By Barry O’Donnell
St Joseph’s Donaghmore captain Ronan Molloy hopes that the big game mentality which many of the squad have accrued playing for club and county will help carry them to success in the MacLarnon Cup final on Friday night.
The Convent face Belfast side Rathmore in the decider at the Dub Arena, aiming to continue their ascent through the ranks in Ulster Schools football.
Their challenge is backboned by players who have tasted plenty of success already at local and provincial level, with Molloy one of those key to their bid for glory this weekend.
A pivotal member of Donaghmore, St Patrick’s back-to-back Grade One Championship winning minor sides, he also savoured Ulster u-17 Championship glory with his county last year.
Molloy hopes that their experience of major finals will stand to them when they come up against the boys from the big smoke.
“A lot of our team have played for the Tyrone minors and played in big games. The chemistry is very high in the team.
“We’re back-to-back double winners in Grade One, and we have a lot of players from that (St Patrick’s) team. This is just another day out, and we’re just going to have to play the game, not the occasion, and see if we can get over the line.”
Molloy admits that in terms of the school’s growing stature as a force in schools’ football, then Friday night is a massive occasion in terms of their development.
“This is the biggest event the school has had in terms of football, it’s going to be a great day.
“It’s definitely a talented bunch. I love playing with the lads, and the buzz around training is just unbelievable.
“Everyone is backing us, because they know the potential is there, and we’re happy to be here.”
St Joseph’s have had things all their own way for the most part in their march to the decider and Molloy accepts that a sterner test or two would have been preferable heading into the final.
“Maybe a tougher contest would have benefited us, but you just have to play what’s there and try and do your best to come out on top.
“First day out against (St Paul’s) Bessbrook, it was a close game. There was a big breeze, and we had it in the first half, so it was a game of two halves.
“Ever since then we have been going well. Everyone says we haven’t been challenged, but we can only play what’s in front of us. But we know it’s not going to be easy against Rathmore.
“Everyone is behind us in the local community. My club Donaghmore and the other club in the parish, Galbally, we train on their pitches, and they’re backing us.
“So we’re just happy that everyone is behind us and looking us to do well.”