Ardscoil were on the back foot for long periods but still managed to engineer an 11-point win in this Limerick derby clash.
In their first year at this level, Castletroy College started brightly and had two scores on the board inside five minutes from free-taker Killian Enright and Gearoid Hegarty (son of former Limerick star, Ger).
Steadily, Ardscoil Rís were growing in stature but eight first-half wides hindered their progress until a 22nd minute goal from Jack Kelleher put them in the driving seat, leading 1-2 to 0-4.
By the interval, Ardscoil were 1-4 to 0-5 ahead, with Cian Lynch adding a fine score to earlier pointed frees from Clare underage star Jamie Shanahan.
But on the change of ends, Castletroy hit back with a Edward Doyle penalty low to the net to snatch back the lead, after half-time replacement Christopher Noonan was upended.
Enright added a point from play and the underdogs were 1-6 to 1-5 ahead.
But this sprung Ardscoil Rís to life and they limited Castletroy College to just one pointed free in the remaining 25 minutes to ensure there was no shock defeat for last season’s All-Ireland finalists.
Ardscoil may only have four (Hall, O’Connell, Shanahan and O’Brien) remaining from the side that lined out in last year’s Harty victory but the experience of qualifying for six straight knockout stages of the competition ensured they never panicked when Castletroy tested their resolve in the opening 40 minutes.
After the early scoring from Castletroy in the second half, Ardscoil hit back and Shanahan’s free-taking settled his side. Five points between the 37th and 48th minutes brought his tally to eight and had the champions back 1-11 to 1-6 ahead and well on the road to the semi-finals.
If confirmation were needed it came 10 minutes from time, when Kevin O’Brien broke clear of the defence and crashed to the net. He added a point and three substitutes put the icing on the win with late points to move the champions easily into the last four, where they await the replay between Thurles CBS and Nenagh CBS.
Scorers for Ardscoil Rís: J Shanahan 0-8fs, J Kelleher, K O’Brien 1-1 each, C Lynch, R Lynch, M Foley, C O’Brien, M O’Loughlin 0-1 each.
Scorers for Castletroy College: K Enright 0-5 (4fs), E Doyle 1-0 (pen), S Power (f), G Hegarty 0-1 each.
ARDSCOIL RÍS: D Dempsey; R Kirby, PJ Hall, K McNamara; E Fitzgerald, B O’Connell, S Fitzgerald; J Shanahan, J Hannon; W O’Donoghue, R Lynch, J Kelleher; L O’Brien, K O’Brien, C Lynch.
Subs: C O’Brien for L O’Brien (49), E Keogh for E Fitzgerald (52s), M Foley for O’Donoghue (54), M O’Loughlin for O’Brien (57), C McCarthy for Lynch (59).
CASTLETROY COLLEGE: C O’Dwyer; P Morrissey, A Hanley, C O’Brien; J Enright, S Power, J Stack; D Kennedy, S Griffin; J Fox, W Shanahan, A La Touche Cosgrave; E Doyle, G Hegarty, K Enright.
Subs: C Noonan for Stack (ht), J Porter for J Enright (ht), J Nicholas for Shanahan (51), J Sheehan for Griffin (57), B McGinty for Fox (60).
Referee: S Hourigan (Rathkeale).