posted 6 Apr 2015, 07:28 by Post Primary
updated 6 Apr 2015, 07:28
CPC Ballycastle Bounce Back
THEY are the greatest
school that the Croke Cup has ever seen and at Thurles last Saturday St
Kieran's collected a very special Masita GAA Post Primary Schools All Ireland
SH 'A' title.
Everyone knew they would be hard to beat and
such was the case as they claimed their 20th crown. In the end they had to dig
in - they prevailed by three but that lead was down to one at a stage in the
second half and we were left to wonder if the home side could pull off a shock.
tried - and they tried hard - but it was not meant to be. Instead the 'Terrific
Twenty' was achieved and Kilkenny's domination of the hurling landscape
continues apace. Several veterans and legends of the game may have retired from
Brian Cody's senior team this last year but there is serious talent emerging.
After savouring the win, St Kieran's manager
Liam Smith referred to the school's wall of fame and said the current bunch
would proudly take their place there now.
"We are absolutely delighted. In St
Kieran’s you’re judged by what’s up on the board and some of the boys are up
there again," he said. "Some of these lads have two medals and it’s
unreal. Any time I mention the wall the boys look at me and say, sir, you used
to have hair back then!
Everyone that comes in looks at that wall and the
lads are up on it again.”
men were well decorated as it was, both with their clubs and the Kilkenny minor
squad. Perhaps it was that confidence that propelled them into such a great
start - they led by three points early on until Thurles hit back with a Michael
Connors a 14th-minute goal.
Kieran’s didn't wait long to hit back. Before the game a lot of eyes were on
vice captain Liam Blanchfield who had been in tremendous scoring form and while
the Thurles guys were looking after him Ray Lahart snuck in for a great goal to
make a swift reply. Lahart
finished with 1-5 in a top class display.
It left them 1-10 to 1-7 clear at the break
and the majority of 3,642 spectators felt the holders were on their way.
But Thurles came out with all guns blazing and
points from Jack Skehan and Niall Heffernan reduced the deficit.
"We showed great character to hit four
unanswered points," Smith said. "And at that stage it drove us on. We
missed a few more chances but thankfully we got over the line."
Indeed they missed six shots on goal and
Kieran's, inspired by Bennettsbridge man Seán Morrissey who played with a
broken finger, hit his team's last point. Thurles were left in despair after a gallant effort came up just short.
Kieran's deserved this - they had been given a
brief scare against Presentation College Athenry in the semi-final but came
good late on again. Morrissey and Blanchfield were leaders throughout - both
already had medals in their pocket this season after starring for
Bennettsbridge in the All-Ireland Junior Club Hurling Final. What a season this
is turning out to be for them.
This game was a serious advertisement for
schools hurling, and once again the famed Kilkenny academy end up top of the
pile. In time they will look back at a superb first half where, despite
conceding an early goal, they led by
three points at the interval.
establishing that foothold the black and white hoops were not to be denied.
as many people expected, Cross and Passion, Ballycastle, losing finalists last
year, came good this time around when they landed the Masita GAA All-Ireland
Post Primary Schools Paddy Buggy Cup. The Antrim team can thank Shane McGrath
who hit 1-2 in the second half to topple Mountrath CS. It was an absolutely
cracking game with the teams level on eight occasions.
McGrath’s 55th minute goal was the turning
point. Mountrath never gave up, however, and Dylan Conroy scored a consolation
goal in the final minute.
another goal disallowed in stoppage time for a square ball but they largely
depended on twin brothers Stephen and Aaron Dunphy who scored six of their
points in the first half.
The Antrim lads, spurred on by the devastating loss of last year, were totally
are in the heart of North Antrim and we have been the most successful school in
the area winning numerous 'A' colleges titles at all levels in Ulster –
Thompson, McNamee, Gallagher and Forresters Cups," says Joe Cassidy of the
college. "We have been a real hurling nursery to Antrim over the years
supplying many greats such as all- stars Paul McKillen and OlcanMcFetridge and
hopefully now this will continue."