Buy or Renew your GAA Season Ticket for 2019 now

Allianz Football League Division 3 – Offaly 2-10 Limerick 1-12

Offaly defeated Limerick by 2-10 to 1-12 in Round 3 of the Allianz Football League Division 3 on Sunday at Newcastlewest.

Allianz Football League Division 3 – Cavan 0-13 Waterford 1-8

Cavan defeated Waterford by 0-13 to 1-8 in Round 3 of the Allianz Football League Division 3 on Sunday at Kingspan Breffini Park.

Allianz Football League Division 1 – Cork 1-15 Monaghan 1-12

Cork firepower shoots down dogged Farney

Cork 1-15 Monaghan 1-12

By Denis Hurley from the Irish Examiner web site

Monday, February 28, 2011

IN recent times, victories for the Cork footballers have tended to revolve around the scoring exploits of their stars in the full-forward line. It was the case in the All-Ireland semi-final and final, when Donncha O’Connor and Daniel Goulding carried the burden, and three weeks ago in Tralee they picked up where they left off. Against Monaghan at Páirc Uí Chaoimh yesterday, however, the All-Ireland champions showed that they can garner victories even without the inside line functioning fully, as the starting trio of Goulding, O’Connor and Ciarán Sheehan scored just two points from play between them.

Instead, it was the Rebel half-forward line, often criticised for not providing enough on the scoreboard, which played a big role in this win against the northern county, who rarely looked like taking the points but battled to the final whistle. Pearse O’Neill, more associated with important goals, kicked five points from wing-forward; Fintan Goold raised two white flags and won a lot of ball in the air; and centre-forward Patrick Kelly scored 1-1 as well as twice being denied by Monaghan goalkeeper Mark Keogh.

In addition, Conor Counihan’s side had Eoin Cadogan and the inexperienced Denis O’Sullivan shining in defence, while Aidan Walsh dominated the skies, limiting the influence of Dick Clerkin for the most part. For the manager, it was a case of the win not being as easy as some might have viewed it. “All of you guys make it fierce handy altogether, I’ll have to tog ye out there next week!” he laughed. “In the first half we had a lot of ball, and we probably didn’t kill off the game as much as we would have liked. We gave away a few soft scores and in fairness to Monaghan they never stopped coming back at us. We should have got more scores but we didn’t do it, and we faded a little, so there’s plenty room for work on that as well.”

With the exception of wing-backs O’Sullivan and Conor O’Driscoll, as well as goalkeeper Ken O’Halloran, the rest of the starting 15 played a part in the All-Ireland final win last September. Counihan showed that he is not averse to experimentation, however, as Fiachra Lynch and Paul O’Flynn, both normally known as forwards, saw game-time in the second-half at corner-back and wing-back respectively. “It’s just the way the game developed,” he said. “At this stage of the year you’re looking at every option and trying to give as many fellas as possible an opportunity.”

Despite the game being the first played at home by the first-choice panel since claiming Sam Maguire, just 1,375 were in attendance and early on it looked as if they would see a procession, Cork moving into an early three-point lead as Monaghan floundered, and it could have been more but for Keogh’s seventh-minute save from Kelly. Duffy and Conor McManus opened the visitors’ account, however, and they took the lead on 14 as Doogan found Duffy in space to send a fine shot past O’Halloran.

That lead of 1-2 to 0-4 would last just three minutes, though, as Cork upped gears thanks to Walsh’s efforts around the middle. The big midfielder was also getting involved in the final sector but refrained from shooting, setting up Pearse O’Neill for three first-period points. The second of these made it 0-7 to 1-3 and then Kelly put four between the teams, beating Keogh from a tight angle after Sheehan’s fisted attempt at a point went across the face of goal.

By half-time it was 1-9 to 1-5, but Monaghan improved after the restart and four points, two each from Duffy and Paul Finlay, helped them to close to just two by the 60th minute. Cork never looked unduly troubled, despite Clerkin getting forward for two late Monaghan points, and Pearse and Colm O’Neill both raised late white flags to push the lead out to four again. Monaghan’s Mark Downey did hit the bar with a long-range effort in injury time and Dessie Mone got a point to mark a good display for him, but Cork ensured they took third place in the table, leaving Monaghan boss Eamonn McEneaney to rue cheap turnovers. “In the first half I think we were dispossessed something like eight times, which wasn’t good enough,” he said.

