Dundalk Schools are raring to go.
Those are the words of their coach, Leslie Toal as he and the management side prepare for the final this Saturday against St Patrick’s of Navan.
Reigning champions St Patrick’s managed to knock out favoured Moate CS, by 2-12 to 1-11 at the weekend.
It’s a repeat of the 2002 final when Toal’s side overcame St Patrick’s 1-8 to 2-3 on St Patrick’s Day to lift the title in Drogheda.
Now Toal is hoping his side can do it again and he feels his side can, after he witnessed the firepower of St Patrick’s on Saturday as he watched them in the semi-final.
“They have a very good centre half. Their player on the ‘40’ is very good as is their full forward, so we will be underdogs. But I think they will be more worried of us than we will be of them.”
Toal, along with Padraig Staunton, John Moylan, Donal Hegarty and Declan Hynes have guided the team to the final this year, their first since 2002.
Part of the reason why the team has stormed the competition is due to their lightning quick forward line, which has tore apart challengers en-route to the final, with Ciaran Byrne grabbing the headlines.
In a terrific outing, Byrne netted 2-8 in the semi-final against St Mary’s Edenderry but Toal says it’s the efforts of the whole squad which has took them this far and it will take the effort from every one of them to get them over the finish line.
“They are a bunch of good lads. We trained well last week, and we have two sessions this week.
“We played a good challenge match against the Louth Minor team last weekend and everyone came through unscathed.”
Dundalk have a full panel to choose from, as full-forward Conor Ryan could return to the starting line up following an ankle injury.
The game, which is set for Saturday at 2pm, could take place in Parnell Park, but a venue is still to be decided by Leinster Council.
Either way, Toal says his charges are eager to get out there.
“We have waited two weeks now for the final and we are ready to go this Saturday. Some of us went up to watch St Patrick’s and they are a good side, but I think this side can do it and end their run of dominance in the competition.”
Toal famously stopped the Pat’s from doing three-in-a-row back in 2002, something he thinks is a good Omen this time round.
“They are looking to defend it but we are ready. I think it’s a good Omen for us, yes.”
Looking back at the 2002 team, Toal cannot draw comparisons between the two sides. “The last team to win it were a great side. Many of them came through to the Louth Senior side and some of them are in this year’s side.
“This squad now has talented footballers, but it all depends on what they do after this.
“It depends on how they are coached and how they look after themselves, but if we can get another four or five to go onto the Senior team, then I would be delighted.”
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