Hogan Cup final
v Naas CBS
Saturday, Croke Park, 2.25pm
Ref: Rory Hickey (Clare)
St Michael’s Captain, Brandon Horan is still reeling in the immediate aftermath of the final whistle. His side have just secured themselves a shot at holy grail of colleges football with a place in the Hogan Final.
“It was a great feeling to hear the final whistle go after such a tense battle. To win any semi-final by six points is a great achievement never mind an All-Ireland semi-final.
“We knew we had learned enough valuable lessons from our previous games and with the quality that we have, we had a good chance to get into the Hogan final and to finally achieve that was brilliant.”
Horan believes that the tough competition in the MacRory Cup gave his side great belief and hope that they could push on for a place in the All-Ireland Final. “Coming out of Ulster gave us huge belief and excitement for ourselves, our families and the entire school community. From the start of the year we knew we had the quality to win a MacRory Cup and thankfully we have achieved that. After that game, we regrouped and set out our targets for the Hogan, and we knew if we put everything into it, we had a great chance of reaching the Hogan cup final.”
The Drumclay leader sees a massive improvement in his team since they started back in September, but realises that the Enniskillen outfit have to go to a whole new level if they are to produce the goods in Croke Park.
“This team has improved as a unit and individually from we first came together back in early September. We knew we had come out on top of some great battles in our group games, and the latter stages of the MacRory Cup as well.
“Some lads had great games and individual performances throughout this campaign and so as a unit, we have improved in confidence and belief, but we know we have another level in us yet and we must produce this in our next game.”
Naas will present a huge challenge, but the midfield maestro says St Michael’s will look to express themselves and showcase their talents on the big stage once again.
“To play on the biggest stage in GAA will be surreal. These moments are all about taking in the atmosphere and enjoying it. We will set out to express ourselves and work hard for each other, like we have done in our previous matches.
“One of Dom’s key messages is to showcase our individual talents and to go out and express ourselves, something we hope to bring to a new level on Saturday.”
Horan insists St Michael’s side will not be fazed by the bright lights on Saturday. He is positive they can produce another solid performance to wrap up their colleges campaign on a high.
“It is an All-Ireland final. Great quality will be on show and both teams will put their bodies on the line. Any final comes with excitement and hype. We’re just hoping we can put in another good performance.”