Kingpins Kieran’s well tested before wrapping up 51st title

Defending All-Ireland champions, St Kieran’s College wrapped-up a hat-trick of victories in the Leinster Colleges SAHC and collected their 51st title when beating city rival Kilkenny CBS in a thrilling final.

Cormac Wafer and Thomas O’Hanrahan, who scored badly needed second half goals, were the heroes in the decider in Nowlan Park on Saturday when Kieran’s completed the Leinster league-championship double.

The winners were outplayed for most of the first half and were lucky to be just three points down at the break.

“The CBS might have been even more ahead at half-time,” said St Kieran’s official, John O’Keeffe.

“We move on knowing we will have to do better, and feeling we can. This was a tough test, as was the last one against Coláiste Eoin when we needed late scores to get through.”

CBS let rip from the throw-in. They raced 1-1 to 0-1 ahead after seven minutes and Kevin Kenny kicked their opening point before shooting a good goal.

Kieran’s were chasing for a long way after that. They used their experience well and were patient and mature as they tried to quell the CBS storm. Although the CBS added further points through the ever threatening Ciarán Doyle, Kenny and Mason Clifford, concessions to David Burke, Chris Bolger and Michael Donnelly left the difference a less than daunting 1-4 to 0-4 at half-time.

Another Donnelly point from a free narrowed the gap to two by the 35th minute and it wasn’t long before Kieran’s edged in front when Cormac Wafer’s 40th minute effort from distance somehow ended up in the CBS net.

The losers continued to blast forward and twice earned parity. Kieran’s took a major step towards the winning line when Thomas O’Hanrahan powered through and crashed an unstoppable shot past the CBS ’keeper with 13 minutes to go.

Again the CBS gave chase. They had a chance to level the game when goalkeeper Keogh felled Clifford in the square, but Owen McGrath’s 50th minute penalty was pushed over the bar by College full-back and captain Robert Lennon.

The gap was down to the minimum when Ciarán Doyle converted a free in the dying seconds of normal time, but Donnelly’s injury-time point from a free sealed a hard-earned win for Kieran’s. Victory secured Kieran’s place in the All-Ireland semi-finals, while the CBS will be in action next weekend in the quarter-finals.

Scorers for St Kieran’s College: M. Donnelly 0-7 (6fs), T O’Hanrahan, C Wafer 1-0 each, C Bolger, D Burke 0-1 each.

Scorers for Kilkenny CBS: K Kenny 1-2, C Doyle 0-5 (3fs), M Clifford 0-2, O McGrath 0-1 (pen).

ST KIERAN’S COLLEGE: N Keogh; R O’Hanrahan, R Lennon, W Wallen; E Morrissey, E Byrne, A Cleere; P Kenneally, C Wafer; C Bolger, M Donnelly, D Cody; D Burke, T O’Hanrahan, C Prendergast.

Subs: J McGrath for Kenneally, D Hennessy for Cleere, J Maher for Bolger, S Farrell for Prendergast.

KILKENNY CBS: D Holohan; S Cassin, E Cody, C McGrath; N Mullins, O McGrath, M Clifford; D Sheehan, J Langton; K Kenny, S Cuddihy, E Fennelly; R Fitzpatrick, C Doyle, P Campion.

Subs: D Bolger for Campion; JP Treacy for Fennelly.

Referee — D Connolly (Kilkenny).

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