Five minutes earlier it looked as if the champions were on course for another final appearance when Paul Kerrigan scored a magnificent goal to tie the game, then added the lead point.
However, after Richie Kenny appeared to have blown his side’s chance of an equalising point, CSN won a free 40 metres out. And from Denis Maher’s high lob O’Halloran, the Cork minor hurling and football goalkeeper of last season, rose majestically above the Chríost Rí defence to punch home the winning goal.
The Bishopstown school deserved their victory, for which they also collected the Simcox Cup, Cork Colleges SFC and their first win over the Capwell school in a cup final.
CSN stamped their authority early on through the dominance of the impressive Denis Crowley and Michael Shields at midfield, though it did not reflect on the scoreboard. All credit to the champions, who went into the game without four key players through injury. The rearranged team battled all the way and looked to have overcome their loss after taking the lead for the first time a minute from time.
There were many heroes on the CSN team, apart from Crowley and Shields. Niall Collins was magnificent at corner back, Tadhg Creed was equally good at centre back while Denis Maher and Paul Fitzgerald, whose free taking was excellent, were in the thick of the action in attack.
Críost Rí battled to hold on to their crown. Michael O’Sullivan had an excellent game at full-back, Ian Lyons was unbeatable at centre-back, Paul Kerrigan ran himself into the ground, while Eric Hegarty and Alan Meaney worked their socks off in attack. But the loss of Roy Leahy, Colin O’Brien and Graham Cummins, who made a late appearance, proved too great.
The dominance of both defences in the early minutes meant scores were at a premium and the sides were level at 0-1 apiece after 12 minutes.
As the half wore on, the dominance of Denis Crowley at midfield meant there was a lot of pressure on the Críost Rí defence and after Denis Maher finished a great move to the net, the Bishopstown school were full value for their 1-4 to 0-3 half-time lead.
Críost Rí brought Paul Kerrigan into midfield for the second half and it worked well. Using his electrifying pace, Kerrigan drove forward at every opportunity and the defending champions gradually whittled down the lead to draw level by the 55th minute.
Kerrigan began the move which led to his equalising goal from deep within his own half, raced 60 yards, swapped passes with Alan Meaney before billowing the CSN net.
It was a magnificent score worthy of winning the game. And he looked to be the hero for his side when he landed the lead point from the kick out.
But there was still a kick left in the Bishopstown side and O’Halloran became the hero for his school with the winning goal deep into injury time.
: CSN: P Fitzgerald 0-5 (0-4 frees); D Maher 1-1 (0-1 45); K O’Halloran 1-0; E McCann 0-1. CC Rí: P Kerrigan 1-2 (0-1 free); E Hegarty 0-4 (0-3 frees); A Maher, A Murray 0-1 each.
: M Collins; N Collins, C O’Driscoll, E O’Brien; R O’Dwyer, T Creed, M Power; M Shilds, D Crowley; R Kenny, E McCann, B Nunan; D Maher, K O’Halloran, P Fitzgerald. Subs: P Honohan for McCann.
: R Heaphy; D Coughlan, M O’Sullivan, D Murphy; R O’Keeffe, I Lyons, S McCarthy; S Morgan, F Lynch; A Meaney, P Kerrigan, E Hegarty; P Butler, B Newman, S Horgan. Subs: I Foley for O’Keeffe; I Madden for Horgan; G Cummins for Newman.
: M Collins (Clonakilty).