Críost Rí finish strongly to edge Kerry rivals

COLÁISTE Chríost Rí shaded a gripping Corn Uí Mhuirí quarter-final encounter in Rathmore yesterday and also booked their berth in the last four of the competition for the first time since 2005.

This was a superb victory for Críost Rí with the teams level eight times over the hour. But when the game entered its critical phase, Críost Rí displayed the necessary enterprise to make a winning burst.

Firstly, in the 60th minute, corner-forward Ciarán Dalton did extremely well to keep the ball in play and then he cut in along the endline before popping over a priceless point. That was followed by a composed score by midfielder Shane O’Keeffe after a methodical build-up and suddenly Críost Rí had moved two points clear.

Coláiste na Sceilge tried desperately hard to save their campaign as they heaped pressure on the Críost Rí defence. But the Cork side’s rearguard coped impressively and a Morgan O’Donoghue point was all that the Kerry school could muster.

Cork minor Kevin Fulignati anchored Críost Rí’s challenge at full-back as he kept a close watch on dangerman Ciaran Keating, while Tomás Lawrence and Stephen Cronin sparkled in the half-back line.

In the Críost Rí attack, Alan Nolan was full of running at half-forward, Conor Horgan’s 0-4 haul was invaluable in such a close game and Luke Connolly, another county minor last year, was a potent target man during the first-half.

Coláiste na Sceilge were boosted when Ciaran Keating swung over two classy points with his left foot in the first-half, his cousin Michael clipped over another and midfielder Kieran O’Driscoll also got forward to raise a white flag. Connolly’s fine score in the 21st minute edged Críost Rí in front 0-5 to 0-4, yet they were tied at the break courtesy of an injury-time O’Donoghue score.

There was a clear pattern to the second-half play as the teams traded points incessantly. Críost Rí had a good spread of scores with efforts from Eoin Finn and Nolan from play ensuring they finished up with five of their forwards on target during the tie.

In contrast Coláiste na Sceilge were dependent on the accurate freetaking of Darren O’Sullivan to keep them in touch. Ciaran Keating suffered from a lack of possession close to goal and was forced to come deep to get on the ball. The surging runs of wing-back Paul O’Sullivan and the assurance of centre-back Michael O’Connor ensured Coláiste na Sceilge remained in the hunt.

An incisive Michael O’Connor run led to a free that O’Sullivan pointed to tie the game at 0-9 apiece in the 57th minute and Coláiste na Sceilge did have a couple of opportunities to hit the front at a vital stage. But Chríost Rí’s greater power and accuracy at the finish was decisive in setting up a semi-final meeting with Tralee CBS.

Scorers for Coláiste Chríost Rí: C Horgan 0-4 (two frees); S O’Keeffe, L Connolly 0-2 each; A Nolan, E Finn, C Dalton 0-1 each.

Coláiste na Sceilge: D O’Sullivan 0-3 (three frees); C Keating, M O’Donoghue 0-2 each; M O’Connor, K O’Driscoll, M Keating 0-1 each.

COLÁISTE CHRÍOST RÍ: J Kerins; M Lyons, K Fulignati, D O’Keeffe; E Dennehy, T Lawrence, S Cronin; P Fitzgerald, S O’Keeffe; A Nolan, C Horgan, E Finn; C Dalton, L Connolly, E McGreevy.

Subs: B Madden for Fitzgerald (59).

COLÁISTE NA SCEILGE: D Murphy; K Curran, B Murphy, O O’Mahony; S O’Shea, M O’Connor, P O’Sullivan; K O’Driscoll, J Curran; D O’Sullivan, D Daly, M Keating; C O’Shea, C Keating, M O’Donoghue. Subs: E O’Sullivan for M Keating (55).

Referee: D Cahill (Tipperary).

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