The sides were tied at the break but Castletroy moved seven points clear by the three-quarter mark, only to be almost hauled back in a close and exciting finish. These two sides now share top spot in Group 2 but Castletroy have a game in hand.
With a clash in colours, both teams wore their county jerseys and served up a massively entertaining opening half during which the scores were deadlocked six times. But, overall, it was the performance of the Limerick minors that proved significant — Lorcan Lyons was immense at midfield, while Andrew La Touche Cosgrave and Barry Nash were always threatened up front.
It was honours even early on with Nash scoring three points from play but the switch of Eddie Gunning to centre-back helped settle the Gaelcholáiste. Along with white flags from Gunning, his bother Dan and David Braham they went ahead after 20 minutes, 0-8 to 0-5. But a goal from La Touche Cosgrave, who netted in spite of an initial save from Darragh O’Connell, swung the momentum back Castetroy’s way.
A Braham free then ensured parity at the break, 0-10 to 1-7.
Crucially, Castletroy dominated the restart, hitting 1-5 against a solitary placed ball for the Cork outfit. Again, O’Connell was unlucky to be beaten for Eoin Hourigan’s goal but credit must also be given to Lyons in the first place for a smart delivery into his forward line. Castletroy went on to lead 2-12 to 0-11 with the fourth quarter to play. Also, three minutes into the second-half Ian Coates was red-carded for a foul on Ciarán Hannafin but the Shannonsiders remained on top withdrawing Mark O’Dwyer into an outfield role.
Playing deeper, Cork minor Dayne Lee came more on the ball and the tide began to turn for Gaelcholáiste Mhuire. Evan Sheehan also impressed as they landed five points between them. A Nash point alleviated the pressure but when Dan Gunning put one between them in injury time, it made for a nervous finale. However, the fightback just came up short.
Castletroy College scorers: A La Touche Cosgrave (1-4, 0-3 frees), B Nash (0-5), E Hourigan (1-0), L Lyons (0-2, frees), A Kennedy and I Coates (0-1 each).
Scorers for Gaelcholáiste Mhuire AG: D Braham (0-5, 0-3 frees, 0-1 65m), E Ó Siocháin (0-2 frees), É Ó Conaing (0-2 frees), D Ó Conaing and D Lee (0-3 each), L Ó Cochlan (0-1).
CASTLETROY COLLEGE: J Power (Monaleen); Brian Nash (South Liberties), E Enright (Ahane), F Hourigan (Murroe Boher); D Garry (South Liberties), C Carroll (Ahane), K Gleeson (Monaleen); L Lyons (Monaleen), C O’Meara (Ahane); A La Touche Cosgrave (Monaleen), Barry Nash (South Liberties), I Coates (Old Christians); A Kennedy (Murroe Boher), E Hourigan (Burroe Boher), M O’Dwyer (Monaleen).
Subs: J Nicholas (Monaleen) for A Kennedy (40).
GAELCHOLÁISTE MHUIRE AG: D Ó Conaill (Na Piarsaigh); É O Conaing (Na Piarsaigh), C Ó Suilleabháin (Na Piarsaigh), R Ó Meara (Na Piarsaigh); A Breathnach (Na Piarsaigh), B Ó Ceallacháin (Na Piarsaigh), A Ó Donnabháin (Glen Rovers); L Ó Cochlan (Glen Rovers), E Ó Laoire (Na Piarsaigh); C Ó hAinifin (Na Piarsaigh), P de Faoite (Glen Rovers), D Braham (Glen Rovers), D Ó Conaing (Na Piarsaigh), D Ó Laoi (Na Piarsaigh), E Ó Siocháin (Na Piarsaigh).
Subs: K Ó hEathairn (Na Piarsaigh) for C Ó hAinifin (bs 34-38), K Ó hEathairn for D Braham (44), J Ó Muireasa (Na Piarsaigh) for P de Faoite (47).
Referee: R Moloney (Limerick).