Árdscoil had also dominated the opening half — led at the break by double scores (1-7 to 0-5) but inaccuracy cost them dearly.
Chríost Rí began brightly with corner-forward Cian Walsh and sweet-striking wing-back Phillip Kelleher scoring from range. Sixmilebridge starlet Jamie Shanahan (member of the ‘Bridge side for this Sunday’s Clare SHC final) replied for the Limerick college.
But with Patrickswell star Kevin O’Brien beginning to show as a provider on the 40, Árdscoil hit their stride. O’Brien began the scoring with a fine point and then came the game’s only major — Lukas O’Brien latching on to a pass from his namesake to give Kevin O’Neill no chance in the Chríost Rí goal. That was in the 13th minute and from there, Árdscoil Rís never looked back.
A hat-trick from wing forward Jack Kelleher, along with a brace from midfielder Shanahan, saw them surge into a comfortable lead at the break and already the signs were ominous for Coláiste Chríost Rí.
Árdscoil should have been vulnerable having lost a host of starters from last season but they weren’t just bigger and stronger than Chríost Rí, they were also outstanding hurlers too — and in the second half especially, this showed.
A Ronan Lynch point signalled the start of a procession of scores. Jack Kelleher added another three points, Jamie Shanahan notched two more, Kevin O’Brien and wing-back Evan Fitzgerald had a point each, while towering substitute Michael Foley impressed.
They’re well-balanced, this new Árdscoil Rís side, tight at the back, well led in the centre by the powerful Barry O’Connell and he’s flanked by the Fitzgerald brothers, Evan and Stephen, fine stickmen both. Jamie Shanahan rules the roost in midfield, while up front, a plethora of dangerman, the two O’Briens and Jack Kelleher especially so.
Chríost Rí lost little in defeat, however; smaller, lighter, outplayed in most sectors, they nevertheless kept hurling to the finish, wing-forwards Calum Crowe and David Scannell rewarded with a point apiece.
Scorers for Ardscoil Rís: J Kelleher 0-6, J Shanahan 0-5 (3fs), L O’Brien 1-0, K O’Brien, M Foley 0-2 each, E Fitzgerald, R Lynch, 0-1 each.
Scorers for Chríost Rí: C Walsh, P Kelleher (1f, 1 65) 0-2 each, D Scannell, L Corry, C Crowe, 0-1 each.
ÁRDSCOIL RÍS: D Dempsey; R Kirby, PJ Hall, K McNamara; E Fitzgerald, B O’Connell, S Fitzgerald; J Shanahan, A Carroll; W O’Donoghue, R Lynch, J Kelleher; L O’Brien, K O’Brien, C Lynch.
Subs: M O’Loughlin for Lynch (45), M Foley for Carroll (47), C McCarthy for Shanahan (55), M Buckley for S Fitzgerald (55), D Poland for O’Donoghue (58).
COLÁISTE CHRÍOST RÍ: K O’Neill; C Horgan, TJ Murphy, J Ryan; P Kelleher, A Nolan, G Joyce; S Cronin, I Lucey; C Crowe, L Corry, D Scannell; C Walsh, E Dennehy, J Goode.
Subs: J Daly for Joyce (inj. 30), S Goggin for Corry (60), S Kearney for Walsh (60).
Referee: W Barrett (Tipperary).