Scorers for Cork: P O’Neill 0-5, D Goulding 0-4 (0-3f), P Kelly 1-1, F Goold 0-2, C O’Driscoll, C O’Neill, D O’Connor 0-1 each.

Scorers for Monaghan: O Duffy 1-3, P Finlay 0-3 (0-2f), C McManus (0-1f), D Clerkin 0-2 each, C McGuinness, D Mone 0-1.

Subs for Cork: F Lynch 7 for Carey (half-time), P O’Flynn 6 for O’Driscoll (53), C O’Neill 6 for Goulding (61), N Murphy 6 for A O’Connor (68).

Subs for Monaghan: D Wylie 6 for McAdam, O Lennon 6 for McKenna (both half-time), T Freeman 6 for Duffy (52, inj), M Downey 6 for Turley (60), V Corey 6 for Finlay (69).

Referee: D Coldrick (Meath).


Cork move up to third after Monaghan victory

From the web site

Cork moved up to third place in Division 1 of the Allianz Football League after they saw off Monaghan by 1-15 to 1-12 at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday afternoon. Despite falling 1-2 to 0-4 behind early on as impressive Monaghan forward Owen Duffy scored a fine goal, Cork responded as Patrick Kelly found the net in the 28th minute to put the home team 1-7 to 1-4 in front.

Cork led by 1-9 to 1-5 at half-time, Pearse O’Neill kicking four first-half points, and when Kelly extended that lead early in the second half they were looking well in command of the game. Two points each from Duffy and Paul Finlay helped Monaghan to within two as the final 10 minutes of the match dawned, but it would prove to be as close as they would come, Conor Counihan’s All-Ireland champions closing out the game well, even if the manager was not over the moon with the performance.

“In the first half we had a lot of ball,” he said, “and we probably didn’t kill off as much as we would have liked, gave away a few soft scores and in fairness to Monaghan they never stopped coming back at us. “Today was a day where we should have got more scores on the board but we didn’t do it, and we faded out there as well a little, so there’s plenty room for work on that as well.”

Allianz Football League Division 4 – Carlow 1-11 Clare 1-10

Carlow defeated Clare by 1-11 to 1-10 in Round 4 of the Allianz Football League Division 4 on Sunday at Dr. Cullen Park Carlow.

Allianz Football League Division 3 – Westmeath 2-12 Tipperary 2-9

Greville goal ends Westmeath wait

Tipperary 2-9 Westmeath 2-12

By Jackie Cahill for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, February 28, 2011

WESTMEATH finally claimed an Allianz NFL victory, at the 17th time of asking, with a three-point win over Tipperary at Semple Stadium yesterday. The Lake County had not tasted a league victory since the 2008 Division 2 decider against Dublin and Pat Flanagan’s charges did it the hard way too, coming from five points down to secure this win with a last minute goal from Paul Greville. Tipp led 2-9 to 0-10 after 56 minutes and appeared on course for a second win from three outings. But Westmeath clawed their way back when Tipp goalscorer George Hannigan turned villain with a foul on visiting corner-back John Gaffey. David Glennon slotted home the penalty before further points from Westmeath’s Francis Boyle and Glennon tied the scores at 1-12 to 2-9. And in the 69th minute, Westmeath claimed victory when subs Denis Glennon and Conor Lynam set up Greville for a simple finish.

Goalkeeper Gary Connaughton also deserves a huge slice of credit for keeping Tipp at bay. He did concede a 22nd minute penalty for a foul on Barry Grogan, which the Tipp forward scored from, but he denied Brian Jones with a flying save in the first half. And five minutes after the restart, Connaughton did well to keep out Timmy Dalton. At half-time, the sides were level at 0-6 to 1-3.

Scorers for Tipperary: B Grogan 1-5 (1-0 pen, 3f, 1 45), G Hannigan 1-0, T Dalton, P Austin, B Fox & B Mulvihill 0-1 each.

