Kerry Colleges adapted better to the terrible conditions, their wholehearted endeavour and the economy of ball distribution, proving the vital ingredients for victory.
Backed by a gale in the first-half, it was imperative for Kerry Colleges to get a an early grip. However, their hopes of achieving that were stifled by Waterford Colleges tactics as they withdrew attacker Luke Egan and outstanding midfielder Tom Curran to alleviate the pressure on their defence.
Yet at the other end of the pitch, the Déise side had difficulties in scoring themselves. They failed to register a point from play in the first-half and had to rely on a pair of Colm Curran frees for their two points before the break. Kerry Colleges defence was excellent, applying huge pressure when the Waterford Colleges attack gained possession. Tommy Maunsell, Dougie Fitzell and Brendan Brosnan were in superb form, with free-taker Brosnan also pitching in on the scoreboard.
By the end of the first quarter, Kerry Colleges were 0-4 to 0-1 ahead with Sean Weir and Anthony Fealy grabbing points from play. When the match reached the half-time juncture, they had barely increased that lead to 0-6 to 0-2, with Brosnan and Luke Fitzell striking late scores. But considering that the heavy showers made free-flowing hurling arduous, it was still a position for Kerry Colleges to savour.
Waterford Colleges turned after the break with the backing of the elements but were rocked within moments of the restart. Kerry Colleges’ brilliant attacker Shane Dunne banged over a free and then after seizing a long ball by Eric O’Connor, before rifled a shot to the roof of the net.
A 1-7 to 0-2 advantage by the 32nd minute embellished Kerry Colleges prospects but Waterford Colleges instigated a predictable fightback. Colm Curran, Luke Egan and Cathal Curran, whose effort could easily have been a goal, all lashed over points to trim the deficit to five points by the end of the third quarter.
But Kerry Colleges refused to panic and regained their composure to match Waterford Colleges score for score. A Colm Curran free, and points from play by Donal Breathnach and Brendan Phelan were all that Waterford Colleges could muster, with Kerry Colleges significantly replying with a point on each occasion.
Pádraig Boyle finished off a great pass by Anthony Fealy in the 48th minute, Dunne converted a free after Daniel Collins was fouled in the 52nd minute and then Dunne lofted a beautiful effort from play in the 56th minute.
Waterford Colleges desperately needed a goal but could find no route past Kerry Colleges rearguard. Goalkeeper Nicky Leen was a model of composure, with the Fitzell’s, Dougie and Luke, Alan O’Leary and Eric O’Connor all helping to repel the Waterford side’s advances.
Scorers for Kerry Colleges: S Dunne 1-3 (0-2f), B Brosnan 0-3 (0-2f, 0-1 ‘65), S Weir, A Fealy, L Fitzell, P Boyle 0-1 each.
Waterford Colleges: Colm Curran 0-4 (0-4f), Cathal Curran, L Egan (0-1 ‘65), D Breathnach, B Phelan 0-1 each.
KERRY COLLEGES: N Leen; T Maunsell, C McCarthy, D Fitzell; A O’Leary, B Brosnan, T Barrett; E O’Connor, S Weir; P Boyle, T Doyle, M Delaney; A Fealy, S Dunne, L Fitzell. Subs: D Collins for Doyle (42).
WATERFORD COLLEGES: D Duggan; M Power, C Walsh, L Beresford; K Power, E Healy, J Barron; T Curran, S Ryan; S Carthy, P Walsh, D Breathnach; Cathal Curran, L Egan, Colm Curran.
Subs: B Phelan for Ryan (48), J Lacey for Breathnach (56).
Referee: Pat Moran (Carrigaline)