A bad-tempered finish also as another two players – Mark Ryan (Árd Scoil) and Michael O’Brien (Thurles) – were singled out for straight red cards after another mass brawl, when several players from both sides could easily have walked.
Árd Scoil Rís hit the ground running, ahead 0-7 to 0-1 after just 10 minutes, Shane Dowling leading the way with three fine strikes, centre-back Declan Hannon scoring with a long-range free. Those two burgeoning stars were to the fore for the Limerick school, completely dominating their respective positions, but they weren’t alone by any means.
The full-back line of Kelvin Lynch, Barry O’Connell and Martin Moroney faced a daunting task in trying to mind Michael O’Brien, Aidan McCormack and Conor Hammersley but did the business to spectacular effect.
Wing-backs Alan Dempsey and Damien Moloney defended well, midfielders Jamie Shanahan and Mark Ryan (so unlucky now to miss the semi-final) were also on top, while up front, wing-forwards Mark Carmody and Brendan O’Connor worked like Trojans, and both the elusive Kevin O’Brien and Óisín Hickey caused the Thurles inside defence problems.
With so much talent on view then, a well-coached side playing intelligent hurling, no surprise Árd Scoil maintained their advantage to the break, at which point they led 1-10 to 0-6.
Thurles were keeping in touch, but it was mostly through the blade of McCormack, who hit some huge points from placed balls – but you’re not going to beat this Árd Scoil side with just one major scoring threat.
Into the second-half and still it was the Limerick side on top, midfielder Shanahan with a point straight from the throw-in, then Dowling, Fitzgibbon, O’Connor, Carmody, Hickey and Dowling again all pointing, helping to stretch the Árd Scoil lead to 1-17 to 0-9 by the 51st minute, Thurles still very much relying on McCormack’s free-taking. Not enough, and that 55th minute goal by Slattery merely served to put a gloss on the scoreboard.
Scorers for Árd Scoil Rís: S Dowling 0-9 (0-6 frees); J Fitzgibbon 1-2; O Hickey 0-2; J Shanahan 0-2; K O’Brien, B O’Connor, M Carmody, D Hannon (free), 0-1 each.
Thurles CBS: A McCormack 0-6 (all frees); K Slattery 1-0; P Ralph, J Meagher, M Sadlier, D Burke, 0-1 each.
ÁRD SCOIL RÍS: PJ Hall; K Lynch, B O’Connell, M Moroney; A Dempsey, D Hannon, D Moloney; J Shanahan, M Ryan; M Carmody, S Dowling, B O’Connor; K O’Brien, O Hickey, J Fitzgibbon. Subs: C Lynch for O’Brien (43); C Keogh for Moloney (inj. 47); J Kelliher for O’Connor (inj. 49); F Carey for Lunch (53); J Hannon for Hickey 54).
THURLES CBS: J Maher; S Kennedy, J Ryan, J Bourke; C Quirke, J Meagher, J Stapleton; S Maher, S Cahill; P Ralph, M Sadlier, D Burke; M O’Brien, A McCormack, C Hammersley. Subs: E Moriarty for Cahill (47); K Slattery for Burke (41); M Cussen for Stapleton (57); M Lanigan for Hammersley (58).
Referee: D Copps (Cork).