For only the fourth time in the history of the competition, the Dr Harty Cup resides in Waterford after Dungarvan combination Coláiste na nDéise swept to glory in sparkling fashion at Cashel.
Coláiste na nDéise followed in the footsteps of the 1953 winning Mount Sion side and the De La Salle outfit that claimed back-to-back titles in 2007 and 2008, as they produced a dynamic and skilful display that broke the resistance of a brave Nenagh CBS challenge.
There was a great sense of expectation before this final began as both sides were pursuit of their first title and the novelty of the pairing attracted a huge crowd to Leahy Park. However a blistering opening half performance by Coláiste na nDéise settled the encounter as they enjoyed a 2-5 to 0-1 advantage after the opening quarter and by the interval were still in control as they led 2-10 to 0-5.
Nenagh CBS battled brilliantly to the final whistle, with Jack Peters and Jack Loughnane leading the way, but they could never make serious inroads into the Coláiste na nDéise advantage. The final whistle sparked huge scenes of celebration as the amalgamation, who lost their opening game to Midleton CBS, savoured a remarkable triumph.
“Kerry Colleges beat us two years ago and we were at the lowest ebb we could be,” revealed manager Darragh Duggan afterwards.
“They came from nowhere, it’s unbelievable. The boys have come back and you saw today how much they wanted it. Fellas asked did we want it more than Nenagh and I think we answered everyone today, with no little hurling as well.
“That can’t be overlooked. The boys have unbelievable skill. Looking at the Dungarvan lads after the Doon defeat last week was heartbreaking, they had it and they were sucker-punched. They learned from it and today weren’t going to be beaten.”
Nenagh coach CBS Donagh O’Donnell showed the polar opposite emotion: “We’re gutted. We thought we had everything right – kept to our routine and we just didn’t really show up. Maybe nerves got to us and we leaked two goals in the first ten minutes.
“After that it was going to be uphill. I’m very proud of the players, they’re such a good group. They work very hard and even despite the way the first half went, they kept plugging away in the second half.”
Coláiste na nDéise had an array of outstanding individual performers with the Curran brothers, Cathal and Patrick, posing problems for the Nenagh CBS rearguard all afternoon as they struck 2-11 between them. Kieran Power and Michéal Harney also had important roles to play in attack while Colin Dunford and Cormac Curran, a grandson of Austin Flynn the full-back on the 1959 Waterford All-Ireland senior winning team, excelled at midfield.
In defence Clashmore’s Tadgh Burke was hugely impressive while goalkeeper Eoin Kearns made a superb early save to deny Stephen O’Brien a potentially vital goal for Nenagh CBS.
Coláiste na nDéise were clinical from the off in attack while they displayed a sharpness all over the pitch that prevented Nenagh CBS from replicating the heroics of recent wins over Thurles CBS and Ardscoil Rís.
Patrick Curran smashed home their first goal in the ninth minute after a great team move involving Power, Harney and Cormac Curran. Then in the 12th minute, Cathal Curran blasted a 20-yard free to the roof of the net and Coláiste na nDéise were in a commanding nine-point lead.
Nenagh fought manfully to get back in contention, with Tadhg Gallagher hitting a couple of fine points, but Cathal and Cormac Curran raised four white flags at the end of the half, to reinforce Coláiste na nDéise’s superiority.
The Dungarvan combination maintained their focus after the interval with a defence led by Tom Tobin, Tom Devine and Burke in exemplary form and at one juncture enjoyed a 2-13 to 0-6 advantage. Nenagh CBS mounted a revival in the closing quarter with Jason Forde, who was well-marshalled by the Coláiste na nDéise defence, grabbing a late consolation goal.
Both sides were reduced to 14 men in the closing stages with Podge Shanahan (Nenagh CBS) and Evan Collins (Coláiste na Déise) dismissed in separate incidents.
Scorers for Coláiste na nDéise: Cathal Curran 1-9 (1-6fs), P Curran 1-2, Cormac Curran 0-2 (0-1f), C Dunford 0-1.
Scorers for Nenagh CBS: J Forde 1-4 (0-4f), T Gallagher 0-3, J Loughnane (1 65) 0-2, P Shanahan 0-1.
COLÁISTE NA DÉISE: E Kearns (St Mary’s); K Looby (St Oliver’s), T Tobin (St Mary’s), S O’Donovan (Modeligo); E Collins (Abbeyside), T Devine (Modeligo), T Burke (Clashmore); C Dunford (Colligan), Cormac Curran (Brickey Rangers); R Donnelly (Dungarvan), M Harney (Bunmahon), K Power (Kilrossanty); M Kiely (St Mary’s), Cathal Curran (Dungarvan), P Curran (Dungarvan).
Subs: K Sheehan (St Mary’s) for Power (59), E Crotty (Abbeyside) for Donnelly (59).
NENAGH CBS: W Power (Silvermines); D Quinn (Éire Óg Nenagh), K Gubbins (Éire Óg Nenagh), S Cleary (Kilruane McDonaghs); J Flaherty (Burgess), J Peters (Kilruane McDonaghs), E Hynes (Templederry); J Loughnane (Kildangan), T Gallagher (Kildangan); C Delaney (Toomevara), J Forde (Silvermines), S O’Brien (Ballina); P Fogarty (Silvermines), P Shanahan (Toomevara), J Mackey (Éire Óg Nenagh).
Subs: S Geaney (Éire Óg Nenagh) for Mackey (22), K Gleeson (Éire Óg Nenagh) for Delaney (42).
Referee: Shane Hourigan (Limerick).
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