This Munster colleges JHC A title has eluded the East Cork school since 1989, but their results this season suggest they are well equipped to bridge that 18-year gap.
Thurles CBS were hotly fancied from early on to take the title, but Midleton dumped them out by three points in a marvellous quarter-final tie. It was then on to a semi-final meeting with Árd Scoil Rís, the team that ended Midleton’s Harty hopes.
Midleton laid the foundations for their three-point victory (1-10 to 1-7) in the first half when aided by the strong wind. Brian Hartnett’s goal and excellent points by Conor Lehane, Daniel Moynihan and Colm Cronin helped the Cork school to a 1-7 to 0-2 half-time lead.
In the second half it was very much a containing job by Midleton and to this end they succeeded with Daniel Moynihan a commanding figure at centre back. He is likely to be a key player again today.
DLS Waterford’s credentials are no less impressive. They knocked out fellow Waterford side Blackwater College in the quarter-final before seeing off Coláiste an Risígh in the semi-final.
There was little between the sides in this game up to the time Brendan Fitzgerald slipped home a goal for DLS which helped his team to a half-time lead of 1-6 to 0-5.
It was all DLS in the second half and two further goals by Harley Barnes and Paul O’Brien, put the seal on an excellent team performance.
The Waterford college last won this title back in 2005 and it proved the launching pad for their Harty Cup triumph two years later. Midleton will have similar hopes tomorrow.
The East Cork school will carry the favourite’s tag into the final, but hurling in DLS is on the crest of a wave and they won’t be easily beaten.
Meanwhile, St Flannan’s return to Feenagh today — scene of their thrilling semi-final win over Coláiste Choilm — to take on St Brendan’s in the Moran Cup (Munster U15 A FC) final.
The Killarney school, the holders, have played two games to their opponents’ one to reach the final. They will start favourites on the strength of defeating Tralee CBS in round one and Coláiste na Sceilge in the semi-final.
The Sem are powered by two extremely tall midfielders in Sean Keane and Gary O’Leary while Brian O’Shea (son of Kerry senior coach Pat) is an extremely talented forward who scored seven points in their 1-12 to 0-7 win over Coláiste na Sceilge in the semi.
Flannan’s, who last won the title in 2004, looked very good in seeing off the challenge of a highly-rated Coláiste Choilm in their semi-final, but it was their only outing in the competition which could be a drawback to them.
They have an excellent full-back in Martin Melican; Gearóid O’Connell is equally as good at centre back, while in attack Tony Kelly, Mark Roche and Cormac Murphy are their key players.
St Brendan’s should retain their title, but will get nothing soft off the Ennis college.