Ardscoil Rís continued their march towards a fourth Harty Cup crown in six years when dismissing the brave challenge of Hamilton High School Bandon in this quarter-final clash.
Yesterday’s heated encounter was a repeat of last year’s semi-final, a fixture Ardscoil Rís romped home 2-14 to 1-4, and while this latest instalment was far from one-sided, the holders never looked in any danger of emerging second best at Charleville.
Having toiled against the elements in the first period, Ardscoil still returned to the dressing room with their noses in front, 0-8 to 0-7. It was a lead they would never relinquish, 1-4 without reply during a six-minute burst midway through the second-half proving the game’s crucial period.
A Sean O’Donovan goal seven minutes out provided the Bandon students with a flicker of hope, but they were unable to make any further inroads. A meagre tally of 1-1 during the final 23 minutes highlighted Hamilton’s second-half struggles, a late injury to midfielder Luke Meade compounding their woes.
“We are relieved to get through, we ground it out in the end,” said Ardscoil Rís selector Niall Moran.
“Conditions weren’t for fast hurling, but luckily enough we got the goal at the right time. Momentum is huge on a day like today. We got a kick from the goal and we drove on from there.”
Little or nothing separated the sides during the early exchanges and the contest was level on no fewer than five occasions in the first period. Four points inside the opening 18 minutes from Bandon full-forward Eoin O’Reilly, added to a Chris O’Leary free, settled the Cork outfit, but, even at this early stage, it was clear Ardscoil Rís carried a greater overall balance.
Half-forward Michael Mackey proved tormentor-in-chief, hitting three first-half points, with Ronan Lynch (0-2 frees), Conor Holihan (0-1 free), Conor Boylan and the impressive Aaron Gillane all finding the target. Their interval advantage could have been far more substantial was it not for the intervention of the crossbar and a fine double-save from Hamilton keeper Cathal Dart-O’Flynn.
Placed ball efforts from O’Leary and O’Reilly, accentuated by a fine Colm Dineen effort, levelled matters at 0-10 apiece on 37 minutes. With proceedings delicately poised, now was Hamilton’s time to strike. They didn’t, and tradition shone through in the ensuing passages of play.
Ronan Lynch, set-up by Peter Casey, pounced for an Ardscoil Rís goal on 45 minutes. Casey (0-2), Gillane and Mackey splits the posts subsequently and the gap stretched to seven. O’Donovan’s goal cut the deficit momentarily, but Gillane and Mackey would ensure Ardscoil Rís had the final say.
Scorers for Ardscoil Rís: M Mackey (0-5); R Lynch (1-2, 0-2 frees); A Gillane (0-4); P Casey (0-3); C Holihan (0-1 free), C Boylan (0-1 each).
Scorers for Hamilton High: E O’Reilly (0-6, 0-3 frees); C O’Leary (0-3, 0-2 frees); S O’Donovan (1-0); D Curran, C Dineen (0-1 each).
ARDSCOIL RÍS: S Mullane (Mungret); C Holihan (Na Piarsaigh), S Phelan (Broadford), N Fox (Parteen); R Lynch (Na Piarsaigh), S Hogan (Adare), M Andrews (Na Piarsaigh); T Grimes (Na Piarsaigh), J Flynn (Patrickswell); K Howard (Old Christians), A Gillane (Patrickswell), M Mackey (Adare); P Casey (Na Piarsaigh), E Ryan (Adare), C Boylan (Na Piarsaigh).
Subs: E Mulcahy (Munget) for Howard (49 mins), M Connolly (Adare) for Boylan (53), J Boylan (Na Piarsaigh) for Andrews (55).
HAMILTON HIGH: C Dart-O’Flynn (Valley Rovers); E O’Brien (Ballinascarthy), L Murray (Ballinascarthy), W Hurley (Valley Rovers); J O’Mahony (Bandon), C O’Leary (Valley Rovers), J Kelleher (Newcestown); L Meade (Newcestown), J Mulcahy (Bandon); D Curran (Newcestown), S O’Donovan (Newcestown), T O’Sullivan (Courcey Rovers); C Dineen (Newcestown), E O’Reilly (Newcestown), B Crowley (Valley Rovers).
Subs: I Crowley (Valley Rovers) for O’Mahony (HT), C Maguire (Courcey Rovers) for O’Sullivan (46 mins), A O’Callaghan (Valley Rovers) for O’Brien (55), T O’Sullivan for Meade (58, inj).
Referee: F Horgan (Tipperary).