The Cork college led from the third minute only to fall behind to a superb Noel Duggan goal in the 50th minute but weren’t to be denied at the finish. Indeed, only the crossbar denied them victory as Jordan Philpott’s well struck 40-metre free came back into play just before the final whistle.
Críost Rí started brightly and led 0-4 to 0-1 after just seven minutes, Cian Madden kicking two of his side’s points, and the defendingchampions had a right battle on their hands. The Sem hit back strongly and with Gary O’Leary giving them a grip on midfield, they were level after 20 minutes at 0-5 each, Jason Aherne contributing two points for the Killarney side.
Críost Rí hit a purple patch coming up to half-time. Alan Nolan, switched from wing back to attack, took off on a great run and he left several backs in his wake before shooting powerfully to the Brendan’s net and when Jordan Philpott tacked on a point, the Capwell side led 1-8 to 0-5.
However, in the twinkling of an eye Brendan’s had the ball in the Críost Rí net after Bryan O’Shea dispossessed Tomas Lawrence on the edge of the small square and he billowed the net to leave the Cork side 1-8 to 1-5 in front at the short whistle.
St. Brendan’s had the deficit down to two points after Bryan O’Shea pointed soon after the restart, but for the next 20 minutes neither side could manage a score.
Kevin Fulignati, Ian Lucey and Tomas Lawrence gave nothing away in the Cork defence while at the other end Colm Tobin and Damien O’Leary were equally efficient. That changed in the 50th minute when Noel Duggan finished a great move from their own defence, to the net to give Brendan’s a slender one point lead.
With the scent of victory in their nostrils, the defending champions tacked on two further points and looked to have finally broken the Críost Rí challenge, leading by a goal with six minutes remaining.
In a welter of excitement the Capwell college laid siege to the Sem defence but were beaten back each time by some great defending by Tobin and Damien O’Leary, and it looked as if their chance was gone.
However they were finally rewarded when Paul Fitzgerald’s long delivery — the only time Críost Rí used the long ball in the game — broke to Luke Connolly, he drilled it home to earn his side a deserved draw.
Scorers for Críost Rí: J. Philpott 0-4 (0-2 frees); L. Connolly 1-1; A. Nolan 1-0; C. Madden 0-2; C. Hogan 0-1.
St. Brendan’s: B. O’Shea 1-2; N. Duggan 1-0; J. Aherne 0-2 (0-1 free); S. Keane, K. McCarthy, C. Horan, G. O’Leary (free) 0-1 each.
COLÁISTE CHRÍOST RÍ: J. Kerins; S. Cronin, K. Fulignati, I. Lucey; E. Dennehy, T. Lawrence, A. Nolan; S. O’Keeffe, P. Fitzgerald; C. Horgan, L. Connolly, E. Finn; E. McGreevy, J. Philpott, C. Madden.
Subs: D. O’Keeffe for McGreevy (18), C. Dalton for Finn (45).
ST. BRENDAN’S: D. Cronin; M. Egan, C. Tobin, J. Devane; C. Fitzgerald, D. O’Leary, A. Slattery; G. O’Leary, K. Murphy; N. Duggan, C. Horan, K. McCarthy; J. Aherne, S. Keane, B. O’Shea.
Subs: J. Spillane for McCarthy (40); D. O’Donoghue for Aherne (45).
Referee; M Hourigan (Limerick).