Toal expecting tough game as Dundalk Colleges start their campaign this week

DUNDALK Schools are looking to make the quarter-final stages of the Leinster Colleges A Championship for the second year in a row.

DUNDALK Schools are looking to make the quarter-final stages of the Leinster Colleges A Championship for the second year in a row.

To do so, they are going to have to beat a familiar opponent, Coliste Mhuire, who they came across at the same stage in the competition last year.

In St Loman's Park, Mullingar, Leslie Toal's side got the better of the home side, winning 1-8 to 1-6, courtesy of points from Michael Keane (four), Andrew Sharkey, (two), one each from Paddy Reilly and Niall Hearty and an own goal.

This year though, the Louth side have the upper hand as they are at home for the first time in their last five outings in the competition, something that has pleased manager Leslie Toal.

Dundalk Schools had three away games in the competition last year, and had to go to Edenderry the year before.

"It cost us a fortune, said Toal. "I went to the Leinster Council and said something had to be done with the fixtures as we had three away games in a row last year, first to Longford, then to Mullingar and then to South Dublin.

"It seems my calls fell on good ears this year. We deserved a home draw for once and now we have a good chance at making it through to the next round."

Toal only has up to four survivors from last year's squad as he has had to rebuild the team, but Coliste Mhuire have up to eight members that are eligible from last year's team.

"They are a good team. From what we have seen of them, they are a much larger team than us. Andrew English from St Mochat'a is out at full-back, he will be a loss to us, but hopefully we can through and Andrew can make it back into the team.

"We have home advantage and if we use the width in Darver, get people running on the ball, then we will stand a good chance of progressing, if they keep their heads."

So far, the schools team have had two challenge matches, one in which they won against Meath VEC, 0-14 to 0-11. Toal has also got them together in Dundalk Sportsdome for some extra training and after keeping an eye on the Lennon Cup in the latter stages of 2010, he has selected a team he think is capable of doing well in the competition.

"If we get through this round, it will be a great boost to them. I think we stand a chance. There has been a lot of improvements in underage football in Louth over the last number of years. If we get a few wins under our belt, it will make Thomas McNamee's job a lot easier when he selects his panel for the minor team."

The team is comprised of players from Coliste Rs, who won the Lennon Cup, De La Salle, (beaten finalists in the competition), St Mary's College and Dundalk Grammar School.

Dundalk Schools manager Lesie Toal (ABOVE LEFT) and Glen Traynor, one of the members of the panel on this year's squad.