St Kieran’s, a point down at the break, started the second period in whirlwind fashion, posting 1-2 in quick succession. Adrian Mullen, who was well marked by Templemore captain Paddy Cadell in the first half, kicked to the net to send the reigning champions 2-8 to 1-7 clear.
Lyndon Fairbrother replied for Templemore with a superb strike to the roof of Dean Mason’s net on 38 minutes.
Back down the field, though, came Kieran’s and despite a fine Eoin Collins save to keep out Diarmuid Phelan’s piledriver, Mullen was on hand to stick the rebound to the net for his second and his team’s third green flag. The Kilkenny college once again moved four points clear, but Templemore refused to lie down and a goal by Ray McCormack on 48 minutes after his initial shot was blocked levelled matters at 3-9 apiece.
The winners, in the crucial period of the game, would hit the next four points. Ciarán Brennan and Adrian Mullen both had goal chances late on to rescue the situation for St Kieran’s. Both shots, however, were repelled.
The Tipperary school will have been disappointed to be only clear at the break - 1-7 to 1-6, their lead significantly eaten into by a Ciarán Brennan goal a minute and a half into first-half stoppages. Credit here to Eoghan Moylan who did exceptionally well to dispossess Pádraig Campion to set up the chance for Brennan who finished excellently from an acute angle.
Brian McGrath supplied the Templemore goal on 11 minutes, the half-forward latching onto a long delivery after ghosting in behind the Kieran’s full-back line. The Munster champions were finding scores easing to come by, with David O’Shea, Diarmuid Ryan, Brian McGrath and Jerry Kelly on target from open players.
They faltered slightly after the break but came good at the crucial time to seal a famous victory for the school - their second ever Croke Cup win and first since 1978.
Scorers for Our Lady’s Templemore: B McGrath (1-8, 0-4 frees 0-2 ’65); L Fairbrother (1-1); R McCormack (1-0); D O’Shea, D Ryan, A O’Meara, J Kelly (0-1 each).
Scorers for St Kieran’s College: A Mullen (2-2, 0-1 free, 0-1 65); C Brennan (1-1); E O’Shea (0-3); D Barron (0-2). T Drea, D Phelan (0-1 each).
Our Lady’s Templemore: E Collins (Drom and Inch); N Quinlan (JK Brackens), P Campion (Drom and Inch), E Ryan (Loughmore-Castleiney); E McBride (JK Brackens), A O’Meara (Drom and Inch), P Cadell (JK Brackens); D Ryan (Clonakenny), S Nolan (Drom and Inch); B McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney), R McCormack (Borrisoleigh), J Kelly (Borrisoleigh); L Fairbrother (JK Brackens), D O’Shea (JK Brackens), A Ormond (JK Brackens).
Subs: J Ryan (Toomevara) for Nolan (49 mins); S Doyle (JK Brackens) for O’Shea (56); F Purcell (Drom and Inch) for Ormond (60).
St Kieran’s College: D Mason (Ballyhale Shamrocks); T Ronan (Graigue-Ballycallan), M Carey (Young Irelands), L Murphy (James Stephens); B Lawlor (James Stephens), M Keoghan (Tullaroan), K Egan (Graigue-Ballycallan); E O’Shea (O’Loughlin Gaels), T Drea (Young Irelands); A Mullen (Ballyhale Shamrocks), D Phelan (Danesfort), E Moylan (Dicksboro); D Barron (Thomastown), C Brennan (Bennettsbridge), E Sheffline (Ballyhale Shamrocks).
Subs: S Ryan (Graigue-Ballycallan) for Shefflin (41 mins); P Mullen (Danesfort) for Moylan (56); R Whelan (James Stephens) for Lawlor (56).
Referee: C Lyons (Cork).