MIKE Keohane can remember the last time Mount Saint Michael, Rosscarbery captured the Munster colleges’ U19B senior football title. It was in 1996, just his second year as a coach with the school. Great memories from an adventure that saw the Ross team defeat St Augustines from Waterford (2-9 to 1-9) in the provincial final.
That ’96 Munster triumph was a magical moment for the school, and the class of 2022 now has the chance to end Mount Saint Michael’s 26-year wait to bring this title back to Rosscarbery.
The name of the competition has changed – previously the Corn Uachtaráin, now the Corn Dhonncha Uí Nuanáin – but the prize, title and honour up for grabs remain the same.
‘We won this title in 1996 for the first time,’ explains Mike Keohane who is co-manager of the team along with James O’Sullivan, well known for his exploits with St James.
‘We made it to the final in 1997 as well but we lost to Abbey CBS – our opponents this Saturday – by a few points. We were in the final, again, in 2019 and we lost to Rathmore from Kerry, who got a goal in injury time. We have won All-Ireland and Munster titles at other levels before but at this specific level it’s our fourth time in the Munster final.’
Standing in Mount Saint Michael’s way in Saturday’s Munster senior B final in Mallow (12.30pm throw-in) is The Abbey School, formerly known as Abbey CBS, from Tipperary Town. This will be the biggest challenge the West Cork school has faced this season, but so far they’ve jumped every hurdle. They defeated Midleton CBS, 3-11 to 2-7, in their opening game, rallying from two points down late on to win by seven in six minutes of injury time – that highlights the character of this group. Next, Mount Saint Michael beat De La Salle Macroom, 4-8 to 0-11, in the quarter-finals before travelling deep beyond enemy lines, into Killarney, and defeating St Michael’s College, Listowel, 1-11 to 0-12, in the semi-finals. Again, the Rosscarbery secondary school showed their character as they came from four points down early in the second half, inspired by a goal from Kilmacabea’s Owen Tobin.
GAA tradition in the school is strong, and so too is its catchment area even though Mount Saint Michael’s is sandwiched between big towns, two of which have schools that compete in the next level up, the Corn Uí Mhuirí (Skibbereen Community School and Clonakilty Community College). The school’s current senior panel draws on players from Carbery Rangers, Kilmacabea, St James, Castlehaven, Clann na nGael, Kilmeen, Tadhg MacCarthaigh and Ilen Rovers. And they’ve all come together in this journey to the Munster colleges’ U19B football final.
‘We believe in our players, we trust in them and our method is very simple: we play them in their right position and we encourage them to play football,’ Keohane explains.
‘Abbey CBS will be a big challenge for us, they will go in as favourites, but we’re up for this, and we are not going in fearing any challenge or anyone. This is a team that went to Killarney and got a result. We know the ability in our team and we know on our day we can beat anyone and we have shown that this season.’
The Mount Saint Michael senior football panel includes: Daragh Twomey (Carbery Rangers), Liam Tobin (Kilmacabea), Niall Keane (Carbery Rangers), Oisin Daly (Castlehaven), Eoghan O’Donovan (Kilmacabea), Seamus O'Mahony (Carbery Rangers), Owen Tobin (Kilmacabea), Oisin O'Sullivan (Kilmeen), Peader O'Rourke (Carbery Rangers), Michael Maguire (Carbery Rangers), Conor Twomey (Carbery Rangers), Conor O'Sullivan (Kilmeen), Ben Linehan (Carbery Rangers), Ciarán Santry (Carbery Rangers), John Keating (Kilmacabea), Ciarán O’Regan (Clann na nGael), Denis White (St James), Robbie McCarthy (Kilmacabea), Colm Cuinnea (Carbery Rangers), Edwin Collins (Ilen Rovers), Paudie Gore (Kilmacabea), Eamonn O’Donoghue (Carbery Rangers), Cillian Whelton (Kilmacabea), Colm Hayes (Carbery Rangers), Ronan Hayes (Carbery Rangers), Matthew Fitzpatrick (Carbery Rangers), Joseph O’Sullivan (St James), Sean Murphy (Carbery Rangers), Finn Hayes (Carbery Rangers), Cian Barry (Carbery Rangers) and Cormac O’Shanahan (Tadhg MacCarthaigh).