Conditions couldn’t have been better for hurling on a bright, clear, windless day but both teams struggled at times to make the most of their opportunities and will have to improve hugely if they hope to be involved at the business end of the season.
At one stage, early in the second half, the Limerick school led by eight points but five scores on the bounce for Midleton CBS brought them back to within a goal with 12 minutes remaining.
The impressive Paraic O’Loughlin swung over a free to settle nerves somewhat but, after Josh Beausang converted a similar chance at the other end to make the gap three again, Ardscoil got a penalty and a chance to put further daylight between the sides. Peter Casey, who had a fine game otherwise, struck his shot well but Ross Walsh showed impressive composure to pull off the save and the sliotar was cleared to safety.
The only other score came deep into injury-time when Beausang, scorer of all but one of Midleton’s points, sent a free over the bar.
If Ardscoil can improve their scoring conversion rate they could yet trouble many teams in the competition, but 13 wides in 60 minutes will worry manager Niall Moran and his selectors.
However, the Limerick side enjoyed good displays from Conor Houlihan deep in defence, Sean Phelan, O’Loughlin and Cian Moriarty, the latter scrambling home a fortuitous goal in the first half when a ball wasn’t cleared by the Midleton rearguard. Midleton, for their part, won’t be pleased by their endeavours in attack. It took them 35 minutes to score from play, when John Looney put over a nice shot on the run, although any team with the reliable Beausang on duty will have some promise.
Cal Hegarty did well at full-back, with Daniel Harrington also putting in a solid hour, while Cian Gosnell caused problems when introduced to the action for the last quarter.
P O’Loughlin 0-6 4F, C Moriarty 1-1, P Casey 0-2.
J Beausang 0-9 (8F), J Looney 0-1.
E Foley, J Delahunty, C Houlihan, J Boylan, S Phelan, N Fox, S Hogan, P Casey, C Moriarty, B Ryan, D Cunningham, C Boylan, J Flynn, D Carroll, P O’Loughlin.
D Fitzgerald for D Carroll (35m), J Glesson for J Boylan (55m), J McInerny for D Cunningham (60m).
R Walsh, S O’Leary Hayes, C Hegarty, M Mellerick, D Harrington, S O’Connor, S Smith, J McDonnell, D Crotty, B McCarthy, J Looney, C Terry, E Leahy, J Beausang, K Treacy.
C Ruddy for D Crotty (HT), C Gosnell for C Terry (44m), C Parker for E Leahy (55m), L O’Shea for B McCarthy (57m).
John McCormack (Kickhams, Tipperary).