St Francis College already topped their group, and today in Ballygarvan they continued winning ways when they got the better of fellow Cork school Coláiste Choilm in a hard-fought quarter-final of the Corn Uí Mhuirí.
A date with titleholders Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne in the last four awaits early next month.
St Francis College, the last Cork side to contest the final (2015) found their rhythm early on kicking two great goals in the opening 10 minutes, but Coláiste Choilm overcame their slow start to close the gap to one point with three minutes remaining.
However, a trio of points from Conor Russell who top-scored with 1-7, steadied the ship admirably for St Francis College to secure victory.
The Rochestown side, playing into the teeth of a strong wind, posted 2-1 without reply in the first nine minutes.
In a dramatic start, wing-back Sean Andrews set up the first major after just three minutes when his delivery found Alan O’Hare who parted to Adam Cantwell and his powerful finish gave Graham Moynihan no chance.
Six minutes later, St Francis College struck again.
Another swift move, this time initiated by O’Hare.
The pacy corner-forward’s high punt into Adam Hennessy broke to Russell and he made no mistake from close range blasting high to the net.
It was the worst possible start for Coláiste Choilm - semi-finalists of 2018 – in tough conditions.
But they mounted a spirited revival and by the interval they had cut the difference to one point.
Between the 20th and the 22nd minute they registered an unanswered haul of 1-2, the goal calmly tucked away by Sean McCarthy following instinctive play by Evan Cooke along the end line – even if a short kickout from goalkeeper Max White had gone astray.
And the excellent dead ball precision of Evan Dodd left his side trailing 1-5 to 2-3 at the short whistle.
However, they were now facing into the strong breeze.
And St Francis College restarted as they did the first half.
Corn Ui Mhuiri Q/F Result Roco 3.7 to Colaiste Choilm 1.10⚫️⚪️.
When it came to nailing three-pointers, they had that extra bit of finesse.
They resumed with a brace of points – one each from Hennessy and Russell – before Cantwell added his second goal eight minutes after the resumption.
It was a classy finish from the number 15 as he side-footed to the net, capitalising on Hennessy’s hard graft.
All of a sudden, St Francis College had raced into a clear two-goal lead, 3-5 to 1-5. Coláiste Choilm refused to give in.
The introduction of substitute Fergal O’Leary at the break helped, as they began to claw back the deficit.
Dodd kicked two points from frees and there was one each from play from O’Leary and Cooke.
With four minutes left to play, the margin was trimmed down to the minimum.
The final few moments were feisty- referee Brian Coniry issued eight yellow cards overall, five to Coláiste Choilm and three to St Francis College – but it was the Rochestown school that closed out.
They were grateful for Russell to extend their advantage from a free on 59 minutes, and the same player scored twice more as they held on for the win.
Scorers for St Francis College: C Russell (1-7, 0-6 frees), A Cantwell (2-0), A Hennessy (0-1).
Scorers for Coláiste Choilm: S McCarthy (1-2), E Dodd (0-5 frees), E Cooke, F O’Leary and E O’Connor (0-1 each).
St Francis College: M White (Douglas); M Harrington (Nemo Rangers), B O’Neill (Douglas), T Murphy (St Michael’s); S Downey (Shamrocks), N O’Connell (Cobh), S Andrews (Shamrocks); P O’Halloran (Ballygarvan), S Aherne (Douglas); S Fenton (Ballygarvan), A Hennessy (St Michael’s), P Vaughan (Carrigaline); A O’Hare (Douglas), A Cantwell (Douglas), C Russell (Douglas).
Subs: D Fenton (Douglas) for S Fenton (53), A Sheehy (Douglas) for S Downey (57).
Coláiste Choilm: G Moynihan (Éire Óg); S Dwane (St Finbarr’s), N Lordan (Ballinora), R Barrow (Ballinora); M Bourke (Ballincollig), F Denny (Ballincollig), E Dodd (Canovee); E Cooke (Ballincollig), P Cooney (Ballincollig); K Walsh (Canovee), H Murphy (Éire Óg), R Forde (Ballincollig); S McCarthy (Inniscarra), E O’Connor (Inniscarra), E Carroll (Kilmurry).
Subs: F O’Leary (Inniscarra) for R Forde (half-time), L O’Connor (Inniscarra) for K Walsh (53).
Referee: Brian Coniry (Cork).