Scorers for Westmeath: P Greville 1-3 (0-2f), David Glennon 1-1 (1-0 pen), D Dolan 0-3 (2f), F Wilson 0-2, F Boyle, S Quinn & D Corroon 0-1 each.

TIPPERARY: P Fitzgerald; C McDonald, P Codd, A Morrissey; C Aylward, L Egan, N Curran; S Grogan, B Jones; B Fox, G Hannigan, B Mulvihill; T Dalton, P Austin, B Grogan.

Subs: C Sweeney for Dalton (42), C McGrath for Codd (55), P Acheson for Mulvihill (57), B Coen for Hannigan (63).

WESTMEATH: G Connaughton; F Boyle, K Gavin, J Gaffey; M Curley, A Finnan, D Harte; D Duffy, B Murtagh; F Wilson, D Corroon, S Quinn; D Dolan, David Glennon, P Greville.

Subs: G Egan for Quinn (46), P Sharry for Wilson (46), Denis Glennon for Dolan (50), C Lynam for Murtagh (56), K Martin for Finnan (65).

Referee: P O’Sullivan (Kerry)


Greville goal ends long wait for a National League win

by Kieran Galvin for the Westmeath Independent

Tipperary 2-9 Westmeath 2-12

One of the most unwanted sequences in Irish sport came to an end in Thurles last Sunday as Westmeath claimed their first Allianz Football League victory since 2008. A late goal by Paul Greville secured Westmeath’s first league win in 17 games, their last victory in this competition coming in the 2008 Division 2 final against Dublin. It looked like being another day of woe for Westmeath when Tipperary went 2-9 to 0-10 ahead with 14 minutes left. However, David Glennon’s goal from a penalty threw Westmeath a lifeline and the visitors drew level in the 67th minute. The game was still delicately poised but Westmeath now had the momentum and Greville struck for that all-important goal in the 69th minute.

The contribution of Westmeath’s substitutes played a key role in this overdue victory. Denis Glennon and Conor Lynam combined to set up Greville for the winning goal, while U-21 star Ger Egan – the first sub introduced by Pat Flanagan – made a huge impact after he entered the fray in the 46th minute. This was a very welcome and morale-boosting victory for Westmeath, but it was undoubtedly one that was snatched from the jaws of defeat. The Munster men were left ruing their failure to take advantage of a winning position and their total of ten wides (compared to Westmeath’s two) proved very costly indeed.

Tipperary’s decision to take off full-back Paddy Codd with 15 minutes to go also proved highly significant. Codd, who was on a yellow card, had been a commanding figure in the Tipp defence and, following his departure, Westmeath began to find gaps with far greater ease. With three home games still to come, Westmeath still harbour hopes of promotion to Division 2, but they will need to show major improvement in their performances to achieve this goal. In the opening half, the players occupying the central positions in the Westmeath attack – centre-forward Denis Corroon and full-forward David Glennon – were unable to make any impact on the game.

Glennon improved in the second half (as he did in the last outing against Cavan), while Corroon benefited from a later switch to midfield. Indeed, midfield remains a huge problem area for Westmeath, with Brendan Murtagh struggling last Sunday beside the returning David Duffy. While Westmeath finally ended their wait for a league win last weekend, few people will be able to claim they were there to witness it. With an official attendance of 378, Semple Stadium was a cavernous place to be on Sunday.

Backed by the fairly stiff wind in the first half, Westmeath started well and were 0-4 to 0-1 ahead by the 11th minute. Yet it was Tipperary who opened the scoring with a great free into the breeze by Barry Grogan from 45 metres. A similarly well-struck kick by Dessie Dolan, from a ’45’, levelled the scores in the fifth minute. Shortly afterwards, Michael Curley’s delivery from a lineball was caught well by Paul Greville, who turned and fired Westmeath into the lead. Then a move started by the impressive Francis Boyle led to a fine point by wing-forward Fergal Wilson. Tipperary failed to take advantage after Aidan Finnan gave the ball away, and then the lively Dessie Dolan landed a wonderful point (11th minute). That score came after a superb crossfield pass by Brendan Murtagh but, unfortunately for The Downs player, this was one of his few positive contributions on the day.

