COLÁISTE Na SCEILGE’S relentless pursuit of honours looks set to continue as they maintained their high standards of excellence in yesterday opener in the sun-soaked Legion grounds in Killarney.
The All-Ireland champions issued a powerful statement of intent in their first assignment as their football shimmered with class on an afternoon where Cork outfit De La Salle struggled to cope. The South Kerry school have seven of last year’s triumphant side amongst their ranks and their Kerry minors exerted a massive influence on proceedings.
Attackers Ian Galvin and Eanna O’Connor were largely the tormenters in chief of De La Salle, Galvin’s searing pace and tricks causing untold problems while O’Connor’s free-taking was impeccable and he struck a vital first-half goals. Full-back Niall Fitzgerald and midfielder Max Thiemann also illustrated why they were selected to don the intercounty shirt this summer, while Denis Daly and Barry O’Dwyer had plenty reason to be pleased with their own individual inputs.
It was a wretched start to De La Salle’s season despite how impressive they looked in the early exchanges. By the 14th minute they led 0-4 to 0-2 and full value for it. Tony Dineen staked an early foothold around the centre and he provided some quality ball into their attack. Inside forwards Greg Barrett and Ben Shorten both showed well, creating space to fire over lovely early points.
Coláiste na Sceilge struggled to impact during that period but the match turned when they struck for their first goal in the 15th minute. Eanna O’Connor, who was switched from centre-forward to edge of the square early on, received an offload from Barry O’Dwyer and O’Connor rammed a terrific left-foot shot to the net.
From there until the break Coláiste na Sceilge could do no wrong. They fired home two more goals from Ian Galvin in the 21st minute and Barry O’Dwyer in the 27th minute.
Galvin and O’Dwyer also chipped in with points from play, and coupled with O’Connor’s freetaking, possessed a handsome 3-7 to 0-4 half-time advantage.
It was an uphill struggle for De La Salle in the second-half and the gap was always going to be too great to bridge. Coláiste na Sceilge notably dropped the tempo but their watertight defence were never going to concede a flood of scores.
Up front they were content to pick off some points, with Galvin firing over a trio of tidy shots after the break. Tony Dineen got De La Salle off the mark with a great booming kick in the 46th minute but any sense of competition had drained out of the match by that stage. The final 10 minutes saw proceedings drag on to the inevitable conclusion. Coláiste na Sceilge still had time to blast home two further goals with substitutes Denis Daly and Declan Keating supplying the finishing touches. Daly rounded off a splendid team move with a powerful blast in the 53rd minute and Keating’s finish to the corner of the net was sublime in the 59th minute.
In between De La Salle grabbed a consolation effort when Jeremiah Kelleher converted a pass by Declan Ambrose and their goalkeeper Shane Galvin deprived Ian Galvin of another goal from the penalty spot.
Scorers for Coláiste na Sceilge: I Galvin 1-5, E O’Connor 1-4 (0-3f), B O’Dwyer 1-2, Denis Daly, D Keating 1-0 each.
De La Salle: J Kelleher 1-0, T Dineen (0-1f), G Barrett 0-2 each, B Shorten 0-1.
COLÁISTE NA SCEILGE: D Horgan; S Donnelly, N Fitzgerald, B Murphy; Padraig O’Sullivan, Daniel Daly, Paul O’Sullivan; M Thiemann, J Curran; C Farrelly, E O’Connor, C Keating; I Galvin, S O’Dwyer, B O’Dwyer.
Subs: Denis Daly for S O’Dwyer (46), D O’Neill for Farrelly (48), C O’Driscoll for Curran (50), D Keating for B O’Dwyer (54), S O’Connor Thiemann (57).
DE LA SALLE: S Galvin; J O’Connor, K Barrett, J O’Donoghue; C Casey, D Riordan, S Downs; T Dineen, B Lynch; D Ambrose, J Kelleher, P Moynihan; M Browne, G Barrett, B Shorten.
Subs: A Hegarty for Moynihan (22), C Ryan for Browne (22), D Twomey for Casey (41).
Referee: M Meade (Limerick).