Ardee, St. Marys' Jonathan Commins during last year's MFC final against Geraldines. (Pic: Ciarán Culligan)
Ardee, St. Mary’s will hope to complete the championship set on Sunday afternoon by winning the double at U18 level having done so at U16 (2016) and U14 (2014).
Several of Noel McGillick’s charges were part of last year’s Fr. Murray Cup winning team, Marys’ first ever minor victory as a sole entity. Captain Liam Jackson was also a star of the Louth team to reach last year’s Leinster final.
Thus, they enter Sunday’s curtain-raiser at the Gaelic Grounds as resounding favourites against the St. Mochta’s/St. Bride’s combination, who have now reached both league and championship finals, already losing the former to the glory chasing Deesiders.
However, McGillick is taking nothing for granted, conceding that the duo has given them their sternest challenges this season, running them to three points in the final round of the league.
“There was really only the bounce of a ball between us (in the league) and we respect them as a team,” he says.
“The club waited a long time to win this and it is something that we have strived towards again this year because you look at the Blues getting to three minor finals a few years back, winning two, and they have now kicked on at senior level with a large chunk of those teams.
“We’ve had the same group here since we were U12 and we’re confident. Training has been going well. There are nerves, but we’re enjoying the build-up because this might be the last final some of the lads play for the Mary’s so please God we can come out on the right side of the result.”
Carl Gillespie, a medallist 12 month ago, is the Páirc Mhuire side’s only injury absentee.