On 18 minutes, Tipp midfielder Brian Jones was unlucky not to be awarded a free-in, before his shot was deflected out for a fruitless ’45’. A few minutes later, Philip Austin was at the heart of a flowing Tipp move which led to point for Timmy Dalton. Then a well placed long ball by midfielder Seamus Grogan looked like setting up a goal chance for his brother Barry, who was unceremoniously felled by the advancing Gary Connaughton and referee Padraig O’Sullivan awarded a penalty. Barry dusted himself down and dispatched the spotkick to the net, giving Tipp the lead. A foul by Paddy Codd on Dessie Dolan gave Paul Greville an easy chance to draw Westmeath level in the 26th minute. There were plenty of basic errors by both sides in the first half, but Tipperary’s running game was now beginning to flow and Philip Austin should have done better after a well-worked move. Dessie Dolan edged Westmeath ahead with a pointed free in the 31st minute. In first-half injury-time, Grogan levelled matters with another fine kick against the wind, leaving the score 1-3 to 0-6 at half-time.

Within 30 seconds of the resumption, Westmeath went back in front. David Duffy and David Glennon linked up well and Fergal Wilson fisted the ball over via the crossbar, before Simon Quinn put Westmeath 0-8 to 1-3 ahead. A poor pass out of defence by full-back Kieran Gavin then led to a point for Philip Austin. Moments later, Gary Connaughton had to be alert to deny Timmy Dalton, at the expense of a ’45’, which was pointed by Barry Grogan (41st minute). Brian Jones wasted a chance after another necklace of passes had created the opening, but Tipp then went two points clear with scores from Grogan (free) and wing-forward Brian Fox.

The Lake County now needed to respond but they soon contrived to spurn a goal chance. A superb pass by Paul Greville found an unmarked Ger Egan, who passed across to Denis Corroon, but the latter was unable to make decent contact with the ball and the Tipp defence scrambled the ball away. Denis Glennon was introduced as a substitute in the 50th minute, as Dessie Dolan was taken off with a groin strain. Ger Egan earned a free-in which Greville pointed but a 51st-minute goal by Tipperary left Westmeath facing an uphill task. The goal came after Westmeath defender John Gaffey was unable to hold Barry Grogan’s high ball in and George Hannigan gleefully fired the ball to the net with a clinical finish. Brian Mulvihill added a point to leave Westmeath trailing by five (2-8 to 0-9).

Westmeath wing-backs Doran Harte and Michael Curley then did well to set up a point for Denis Corroon, but a fine point by Barry Grogan restored Tipp’s five-point lead. Substitutes and Tyrrellspass club-mates Ger Egan and Denis Glennon combined to good effect and a pass inside from Glennon found the unlikely figure of corner-back John Gaffey inside the large ‘square’. Gaffey was fouled and David Glennon’s resulting penalty was well struck and gave Paul Fitzgerald no chance (59th minute). Tipperary manager John Evans was then convinced that wing-back Christopher Aylward’s shot which was waved wide was, in fact, a ‘point’.

It looked a very close call but it was Westmeath who got the benefit of the doubt. In the 66th minute, Westmeath corner-forward Francis Boyle surged forward and got on the end of a move involving Ger Egan and Conor Lynam; the Killucan man dinked the ball over the bar with a goal possibly on his mind. Denis Glennon then set up his brother David for the equaliser. Denis Glennon was also a central figure in Paul Greville’s 69th minute goal winning goal. Glennon exploited gaps in the Tipp defence and then Conor Lynam passed the ball across to an unmarked Greville, who netted from close range. The men from the Premier County tried to force a late equalising goal but they were unable to get through a packed Westmeath rearguard. The final whistle was greeted with relief by the Westmeath camp, as a monkey was finally lifted from their backs.

Scorers- Westmeath: P Greville 1-3 (0-2f); David Glennon 1-1 (1-0pen); D Dolan 0-3 (0-1 ’45’, 1f); F Wilson 0-2; S Quinn, D Corroon, F Boyle 0-1 each. Tipperary: B Grogan 1-5 (1-0pen, 0-1 ’45’, 3f); G Hannigan 1-0; T Dalton, B Mulvihill, B Fox, P Austin 0-1 each.

