Abbey look for revenge

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

THE Abbey will be looking to avenge last year's Danske Bank MacRory Cup defeat to St Paul's Bessbrook when the pair clash tomorrow evening (Wednesday) at Armagh's Athletic Grounds (7.30pm throw-in).
Last year at Pairc Esler the county Armagh school, in their first year in the age-old competition, knocked out the boys in red, black and amber, with five points to spare, on their way to the St Patrick's Day final.
But Abbey manager Jody Gormley told the Democrat: "That was last year. In schools' football there are new players, new teams. So every year is different."
The Abbey coach continued: "But no doubt it will be a close encounter: we're building a good rivalry with St Paul's as we are playing each other regularly in different age group competition."
On paper the Abbey should start as favourites with the likes of skipper Donagh McAleenan, from St Peter's, Warrenpoint's and Rostrevor's Conor Doyle in their line-up. Also they have Burren ace marksman Ryan Treanor, a son of the famous John 'Shorty' Treanor, who is rapidly building a reputation as one for the future. In the Abbey midfield Saval's Shay Dobbin and Eoin McParland of Killeavy are seen as a powerful force while Camlough All Ireland boxing finalist Fearghus Quinn will lead a strong defence. Meanwhile St Paul's, managed by former Armagh star John Rafferty, will not go out of the competition without one hell of a scrap - and that despite losing most of last season's MacRory Cup Final squad. And in Jarleth og Burns they have a mercurial midfielder.
The College All Star, a son of St Paul's principal and former Armagh senior captain, Jarleth, is a dominant figure and he will be backed to the hilt by skipper and midfield powerhouse Aaron McKay.
And the Abbey will ignore the quicksilver Jody McGovern at their peril.
The Shamrocks lad, who is also on the books of Irish League giants Linfield, excels in both codes and can find the net in either. Another huge plus for the Bessbrook school is resolute defender Peter Campbell.
St Paul's principal Jarleth Burns told the Democrat: "We have a young, dedicated team. They watched last year's side and want to be as good as them. We have worked hard in preparation for the game but know that the Abbey are very strong. Last year's game was a model as how gaelic football should be played and was a great credit to how both teams were coached."
And hopefully Wednesday's game will be just as good. May the best team win.

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