By Shaun Casey
IT’S been a successful few years for Donaghmore youngster Ronan Molloy, who leads St Joseph’s Grammar into Saturday’s Paddy Dummond Cup All-Ireland final against Abbey CBS of Tipperary.
Donaghmore have claimed back-to-back league and championship doubles over the last two seasons at club level and that experience will come in handy when the pressure comes on this weekend.
“There’s a lot of those boys out there as well, the experience that brings to the team is class so that definitely helps,” said the Donaghmore skipper. “Going out on the big day there will be nerves and all that but with the games that some of these lads have played in before, that helps everyone.
“Experience does drive the team on and we’re just very lucky that we have that experience in massive amounts. It helps when you’re going into a big game that you’ve played in big games before, so it just becomes another game.
“It’s an unbelievable occasion. We set out at the start of the year with two targets, one was to win the MacLarnon Cup and the other one was to get to an All-Ireland final and do our best there. So, we’re happy we’re here and we can’t wait for it.”
Molloy, who captained the side to the school’s first ever MacLarnon Cup title this season with a 16-point victory over Rathmore Grammar, Belfast, said it’s a “massive achievement” to lead his side into an All-Ireland final.
“The build-up to Saturday’s showdown has been brilliant as well and there’s a great buzz around the camp. Being the captain of this team ahead of an All-Ireland final is just massive,” added Molloy.
“It’s a massive achievement for the team and I’m just happy to try and guide the lads on and we’ll try to do our best.
“The buzz around training over the last couple of weeks has been unbelievable.
“After the MacLarnon final we got the celebrations out of the road, and we got back to training as quickly as possible. The buzz and the build-up has been class. Everyone wants to be here and that’s just driving everyone on.”
Molloy also paid tribute to the management team that has helped guide the youngsters to this stage in the competition. “Niall (Kelly) and Tom (McGrath), ‘Minty’ (Paul O’Hagan) and the big man, Mr (Donal) Gallagher, those boys, anything we’ve needed we’ve got it.
“The time and effort that they have put behind us and into this team is just unbelievable, it’s like a county set up. Anything we have needed inside school or outside of school, we’ve got it and that’s a massive help as well.
“The experience they have too, Mr. Gallagher has been coaching school teams for maybe 25 years so that’s a big help. We’re trying to do it for them as well because they love it.”