Historic win for St Colman’s

St Colman’s 2-13 St Flannan’s 0-8

It was history in the making for the Fermoy college, who, for the first time, won the title for the third consecutive occasion. Showing a vast improvement on their form in the drawn game, Colman's were never headed. After turning to play with the wind in the second half two goals in front there was only going to be one result.

For six players it was a glorious end to their Harty Cup careers. Denis Fitzgerald, Brian Lane, Aidan Kearney, Seamus Stack, Paul Kearney and Andrew O'Shaughnessy all figured on the three winning teams, and their experience was one of a number of reasons why Colman's was again successful.

Defensively, Colman's was superb and never gave the Flannan's forwards a sniff at goal. Conor Griffin cleared a world of ball, as did Brian Lane and James Dorgan. Kevin O'Mahony, Aidan Kearney and John O'Donnell kept a tight reign on the Flannan's half forwards where most of the problems had come from in the drawn game.

After a shaky first half, Seamus Stack thundered into the game as a defensive midfielder, while his partner Eamon Condon had a marvellous hour. In attack, Colman's main men Patrick Kirby and Andrew O'Shaughnessy, improved enormously on their drawn game form, while Colm Coakley made a big impression in his first Harty Cup final.

The final score-line does little justice to a St Flannan's side that again battled bravely. They didn't deserve to be beaten by an 11-point margin, but the old adage that goals wins matches proved very true. They never looked like getting through an outstanding Colman's defence.

Defensively Flannan's coped well, with James McInerney again having an excellent hour on O'Shaughnessy despite the fact the Colman's captain created one of his side's goal, scored another and added four points.

Goalkeeper Aidan Ryan was outstanding, making a number of excellent saves, one late in the game which denied O'Shaughnessy a second goal.

Diarmuid O'Doherty at full-back, wing-backs Martin Óg Murphy and Shane O'Brien and forwards Eoin Shinners and Niall Dunne were others impressed for the Ennis college.

As in the drawn game, Colman's again got off to a good start and led 0-4 to 0-2 after 15 minutes in a period dominated by the excellent free-taking of Patrick Kirby and Shinnors.

Colman's applied enormous pressure on the Flannan's defence, which coped well. But the game took a dramatic turn in the champions' favour in the 17th minute when O'Shaughnessy drew the backs before parting inside to the unmarked Colm Coakley, who cooly slotted home a goal.

To their credit, Flannan's hit back with three unanswered points and with Patrick Kirby failing to convert three frees in a row, the Ennis college could not have been faulted for thinking that perhaps it could be their day.

However, Colman's had other ideas and when O'Shaughnessy, for once, escaped the clutches of his marker and raced clear, there was only going to be one outcome.

That goal helped his side to a half time lead of 2-5 to 0-5.

If Flannan's were to have any chance they needed an early second half goal and only a great block by Conor riffin denied Shinnors in the 35th minute.

At the other end, Aidan Ryan made an excellent save to keep out Michael Allen's effort, but Colman's had clearly upped the tempo of their game and an overworked Flannan's defence began to struggle in the face of the mounting pressure. With 10 minutes to go, Colman's were still two goals to the good at 2-8 to 0-8, and only the brilliance of Aidan Ryan prevented his side from falling further behind.

The remaining minutes were played out almost entirely in the Flannan's half.

The Ennis side failed to add to their tally while O'Shaughnessy slotted over three points to keep his side on course for a hat-trick of All-Ireland titles.

They now await the winners of next Sunday's semi-final between St Kieran's (Kilkenny) and Gort (Galway), in the All-Ireland final. On the evidence of this display you'll hardly bet against them.

Scorers: for St Colman's: A O'Shaughnessy 1-4 (0-1 free); C Coakley 1-1; P Kirby 0-5 (0- 3 frees, 0-1 65); E Condon, P Kearney, F Browne 0-1 each.

St Flannan's: E Shinnors 0-4 (frees); A Griffey 0-2; J Clancy, D O'Halloran 0-1 each.

ST COLMAN'S: D Fitzgerald; C Griffin, B Lane, J Dorgan; K O'Mahony, A Kearney, J O'Donnell; S Stack, E Condon; P Kirby, F Browne, P Kearney; C Coakley, A O'Shaughnessy, M Allen.

ST FLANNAN'S:A Ryan; A Byrne, D O'Doherty, J McInerney; M Óg Murphy, M Moloney, S O'Brien; R Keane, B Guinnane; J Clancy, A Griffey, D O'Halloran; E Shinnors, B Gaffney, N Dunne

Subs: A Browne for Gaffney; J O'Connor for Guinnane; A Page for O'Halloran; A Flaherty for Shinnors.

Referee: W Barrett (Tipperary).

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