ST. COLUMB’S College will try to make it second time lucky this Thursday when they take on St. Patrick’s, Downpatrick in an eagerly anticpated McLarnon Cup semi-final replay at Queen’s University’s new Dub Arena.
Given the nip and tuck nature of last week’s first meeting which took place in front of more than 600 paying spectators at the same venue, another good crowd in expected with large numbers travelling from Derry.
St. Columb’s have been installed by many as slight favourites due to their unbeaten status. The Buncrana Road boys have already defeated Kilkeel, Ballyshannon, Keady, Rathmore and St. Patrick’s, Cavan to reach the penultimate stage of the Under 18 competition.
However, Downpatrick were the better side in the first game, going in at half time with a 0-05 to 0-03 lead which they extended to 0-06 early in the second half.
St. Columb’s fought back with excellent scores from James McClay (2), Eoin Devine and Emmett McBride. Unfortunately, Downpatrick equalised in the 59th minute and probably at that stage both sides were happy with the draw.
St. Columb’s will once again look to their Derry minor quartet of Ryan Moore, Michael Sweeney, Emmett McBride and team captain Anthony Hargan to lead the charge along with talented midfielder Michael Brennan and his cousin Mark Brennan who scored two goals against Cavan in the quarter final. They will be hoping Sean Morahan can shake off a shoulder injury in time to start the game.
This game created a marvellous atmosphere last Thursday night and an even larger crowd is anticipated from the St. Columb’s supporters this time around.
The prize is a place in the televised MacLarnon Cup Final against St. Paul’s Bessbrook which this year takes place at the revamped Athletic Grounds in Armagh on March 19th.