Yet another Croke Cup final beckons for St Kieran’s College of Kilkenny after they held on to narrowly defeat a game Ardscoil Rís side in this second semi-final in Clonmel.
The Athenry standard-bearers now await the 21-time champions in the decider and it could yet be a thriller with neither team looking the finished article just yet.
In a tight game before a large and loud crowd, St Kieran’s had that bit of nous to get them in front as the first half wore on, with Adrian Mullen accurate from placed balls and Eoin O’Shea, Ciaran Brennan and Conor Kelly also proving dangerous.
They consolidated their lead in the minutes after half-time, adding three points in quicktime to add to the eight they notched up in the opening period, putting five between the teams.
The Limerick lads did well to get back into it, however, with Rian Considine blasting to the net from the ground in the 42nd minute and they drew level with 10 minutes left on the clock as Paul O’Brien kept them in touch and Diarmuid Ryan fired over two excellent scores from play to give them hope.
However, they couldn’t capitalise on that period of dominance and it was Kieran’s who finished the strongest, Mullen again vital with frees and ‘65’s and Eoin Cody chipping in with a fine sideline cut as the game neared its end.
Ardscoil’s Cathal O’Neill went for goal in the third minute of added time, to try and take the game into extra-time, but his shot flashed over the bar and the final whistle sounded shortly afterwards.
Scorers: St Kieran’s - A Mullen 0-6 (4F, 2 ‘65’), C Kelly 0-5 (3F), E O’Shea 0-3, D Barron 0-1, C Kelly 0-1 (F), D O’Carroll 0-1, C Brennan 0-1, E Cody 0-1 (SC).
Ardscoil Rís - P O’Brien 0-7 (5F, 2 ‘65’), D Ryan 0-3, R Considine 1-0, C O’Neill 0-2, A Moriarty 0-1, R Duff 0-1
St Kieran’s College: D Mason, T Ronan, C Murphy, M Nolan, D Phelan, J Roberts, L Murphy, K Egan, E O’Shea, E Moylan, C Brennan, A Mullen, D Barron, D O’Carroll, C. Kelly. Subs: I Walsh for E Moylan (48m), J Young for D Barron (53m), G Murphy for E O’Shea (53m), E Cody for D O’Carroll (57m).
Ard Scoil Rís: J Gillane, P Heaney, J Considine, E McEvoy, J Boylan, R Connolly, C O’Reilly, D Ryan, R Duff, A Moriarty, P O’Brien, D Woulfe, C O’Neill, R Considine, C Bourke. Subs: J Daly for C Bourke (35m), B O’Connor for D Woulfe (42m), J McMahon for P Heaney (47m), S Long for P O’Brien (60m).
Ref: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary).