The Templemore side had lost 0-11 to 0-8 against Ardscoil Rís, but there was no shame in that defeat.
“Being a small school, we’re using more fifth years and transition years than them and it’s hard for a 15 or 16-year-old to be competing against an 18-and-a-half-year-olds,” he said at the time.
“We’re very proud of them, they’ve been fantastic all year. It’s not just today, their effort off the field, their effort in training and in school has been excellent.”
On Saturday in the Gaelic Grounds, Our Lady’s channelled the disappointment of 2016 and used the experience gained to put together a near-flawless performance in seeing off St Colman’s College of Fermoy.
For Byrnes, it was the culmination of a year-long quest to go one better.
“They were going well in training,” he said.
“Every game takes on a life of its own when it starts.
“Last year, the hurt [motivated us] number one but I’d say the experience as well. Maybe Colman’s froze a little at the start, I didn’t think they’d freeze because they were going in as underdogs and had nothing to lose.”
Templemore had big displays throughout their team.
Brian McGrath, captain as Tipperary won the minor All-Ireland last year, scored 1-7 from centre-forward and Templemore’s skipper Paddy Cadell was masterful at centre-back, his aerial ball-winning and subsequent distribution of the highest quality.
At midfield, Stevie Nolan scored four points and suffered for his high-energy levels, being forced off with a nasty facial injury when contesting a loose ball near the end.
The stand-out, however, was Jerry Kelly. Wearing 12, he could be said to have operated as a ‘quarter-forward’, dropping back to help his defence when required but without that inhibiting his attacking impact, as he scored five points and helped set up countless others.
After McGrath and Nolan had early points, an excellent Kelly score made it 0-3 to 0-0 before he played in McGrath for another and then Andrew Ormonde profited from Lyndon Fairbrother’s wonderful flick to put five between the teams.
Eoin Roche, one of Colman’s best on the day, opened their account with a long-range effort before Diarmuid Lenihan’s free, but instead of signalling a fightback, it was just a punctuation to Templemore’s dominance.
Only a good Eoin Wallace hook denied Fairbrother a goal on 15 minutes, Ray McCormack wide with the follow-up, but they didn’t have long to wait. From a searching Cadell clearance, Ormonde did well to win possession on the right and then turned on the after-burners before firing home.
Kelly followed that with another point after he demonstrated lovely control to win the ball and David O’Shea got on the scoresheet too after good interplay with McGrath and Eoghan Ryan.
McCormack went close to a goal again, Eoin Davis saving, while in injury time Jamie O’Leary had to get in a block on McGrath.
By the interval, it was 1-12 to 0-4, with Templemore’s nine wides to Colman’s two, further indicating the Tipperary men’s dominance.
David Lardner opened the second-half scoring for Colman’s, but the 4,924 in attendance witnessed Templemore respond to that with seven more points in a row to put thing fully beyond doubt.
Impressive Fermoy centre-back Niall O’Leary, moved into an attacking role, pulled a goal back on 49, but immediately McGrath responded in kind, taking advantage of the absence of O’Leary from his usual habitat.
Brian Roche and O’Leary both had late goal efforts repelled by Eoin Collins, and at the death it was fitting that Kelly rounded things off with his fifth point.
B McGrath (1-7, 2 frees, 1 65), J Kelly (0-5), S Nolan, L Fairbrother (3 frees) (0-4 each), A Ormonde (1-1), D O’Shea (0-1).
N O’Leary (1-1), D Lenihan (0-3, 2 frees), E Roche, D Lardner (0-1 each).
E Collins (Drom & Inch); S Ryan (Templederry Kenyons), P Campion (Drom & Inch), E Ryan (Loughmore-Castleiney); N Quinlan (JK Brackens), P Cadell (JK Brackens), A O’Meara (Drom & Inch); D Ryan (Clonakenny), S Nolan (Drom & Inch); D O’Shea (JK Brackens), B McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney), J Kelly (Borris-Ileigh); A Ormonde (JK Brackens), R McCormack (Borris-Ileigh), L Fairbrother (JK Brackens).
S Doyle (JK Brackens) for McCormack (52), J Ryan (Toomevara) for D Ryan (53), J Gilmartin (Roscrea) for Ormonde (58), G O’Connor (Moyne-Templetuohy) for O’Shea (59), D Byrne (Clonakenny) for S Ryan (60), M Egan-O’Brien (JK Brackens) for Nolan (60, blood).
E Davis (St Catherine’s); E Wallace (St Catherine’s), J O’Leary (Castlelyons), K Neville (St Catherine’s); S McCarthy (Fermoy), N O’Leary (Castlelyons), E Roche (Bride Rovers); S O’Connor (Bride Rovers), D Lenihan (Ballyhooly); J Sheehan (Kilworth), B Murphy (Castlelyons), D Lardner (Fermoy); C Ryan (Bride Rovers), B Roche (Bride Rovers), A Creed (Fermoy).
R O’Sullivan (Fermoy) for Neville (24, injured), G Lardner (Fermoy) for Ryan, R Galvin (St Catherine’s) for Creed (both half-time), J Mehigan (Ballyhooly) for Sheehan (46), F Hickey (Ballyduff Upper, Waterford) for Murphy (60).
R McGann (Clare).