At the third time of asking, they came through another epic encounter with Coláiste Chríost Rí at Ballvourney on Saturday to set up a provincial showdown with fellow Kerry school and titleholders St Brendan’s Killarney next Saturday.
Tralee started full of intent, a goal in the fourth minute from Tralee CBS centre forward Tom Hoare catapulted them into an early lead. Along with points from Hoare and Michael Kelliher they were 1-2 to nil ahead after 12 minutes. They stretched the lead to six points with seven minutes to go to the break.
However, Coláiste Chríost Rí put themselves back into contention courtesy of Cillian Myers Murray’s who kicked two fine points. They were also let off the hook when the outstanding Michael Scanlon was off target with a goal shot just before the change of ends. The Kerry outfit led 1-4 to 0-3 after playing with the breeze to their backs.
Coláiste Chríost Rí restarted with the first three scores to come within a point. But, they were dealt a blow when Myers Murray was black-carded on 40 minutes, as the Green went on to record the next two points, 1-7 to 0-6 at the end of the third quarter.
Joe O’Connor had a big presence around the middle, and he posted two cracking points leaving the Kerry side 1-9 to 0-8 to the good with 10 minutes remaining. Ronan Dalton and Kelliher exchanged points, and when Dan Lucey split the posts, it was back to a three-point game.
In a hectic finish, Jack O’Brien cut the gap to two points, but subs Aaron Roche and Sean Quilter helped up the tempo again for Tralee CBS. They held on for victory. Now, they will hope to bridge a 10-year gap since last winning this prestigious trophy.
T Hoare (1-2, 0-2 frees), M Kelliher (0-4, 0-1 free), J O’Connor (0-2), M Scanlon and T O’Connor (0-1 each)
M Cronin (0-3, 0-2 frees), C Myers Murray (0-1 free), R Dalton and M Brosnan (0-2 each), J O’Brien and D Lucey (0-1 each).
S Foley (Kerins O’Rahillys); B Patterson (Austin Stacks), N O’Mahony (Na Gaeil), J Myres (John Mitchels); J Walsh (Knocknagoshel), K Dwyer (Capt, St Pats Blennerville), T Lynch (St Pats Blennerville); J O’Connor (Austin Stacks), T O’Connor (Ballymacelligott), M Scanlon (Castlegregory), T Hoare (Kerins O’Rahillys), S Donnellan (Churchill); D Keane (Ballymacelligott), G Fitzgerald (Austin Stacks), M Kelliher (John Mitchels).
S Quilter (Austin Stacks) for D Keane (52), A Clifford (Churchill) for S Donnellan (57), A Roche for S Quilter (BC 60).
D Moran (St Finbarr’s); E Varian (St Finbarr’s), B Cripps (Nemo Rangers), A Walsh (St Finbarr’s); D Kelly (Douglas), M Hitchmough (Shamrocks), J O’Brien (St Finbarr’s); J Ryan (Capt, Sliabh Rua), K Forde (Nemo Rangers); D Lucey (Mayfield), M Cronin (Nemo Rangers), J Coughlan (Nemo Rangers); R Dalton (Nemo Rangers), M Brosnan (Carrigaline), C Myers Murray (St Finbarr’s).
S O’Dwyer (Nemo Rangers) for A Walsh (10 inj), L Hannigan (St Finbarr’s) for C Myers Murray (BC 42), J O’Brien (Nemo Rangers) for J Coughlan (50).
Derek O’Mahony (Tipperary).