Short five regulars, it was left to St Caimin’s, one half of the Clare combined side, to make up the shortfall. Twelve of the starting 15 were from Caimin’s, as was substitute Jamie Egan, who came on after 18 minutes for injured full-back Niall Breen of St Patrick’s. All were magnificent, midfielder David “Rasher” Reidy especially, ably assisted by corner-forwards Garry Leahy and Seamus Farrell. Also outstanding were the only two St Patrick’s players on duty for the hour, central forwards Kieran Cahill and Stephen Monahan.
But the real star for Shannon was keeper Peter Russell. Without him there would have been no upset, just another tale of heroic endeavour that fell short. Russell’s heroics began in the 15th minute. Stephen Monaghan and Sean Collins had wind-assisted Shannon two points clear when Spioraid Naoimh were awarded a penalty after a foul on Kieran Corbett. Corbett took it himself, but Russell saved his effort and the rebound. Inspired by that Shannon added five points (Kevin Cahill, two, Farrell and Leahy, Monaghan with his second) to two for Spioraid Naoimh from Alan O’Neill and Denis Maher.
Shannon’s five-point lead didn’t appear enough, given the wind strength.
But with Russell having made another magnificent stop, a triple-save this time to deny Corbett, then Maher twice on the rebound, it was going to take something special to beat him.
So it was: O’Neill selling dummies left and right on a 40m solo, before unleashing a dipping shot to the far top corner. It should have been the signal for Spioraid Naoimh to drive it home, but tremendous defence and intelligent possession play up front kept the Cork side at bay. Shannon took the lead with a point from Leahy, Cahill equalised for Spioraid Naoimh, before Monaghan sealed an unlikely win with a curling shot in the 58th minute.
: Shannon Schools: S. Monaghan 0-4 (0-2 frees); G. Leahy 0-2; K. Cahill 0-2; S. Farrell, S. Collins, 0-1 each. Colaiste an Spioraid Naoimh: D. Maher 0-4 (all frees); A. O’Neill 1-1; A. Seymour 0-1.
: P. Russell; J. McAuley, N. Breen, B. Collins; M. O’Regan, D. McMahon, B. Gleeson; D. Collins, D. Reidy; S. Collins, S. Monaghan, B. Williams; B. Leahy, K. Cahill, S. Farrell. Sub: J. Egan (Breen inj. 18).
: M. Collins; C. Cuttrell, E. Mawe, J. Neville; D. Lynch, E. Burke, M. O’Donovan; M. Power, A. Seymour; A. O’Neill, K. Corbett, J. O’Sullivan; E. Forde, D. Maher, P. Hayes. Subs: C. Jones (Forde 47); R. O’Dwyer (O’Sullivan 55).
: M. Meade (Ballylanders). Good job.