Mark Kennedy sealed Presentation College Athenry’s spot in this year’s All-Ireland Post-Primary Schools Hurling final with a four-point comeback win against Kilkenny CBS at Ferbane in Offaly, writes
The Galway men were big 2-19 to 1-8 winners over Gort Community School last time out, but they trailed 2-9 to 1-2 at the interval here.
Goals from Luke Hogan and Jamie Ryan looked to have the Kilkenny side in control. Adam Brett had scored for Presentation College Athenry.
And with the wind at their backs in the second-half they came back firing, led by their inspirational captain, Galway All-Ireland minor winner, Conor Walsh.
Eoin Caulfield scored two goals in the second-half while Kennedy finished the game off in additional time.
Kennedy had opened the scoring in the third minute but Conor Heary equalised, and then Kilkenny CBS began to take their chances in front of goal.
Up the other their defenders were on top too, and Hogan raced through to score his goal after a brilliant pass from Sean Boyd in the seventh minute.
Brett got a flick to Walsh’s sideline to score Athenry’s goal in the 18th minute but then Kilkenny CBS scored 1-3 without reply.
Ryan’s goal arrived after a goalmouth scramble, and they also scored four points unanswered before half-time, with Conor Drennan (three) and Boyd on target.
It gave them what looked to be a comfortable 2-9 to 1-2 advantage at the break. And Ryan pushed them further clear with a point on the resumption.
But Presentation College Athenry always knew they would have their chances backed by the wind in the second-half, and when they did they made Kilkenny CBS pay.
They scored 2-4 without reply between the 37th and 49th minutes. Caulfield found the net for the first time after a pass from Kennedy in the 44th minute and five minutes later Kennedy turned finisher.
Five minutes from the end of normal time Kennedy tied the game up, and then Eoin O’Donnell gave Presentation College Athenry the lead shortly after, with Caulfield’s late goal securing victory.
Presentation College Athenry: E Caulfield 2-0, M Kennedy 1-3 (0-2f), A Brett 1-0, C Walsh 0-3 (0-2f, 0-1 65), C Lawless 0-2, E O’Donnell 0-1, K Conneely 0-1.
Kilkenny CBS: C Drennan 0-7 (0-3f), J Ryan 1-2, L Hogan 1-0, S Boyd 0-2, C Heary 0-1.
Presentation College Athenry: P Rabbitte; A Clarke, C Lee, E Lawless (I McGlynn 60); K Conneely, C Walsh, TJ Brennan; S Quirke, J Reilly; E O’Donnell, A Brett, B Connolly; M Kennedy, C Lawless, E Caulfield.
Kilkenny CBS: D McCormack; M Byrne, B Lawlor, M Butler; L Hogan, L Stynes, C Timmons; S Staunton, J Sheehan; O Murphy, C Drennan, C Heary; J Ryan (S Kenny 58), T Butler, S Boyd.
Referee: Alfie Devine (Westmeath).