Troy feared most that if he backed down, then paramilitary groups would step in.
He said: "No one will ever know, thank God, but some of the paramilitaries might have taken it over and then it would have ended in bloodshed. And that's what kept me walking, because I said: 'This can be solved.'"
With the situation deteriorating, Troy realized that the two communities needed to find a communication channel. But reaching out might be regarded as an act of betrayal and, besides, it wasn't clear who to talk to among the protesters.
Nevertheless, the priest began speaking to unionist leaders.
"And then some of the protesters were invited in, and they were terrible meetings. They were so bad, because the animosity, particularly against me as a Catholic priest, was horrendous," he said.
"We stuck at it, and eventually, I remember handing over my mobile number to them and saying: 'This is ridiculous. We keep meeting every two weeks. The children are suffering. You're suffering.'"
The two sides met separately with politicians at Stormont, the Parliament Buildings in Northern Ireland. Slowly, a plan was formulated that would end the protests.
"On Nov. 23, 2001, the local community in Glenbryn had a meeting and by a very narrow majority, I believe, they agreed to suspend the action of blockade," he said.
It would take two years to iron out the protocols enabling the girls to walk the route to school.
"Bit by bit by bit, it died down," Troy recalled. "There was the occasional flare-up. Maybe at the beginning of the school year in September there would be a pipe bomb at the school gate. I know it sounds blasé, but that was minor in comparison to what we'd come through."
Troy aimed throughout to ensure that no one felt that they were either a victor or a loser.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Speaking of the protesters, he said: "I had actually got to know one or two of them sort of by sight, and occasionally, just to nod to them and say hello. And one of them, his sister died very suddenly. Through the clergy I found his phone number and I called him and expressed my sympathy. Well, he didn't know what to say and he didn't know what to do."
"That's what I mean by saying, never rub salt in the wound and say: 'This is a battle to the death till one side or the other wins.'"
"Now, I'm a football supporter. In sport, a draw's no use. You have to win. But in reconciliation, you have to find a higher level, and that is where both sides can go on living, even though one side is right and one side is wrong."
Only a minority of those involved in the conflict -- both Catholics and Protestants -- were weekly church-goers, Troy said, but nevertheless they were all shaped by Christianity.
"There was a sort of allegiance -- even if it was only like a folk memory -- to a higher value, which was the kingdom of God in some sense, of a church, a spiritual thing, and I could use that quite significantly," he noted.
"When I was talking to them in the school hall, I could actually appeal to them morally. And that, I think, is a very powerful thing. It won't always be a Christian thing. It won't always be a very religious thing. But I do think you need to be able to lift the argument beyond where the argument started, or else it can never end."