The manner of victory was certainly not memorable but that will be of little concern to the Caherciveen school who are now unbeaten since they first entered the competition three years ago.
Seldom does one individual leave an impression on a mediocre match but Coláiste Na Sceilge’s Kevin O’Sullivan did just that. He contributed five points from play and is certainly a player of exceptional talent.
Midfielder and captain Bryan Sheehan was another to make a huge impression for the champions. Victory was sweeter still for the skipper as he has the added satisfaction of being on the three winning teams, the previous two as a goalkeeper.
Others to make significant contributions to the victory were corner-back Michael Pat O’Donoghue, who also managed to get on the scoresheet; Sean O’Shea, Colin O’Sullivan and Paul O’Connor. Tralee were hugely disappointing and, while they were level on four occasions, they never looked like causing an upset.
Defensively they were adequate with David Cullotty and Kevin O’Shea their best players, at midfield they were always playing second fiddle while in attack only Joey O’Connor and Shane McMahon were the only threats.
The sides were level three times in the first quarter but then Coláiste spurred a glorious chance of a goal in the 25th minute when midfielder Dermot Walsh rounded Tralee ’keeper Damien Cunnigham but somehow managed to kick the ball wide.
That was the chief talking point of a dreary first-half, at the end of which the Caherciveen side led 0-5 to 0-4.
Turning to play with the wind, it looked as if the champions would pull away, but a dogged Tralee side were not to be dismissed and they were level for a fourth time after Robert Fitzgerald pointed a free out near the touchline.
Tralee threatened a goal after 45 minutes when Joey O’Connor took off on a great run but his shot posed no trouble to goalkeeper Darren Corcoran.
Despite their dominance the Caherciveen side couldn’t pull away and with 10 minutes remaining were just two points in front as Tralee continued to press forward in search of a goal that might have made all the difference.
That goal almost arrived from wing-back Donal Doyle whose blistering shot clipped the crossbar on the way over.
They were never to get another chance as Coláiste Na Sceilge, with Sheehan masterful at midfield and O’Sullivan razor sharp in attack, finished with a succession of points to retain their crown.
Coláiste na Sceilge will now play St. Patrick’s College Maghera in the All-Ireland semi-final and maybe this is their year to win the coveted national title which so far has eluded them.
Scorers for Na Sceilge: K. O’Sullivan 0-5; B. Sheehan 0-3 (frees); MP O’Donoghue, D. King, R. Keating, P. O’Connor 0-1 each.
Tralee: J. O’Connor 0-4 (frees); J. Sugrue, R. Fitzgerald (free), D. Doyle 0-1 each.
COLÁISTE NA SCEILGE: D. Corcoran; MP O’Donoghue, C. O’Sullivan, K. Young; T. O’Sullivan, M. Curran, T. Lyne; B. Sheehan, S. O’Shea; D. Falvey, C. O’Driscoll, D. Walsh; K. O’Sullivan, P. O’Connor, D. King. Sub: R. Keating for Falvey; P. Curran for O’Driscoll.
TRALEE CBS: D. Cunningham; P. O’Sullivan, D. Culloty, G. Kerins; D. Doyle, K. O’Shea, C. O’Sullivan; S. Guthrie, B. Moran; J. Sugrue, E. Liston, J. O’Connor; C. Moriarty, R. Fitzgerald, S. McMahon. Sub. B. Fitzgerald for C. O’Sullivan.
Referee: P. Lyons (John Mitchels).