The Fermoy school felt they might have had a late free to equalise, and Ardscoil coach Niall Moran admitted later “a draw would have been a fair result,” He added: “My heart goes out to Colman’s— from one to 15, what they did today will live in the annals of that school as much as their nine Harty titles.”
Both sides struggled with a first-half wind and a shower of snow, and as the game wore on the pitch got heavier as well. A bigger Ardscoil side got on top early on and the free-taking of Paul O’Brien kept them on the front foot until Colman’s sharpshooter Stephen Condon found his range. The treacherous conditions weren’t conducive to skilful forward play but they were also punishing for both defences, which gave away a lot of scorable frees.
By the end of the first quarter Ardscoil were two ahead, 0-5 to 0-3, only for a superb Niall O’Leary solo effort to cut the difference to one. Colman’s only got one more point before the interval, another Condon free, but with referee John Cormack playing almost five minutes injury time Ardscoil managed two more scores before half-time, both O’Brien frees, leaving the score 0-7 to 0-5 at half-time.
Colman’s had a golden spell on the resumption— Condon pointed another free and then dropped a long-range free short. When the ball broke Kyle Cronin pulled first-time for the game’s only goal. Another Condon free edged Colman’s ahead (1-5 to 0-7). Ardscoil rallied with points from Darragh Carroll — a superb sideline cut — O’Brien and sub. John Flynn to tie the game; Condon (free) responded, only for Ard Scoil to push ahead thanks to O’Brien (free) and Conor Boylan. Condon levelled from a 65 and the game was anyone’s. Carroll hit what proved to be the winner before Colman’s came hunting for that late equaliser, but Ardscoil held them at bay.
Colman’s manager Flannan Cleary was full of praise for his player: “There was nothing in it, we felt we might have had a freeat the end, but we didn’t get it. You’d be disappointed with those decisions, but the lads gave it everything. We’re very happy with how they performed.”
“We’re often accused of not having spirit,” said Niall Moran in the Ardscoil corner. “By God we have heart. That was a game that was there for us to lose today, but they gave it their absolute all.”
P. O’Brien (0-7 frees)(0-8); D. Carroll (0-1 sideline)(0-2); J. Flynn, P. O’Loughlin, C. Boylan (0-1 each).
S. Condon (0-5 frees, 0-1 65) 0-7; K. Cronin (1-0); N. O’Leary, J. Sheehan (0-1 each).
E. Foley (Na Piarsaigh), J. Delahunty (Newport), S. Phelan (Broadford), S. Hogan (Adare), C. Houlihan (Na Piarsaigh), N. Fox ( c)(Parteen), J. Boylan (Na Piarsaigh), D. Carroll (Kilteely/Dromkeen), B. Ryan (South Liberties), D. Cunningham (Cratloe), P. O’Brien (Mungret), P. O’Loughlin (Clonlara), C. Boylan (Na Piarsaigh), C. Moriarty (Clonlara), P. Casey (Na Piarsaigh).
J. Flynn (Patrickswell) for O’Loughlin (35); R. Connolly (Adare) for Delahunty (37); D. Fitzgerald (Clonlara) for Moriarty (45).
E. Davis (St. Catherine’s), E Wallace (St. Catherine’s), J. O’Leary (Castlelyons), K. Neville (St. Catherine’s), E. McGrath (Kilworth), N. O’Leary (Castlelyons), O. Hickey (Ballyduff), D. Linehan (Ballyhooly), J. Saich (c)(Kilworth), J. Sheehan (Kilworth), K. O’Leary (Castlelyons), C. Donnellan (Kilworth), K. Cronin (Watergrasshill), B. Murphy (Castelyons), S. Condon (Glanworth).
R. Galvin (St. Catherine’s) for Donnellan (50); T. O’Donnell (St. Catherine’s) for Sheehan (55).
J. McCormack (Tipperary).