Corner-back Dara Ryan was the unlikely hero as St Joseph’s, Tulla reached the Dr Harty Cup semi-final for the first time in the school’s history with a snatch-and-grab win over Christian Brothers College.
The Cork school’s bid to reach a third final in a row was going smoothly in this last-eight clash as they led by six points at the second water break.
However, inspired by Sean Withycombe the Banner side scored 1-7 in the final quarter to secure the dramatic win and a date with either De La Salle or Nenagh CBS in the semi-final.
Withycombe was in imperious form hitting 0-14 to add to the 1-8 he scored in the equally dramatic win over St Colman’s of Fermoy.
After Daire Burke’s goal in first-half stoppage time, it looked like CBC were on course for the expected win as the Cork side led 1-9 to 0-5 at the break.
However, buoyed by the belief gathered from that win over St Colman’s, the Tulla school stuck with it and managed to secure a dramatic victory.
“We told them at half-time that this wasn’t new territory for us,” said selector Tomás Kelly, referencing the come-from-behind win in the previous round.
“We had played very well in the first half, just at this level, if you switch off for two minutes a team like CBC are going to punish you and they did.
“I just have to take my hat off to those lads because they just don’t know how to give up. They are a credit to the school, they are a credit to their communities, they are a credit to their clubs and they are a credit to their families.”
After the third quarter of this contest went tit-for-tat with free-takers Withycombe and CBC’s Eoin O’Leary doing most of the scoring it looked like this game was fading towards an inevitable conclusion.
However, inspirational points from midfielders Ronan O’Connor and Daragh Keogh closed the gap further before up popped Ryan to blast a dramatic goal in the 61st minute.
Withycombe’s 14th white flag, this time from a ‘65 ensured the win.
“If we can bring the belief we will be very hard to beat. The scenes here, it is like a county final or a Munster final, but it’s only one more step,” Kelly said. “This is our second year playing (Harty Cup), we played for a year in the 90s, the last day against Colman’s was our first ever win and to get to a Harty Cup semi-final, you couldn’t even dream it.”