Naas CBS went where no Kildare School had gone since 1923 when they captured the Br.Bosco Cup for the first time last year and tomorrow night they look to repeat the trick when they take on the combined amalgamation of Wicklow Schools in Parnell Park.
The only other Kildare School to win the competition are St.Thomas’s who are Newbridge College under their modern guise and like Naas they made two consecutive final’s in winning one and losing one so a win for Ronan Joyce’s side will put them top of the tree in the County’s roll of honour.
Last year’s team defeated Marist Of Athlone in the final on a 0-9 to 0-7 scoreline before they bowed out to Rice College of Mayo in the last four.
Of the starting team in that final there are only four returnees in David Morrissey, Conall Gallagher, this year’s captain Jack Hamill and Tony O’Connor.
There are others who were on the squad but for the most part it’s a completely new team that has impressed so much this year.
The group stages proved to be a complete walk in the park as they easily got over the challenges of St.Aidan’s, Maynooth and St.Benildus.
Further knockout wins followed over St.Mel’s of Longford and Scoil Mhuire Clane before they received their stiffest test in the Colaiste Eoin game.
Two Eoin Conneff goals originally looked to have set them up for victory but after the Dublin side battled to get level, Naas had to rely on a couple of great saves from David Morrissey before Drew Costello and Mikey McGovern put the seal on the result.
The manager was understandably pleased with the victory.
“It took us a while to get going in both halves but at the end of the day we came up here for a result and we got that so we are happy enough and looking forward to the final but I suppose that was the first real test that we had and the lads showed great character near the end to come out with a few balls that they maybe shouldn’t have got and we’re very happy to get over the line”.
“The goals were crucial and they changed the game really with two in each half and to be fair we were threatening there for a while and if you try hard enough the ball is going to drop at some stage. Eoin Conneff’s goals set us on our way and it was a great position to be in as we were a goal up playing against the wind but they got back level within fifteen minutes of the second half so just delighted to get the win in the end”, Joyce said.
Paddy McDermott went off with a serious looking injury during the game and while Naas have a strong squad the loss of McDermott would be significant as he brings great pace to the game.
The opponents are made up of a number of Schools in the Garden County and they got to this stage by defeating Offaly Schools and St.Pat’s of Navan.
Despite Wicklow Schools being relatively novices at this level a lot of the players will be fairly familiar with each other after a number of them played on the Kildare and Wicklow teams in last year’s Minor Football Semi-final.
There is also a Kildare star on the Wicklow team with St.Laurence’s Aaron Kennedy in their ranks and he was also on that victorious Lillywhite Minor team.
As well as that there are players from Blessington, Ballymore and Eadestown on the Naas team so it will be a hotly contested local derby.
In a bizarre turn of faith, win or lose Naas will make the Semi-Finals as combined outfits aren’t allowed participate in the All-Ireland Series.
Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne await in the last four on Saturday afternoon after they defeated fellow Kerry outfit St.Brendan's of Killarney to take the Munster Title almost three weeks ago.
Despite the guaranteed passage though Joyce says Naas will be going all out for back to back Provincial crowns.
“We look at the next game and getting to final’s is all about getting a bit of silverware and while it's great to be in an All-Ireland Semi-final at the same time, it's all about Wednesday Night”.
Naas CBS are primed for action and although they will be hot favourites, if they get their game in vogue it's hard not to see them getting over the line.
Throw-in is at 7.30 and Kildare Now will be there to provide full coverage.
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