They didn’t have things all their own way, however. Underdogs Doon defied the odds early on to trail by just two points at the break, 0-4 to 0-2.
Shane O’Connell, named at centre-forward but playing as a sweeper directly behind Ardscoil centre-forward and captain Cian Lynch, was having a superb game for the Doon school, defences on top on both sides. As the sides headed for their respective dressing-rooms at half-time, hopes were high among the Doon supporters in the vocal 3514 attendance that all was going to plan for manager Diarmuid Carr.
This was what he wanted for his players, that they wouldn’t be overwhelmed by Ardscoil, that they would do themselves justice on this the biggest day in the school’s history since 1931 when the CBS (as it was) was were well beaten by Rockwell College. Did they give that performance? Well yes, but only up to a point. “First half yes, second half no,” he sighed afterwards.
This high-powered Ardscoil Rís attack, you see, would be denied for only so long. On their previous wins (2010 and 2011) they were powered up front by such luminaries as current senior stars Shane Dowling, Kevin Downes and John Fitzgibbon (Limerick) and Jamie Shanahan (Clare), along with Declan Hannon and Mark Carmody contributing from the back. This team is similarly talented. Ronan Lynch (Na Piarsaigh) and Cian Lynch (Patrickswell) are already established Limerick minor stars but they are joined from this side by Ian Galvin (Clonlara) and Alex Morey (Sixmilebridge), younger siblings of Clare senior stars Colm and Seadhna. All four of those, along with another Clare star Colin Crehan, powered into the game and the floodgates finally opened. Two goals and nine points Ardscoil scored in the second 30 minutes, Ronan Lynch (five), Morey (two), Cian Lynch and sub Thomas Grimes (one each) with the points, Crehan and Galvin with the goals. Doon simply overwhelmed.
“We had a great chance at half-time,” said Diarmuid, “But I thought we froze for the first 10 minutes of the second-half. We said at half-time, the first two or three scores of the second-half will either bring us back level and help us drive on from there, or start putting distance between the teams. That’s what happened. They got the scores.”
Credit to the champions then but, added Diarmuid, credit to his own side also. “Ardscoil are a very powerful side. You could see it even in the fellas they brought off the bench, what they did. Credit to our guys too though, they’ve got so far this year, worked so hard. I feel sorry for them today, the scoreline is no reflection of their efforts this year.
“We’re disappointed obviously but we’re very proud they got this far. At the start of the year if you had offered us two points down at half-time in a Harty Cup final we’d have snapped your hand off. The season goes on, we’ll pick up the pieces, prepare for an All-Ireland quarter-final now [against the Connacht winners on March 15]. We’ll give it a lash and hopefully give a good account of ourselves.”
No doubt they will because this Doon side is also peppered with talent. Dean Coleman was well shepherded by Sixmilebridge’s Barry Fitzgerald but he is a talent, as is Colin Ryan and the hard-working Barry Murphy, a very sound defence also well anchored by Thomas Hayes and Stephen Lynch.
No doubt about the winners though, no doubt about their worthiness either.
Scorers for Ardscoil Rís: R Lynch (0-6, 3fs), I Galvin (1-2), C Crehan (1-0), A Morey (0-2), C Lynch, M O’Loughlin, T Grimes (0-1 each).
Scorers for Scoil na Trionóide Doon: C Ryan (0-3fs), M Coleman (0-1).
ARDSCOIL RÍS: P O’Loughlin; E Costello, B Fitzpatrick, J O’Halloran; J English, M Casey, G Browne; C O’Brien, R Lynch; I Galvin, C Lynch (c), C McCarthy; M O’Loughlin, A Morey, C Crehan.
Subs: C Fitzgerald for M O’Loughlin (43), T Grimes for English (55), A Gillane for McCarthy (55), E Mulcahy for O’Halloran (57), K Daly for Crehan (57).
SCOIL NA TRIONÓIDE DOON: S Stapleton; B McPartland, T Hayes, D Roche; J Cummins, S Ryan (c), B McCarthy; M Dee, P Cummins; C Ryan, D Buckley, S O’Connell; B Murphy, D Coleman, J Lonergan.
Subs: M Coleman for Lonergan (39), A Foley for P Cummins (48), F O’Grady for Buckley (52).
Referee: J O’Brien (Tipperary).