Dubai over the mid-term.
“I’d like to thank to county management at both the minors and the Under-17’s for freeing the players,” Gordan said. “It was awkward after our original match was abandoned to get pitches and we didn’t have much free time as a lot of the players have Mock Leaving Cert exams this week.
“At one stage I feared the worst as apart from our three players who were injured – Rory Carr, Niall O’Donnell and Kevin Grant – we should have everyone bar Lee. We can’t quibble about the venue with it being the time of year that it is. ”
Last Monday week, the Letterkenny side’s last eight tie was abandoned at Banager, Co Derry, by referee Barry Cassidy after six minutes in awful weather conditions.
Neither side complained, with Gordan and his opposite number Gearóid Adams – son of Sinn Féin leader Gerry – agreeing with Cassidy’s call.
“It wasn’t safe,” Gordan added. “Barry Cassidy said he couldn’t even communicate with his players it was so windy. Nobody could even hear the whistle.”
Carr is a huge loss to St Eunan’s. The Donegal senior panel member dislocated his shoulder on club duty with St Eunan’s in the Ulster Club Minor semi-final against Enniskillen Gaels in late December at St Paul’s in Belfast.
Kevin Grant picked up a back injury before that tournament and picked up a recurrence whilst playing rugby last month. O’Donnell, one of the brightest talents in the county, is likely to be a substitute due to a knee injury and might “only see action if it’s in the melting pot late on” according to his manager.
St Eunan’s opened this term’s MacLarnon campaign with a comfortable 3-13 to 0-6 win over St Joseph’s from Crossmaglen, with Ryan McLaughlin, Odhran McFadden and Niall O’Donnell getting the goals.
Against St Columb’s from Derry, they let a seven-point lead slip, but were content to get a draw. Conor Callaghan scored their goal on a day when they were all square 1-8 to 2-5, Caoimhin Marley arching over a late ’45 to rescue it.
After victory over St Malachy’s Belfast, the group stage was completed when St Eunan’s defeated Knock from Belfast 1-9 to 1-6 with Aaron Deeney netting the goal.
The last time St Eunan’s were in the MacLarnon Cup, they won it. That victory came on St Patrick’s Day 2014 with Carr and O’Donnell featuring against neighbors Coláiste Inis Eoghain at the Athletic Grounds in Armagh.
A 1-7 to 1-5 win sealed a fifth win in the competition, following up on the successes of 1968, 1979, 2000 and 2007. Therefore, no player from the school has ever won the MacLarnon Cup twice, although O’Donnell and Carr have that chance this year, but they won’t start on Saturday.
“Caomhin Marley, our captain, said the last day that with it being the knock-outs of the MacLarnon Cup, every game might be the last they play as a group,” Gordan said. “They’ve been together for years and have been knocking on the door. The MacLarnon Cup is something that’s considered very special in this school.”Tags: