Holders St Pat's Maghera have progressed to the Hogan Cup Colleges Football Final after a 1-14 to 0-8 win over Dublin school Colaiste Eoin.
Conor Convery hit nine points for the MacRory Cup winners with Danny Tallon netting a first-half penalty.
Convery burst into tears at the final whistle after a week in which one of his cousin's had died tragically.
"Conor and his family have come through a very tough few days," said Maghera coach Paul Hughes."
The family are very committed to the school and it was their wish that Conor went ahead and played.
"We are very respectful of that decision and I am very pleased that it has worked out for him on the pitch today."
Convery was off-target with an early effort or two but he got into his stride, finishing an excellent length of the field Maghera move with a tap-over point in the 18th minute.
By half-time he had accumulated 0-4 and after having a goal effort brilliantly saved by Seán Ó Dubhláin in the 22nd minute.
The key score of the opening half, however, was Tallon's 11th-minute penalty after Conor Glass had been hauled down.
Coláiste Eoin came out of their shell after the goal and Rian Mac Giolla Bhríde fired over three excellent points to close the gap to 1-2 to 0-4 after 26 minutes.
Convery, however, reeled off three points before the break and was on target once more on the re-start, when Maghera hit three scores in the opening four minutes, the others from captain Peter Hagan and a Paul McAtamney free.
The impressive Paul Gunning helped set up Convery's four scores in the final quarter.
Maghera's opponents in the Croke Park showdown in a fortnight's time will be another Irish-speaking school, Pobalscoil Chorcra Dhuibhne from the Kerry Gaeltacht, who defeated St Gerald's Castlebar, 2-11 to 2-2.