Things warm up as schools finals beckon

The Allianz Cumann na mBunscol football leagues have reached the final stages.

The Allianz Cumann na mBunscol football leagues have reached the final stages.

The challenge in recent weeks has been to defy the weather and find pitches playable and available.

The Toymaster Roinn A league could see two country teams in opposition as Scoil Phadraig, Ballyhale have already qualified for the final. Last week, they edged out St Canice’s in a hard fought semi.

Only a single score separated the sides, with Ballyhale winning by 2-5 to 1-5.

Reigning champions Thomastown will take on Gaelscoil Osraí in the other semi. Thomastown will be eager to qualify to meet their neighbours Ballyhale in a unique all country Roinn A final.

The Educational Supplies Roinn B final will see Castlecomer take on Dunnamaggin. Castlecomer have been impressive.

They finished on top of their group, following a series of convincing victories. They will be keen to claim the Roinn B title, as they lost the Roinn B hurling decider earlier.

Dunnamaggin will have their sights set on victory. They have had to work a bit harder to earn their place.

They too topped their section in the league and had to grind out victories over Piltown and Gowran to claim their place in the final.

Unknown territory

The Corn na Tuaithe Country Cup competition is also nearing conclusion. In 2012, Danesfort went into the relatively unknown territory of Roinn A football as Roinn B winners. To compete in some meaningful way was really their ambition, but the competition was barely warmed up when they realised they could do more.

A baptism of fire against Ballyhale seemed to indicate the possible gulf in abilities with the Shamrocks boys taking two points. The following games against Clara, Goresbridge Paulstown and St Patrick’s netted them six points, and suddenly their confidence was rising. A splendid game against Thomastown followed, and if the ’Town won, they were made work.

A win against St John’s gave the newcomers eight points out of a possible 12. This was respectable in their first year in the top grade. When St John’s secured a surprise win against Thomastown, there was a three way play-off to decide who qualified for the Roinn A semi finals. St John’s drew Danesfort, with the winners facing Thomastown.

St John’s reversed the league defeat in a cracking game, 2-4 to 0-6. This effectively ended any hopes of a semi spot for Danesfort, but there was other fish to fry in the flavour of the Country Cup.

Danesfort’s progress in this competition was steady and assured, highlighting their growing confidence. A clinical win against Gowran in the first round (5-7 to 4-3) set-up Danesfort with a second round tie against Dunnamaggin. This produced the game of the competition for Danesfort. The final score of 2-7 to 1-6 left them staring at the quarter-finals against the northerners, Urlingford.

Ideal conditions

Played in ideal conditions in Conahy, Danesfort were easy winners. Their next meeting was against Coon Muckalee. This game was played in very windy conditions. At times, the wind seemed to act as a spoilsport. At half time, the score read 0-2 to 0-1 for Coon Muckalee. Danesfort won in the end, 1-3 to 1-2.

The other semi sees Thomastown bid for another school’s final appearance (these are the golden years certainly for the ‘Town boys). Their opponents are Kilmanagh, who are also no strangers to finals in recent times. This decider is not fixed yet, as Thomastown are still in the Roinn A semi against Gaelscoil.

It is expected that the Country Cup final will be played the first week in December, and playing the game under lights is being considered.

The Roinn A and B deciders are provisionally fixed for Saturday as we go to press, but times and venues have to be confirmed due to the uncertain forecast. Check the Kilkenny GAA website for the updates.