St Brendan’s, Killarney, retained their Hogan Cup title and claimed a fourth All-Ireland title with an eight-point victory over Wexford’s St Peter’s in Croke Park on Saturday.
The county has ruled the All-Ireland minor championship since 2014 and they’ve dominated the Hogan Cup over the same period; Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne lifted the title in 2014 and ’15, before the Sem’s back-to-back successes.
Garry McGrath’s side were full value for the win, which never looked in doubt.
“We’ve worked very, very hard and we’ve got our rewards,” said a beaming McGrath afterwards.
“A lot of these lads have tasted success with the Kerry minors with the South Kerry development squads.
“They’ve tasted it with their clubs and success breeds success. They’re very motivated and they drive each other on.
“We kicked 18 points in an All-Ireland final, you have to be very, very happy with that.
“The likes of Billy (Courtney) and David (Shaw) have picked up their fourth All-Ireland medal today at 18 years of age. It’s just phenomenal.”
Boasting a number of talented youngsters from clubs in and around Killarney, the ‘Sem’ were solid defensively and adventurous in attack.
Despite winning back-to-back crowns, McGrath revealed he had a relatively small pick to chose from. “This Leaving Cert year is one of the smallest years we have in the school. I think there’s only 58 Leaving Cert boys, which is a very small pick. For some of them to win two Hogan Cup medals is phenomenal.”
St Peter’s, who were co-managed by Wexford senior football captain Brian Malone, deserve huge credit for forcing their way back into the game after appearing out of it by half-time. The Leinster champions were hampered by having an early goal disallowed and trailed by 0-10 to 0-3 at the break. The Wexford side had their moments in the second-half but St Brendan’s clicked through the gears and coasted to an eight-point victory.
St Brendan’s have found scores easy to come by throughout their run to glory this season and Saturday’s trip to GAA Headquarters was no different. By half-time, all but one forward had already scored from play. Although it took him 26 minutes to get off the mark, star attacker David Shaw posted 0-4, as did the exceptional Donnchadh O’Sullivan.
“There’s massive work going on underage,” said Shaw. “There’s been massive credit given to all those coaches. I don’t think Kerry are finished yet underage. There’s a lot of unreal players coming through, even in the ‘Sem.’”
Midfielder Billy Courtney, who won an All-Ireland minor medal between the posts for Kerry last September, was clinical while converting four placed balls. The Killarney side enjoyed a fine start to the game and raced into a 0-6 to 0-1 lead inside the opening 18 minutes with scores from Dara Moynihan, Donnchadh O’Sullivan, Mark O’Shea and Ciaran Flynn. Shaw split the posts twice before the interval, while Barry O’Connor curled over the Wexford school’s only two scores from play in the first-half as they trailed by seven at the turnaround.
St Peter’s showed fight after the break and three points between cousins Rory and Barry O’Connor brought them back into contention.
Then St Brendan’s rattled off three quick-fire scores through Shaw, Courtney (free) and O’Sullivan to extend their lead to eight once again.
St Brendan’s reeled off the final four points of the match as Courtney, Micheal Devlin, Shaw and Moynihan put the icing on the cake.
David Shaw 0-4, Billy Courtney 0-4 (0-3f, 0-1 45), Donnchadh O’Sullivan 0-4, Dara Moynihan 0-2, Mark O’Shea, Ciaran Flynn, Jack Griffin and Micheal Devlin 0-1 each.
Barry O’Connor 0-5 (0-1f), Cathal Devereux 0-4 (0-3f), Rory O’Connor 0-1.
Robert Osborne (Killarney Legion); Lorcan McMonagle (Dr Crokes), Chris O’Donoghue (Glenfesk), Sean O’Leary (Kilcummin); Jack Griffin (Dr Crokes), Michael Potts (Dr Crokes), Niall Donohue (Firies) ; Billy Courtney (Dr Crokes), Cian Gammell (Killarney Legion); Dara Moynihan (Spa), Donnchadh O’Sullivan (Firies), Barry Keane (Listry); David Shaw (Dr Crokes), Mark O’Shea (Dr Crokes), Ciaran Flynn (Firies)
Micheal Devlin (Killarney Legion) for Ciaran Flynn (44), Barry Slattery (Killarney Legion) for Chris O’Donoghue (blood sub, 52 – 59), Mark Harnett (Dr Crokes) for Barry Keane (55), Evan Cosgrove (Firies) for Jack Griffin (61), Niall McCarthy (Spa) for Mark O’Shea (62), Diarmuid Brosnan (Firies) for Lorcan McMonagle (63).
Richard Ryan (Glynn-Barntown); Eoin O’Leary (St Martin’s), Ben Maddock (St Martin’s), David O’Keeffe (Taghmon-Camross); Quinn Saunders (Our Lady’s Island), Conor Firman (St Martin’s), Finn O’Driscoll (St Anne’s); Brian Deeney (St John’s Volunteers), Rory O’Connor (St Martin’s); Dylan Furlong (Sarsfields), Ben Moore (St Anne’s), Peter Barry (St Martin’s); David Gouldson (Sarsfields), Barry O’Connor (St Martin’s), Cathal Deverux (Our Lady’s Island).
Michael Codd (St Martin’s) for Ben Maddock (blood sub, 17 – 22), Dylan Lyne (Glynn-Barntown) for David Gouldson (ht), Jack Devereux (St Martin’s) for Peter Barry (57), Michael Codd (St Martin’s) for Finn O’Driscoll (58), Aaron Breen (Glynn-Barntown) for Dylan Furlong (62).
Sean Hurson (Tyrone)