Westmeath: Gary Connaughton; Francis Boyle, Kieran Gavin, John Gaffey; Michael Curley, Aidan Finnan, Doran Harte; David Duffy, Brendan Murtagh; Fergal Wilson, Denis Corroon, Simon Quinn; Paul Greville, David Glennon, Dessie Dolan.

Subs: Ger Egan for Quinn (46 mins); Paul Sharry for Wilson (46); Denis Glennon for Dolan (inj., 50); Conor Lynam for Murtagh (56); Kieran Martin for Finnan (65).

Tipperary: Paul Fitzgerald; Ciarán McDonald, Paddy Codd, Andrew Morrissey; Christopher Aylward, Lorcan Egan, Niall Curran; Seamus Grogan, Brian Jones; Brian Fox, George Hannigan, Brian Mulvihill; Timmy Dalton, Philip Austin, Barry Grogan.

Subs: Conor Sweeney for Dalton (41 mins); Ciaran McGrath for Codd (55); Peter Acheson for Mulvihill (58); Brian Coen for Hannigan (63).

Yellow cards: Westmeath 3 (G Connaughton, F Boyle, F Wilson). Tipperary 2 (P Codd, P Acheson).

Referee: Padraig O’Sullivan (Kerry)

Dr. Harty Cup Final – Árd Scoil Ris 3-19 Charleville CBS 0-3

Match Coverage

Check out the Video section of the web site to view the full match online.

Match Reports

Another power play from Árd Scoil

Árd Scoil Rís (Limerick) 3-19 Charleville CBS (Cork) 0-3

By Fintan O’Toole for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, February 28, 2011

IT took three epic encounters and herculean performances before Ard Scoil Rís secured a historic first Dr Harty Cup title against Thurles CBS last March. If that victory required painstaking effort, then the Limerick school’s second crown arrived after a leisurely stroll in yesterday’s decider in the Gaelic Grounds. The pre-match suspicions that Árd Scoil Rís had done the hard work in the earlier rounds, particularly when defeating St Flannan’s in the semi-final, came to pass as they crushed Charleville CBS by a whopping 25 points. Árd Scoil Rís were too strong, powerful and slick for Charleville, who endured a chastening experience in their first decider since 1939. In the Árd Scoil Rís camp afterwards there was more satisfaction than elation, yet manager Niall Moran still savoured this triumph.

“The first one is always going to be very special, particularly given the circumstances of winning it after three games. But this is still special. The way today’s game was won was a bit of an anti-climax, but we won the quarter-final and semi-final in enthralling games. We’ve beaten Colman’s, Thurles and Flannan’s along the way, all schools with big history in the Harty. But for a school the size of Charleville to get to an All-Ireland final is an enormous achievement. I just feel sorry for them that they didn’t perform what they are capable to (today).”

Moran revealed afterwards that Árd Scoil Rís had pinpointed the start of the game as a key period as they sought to unnerve an inexperienced Charleville outfit. They succeeded in style by putting the sliothar in the back of the net within 40 seconds. Kevin O’Brien did the spadework as he cut through the defence and offloaded to corner-forward colleague John Fitzgibbon who finished with aplomb. That set the tone and despite Pa O’Callaghan notching a beautiful point to get Charleville off the mark three minutes later, this exceptional Árd Scoil Rís team began to exert their dominance. The foundations were laid by defensive stalwarts Barry O’Connell, Alan Dempsey and Declan Hannon, while Jamie Shanahan buzzed around midfield to good effect. Centre-forward Shane Dowling ruthlessly punished Charleville indiscretions by converting placed balls. Inside their full-forward line of O’Brien, Oisin Hickey and Fitzgibbon were in lethal form with their sharp pace and touch creating plenty scoring opportunities.

The Charleville backline were overwhelmed as Árd Scoil Rís incessantly rained long deliveries down on top of them and by the 29th minute mark, they trailed 1-11 to 0-1. Then Árd Scoil Rís pounced for their second goal of the game with Fitzgibbon lofting a ball in his direction from the wing that O’Brien finished to the net at the second attempt. Indeed Charleville’s situation could have been more perilous but for an outstanding block by goalkeeper TJ Garvey before half-time from Dowling. But the destination of the silverware was already assured by the break when Árd Scoil Rís lead 2-11 to 0-2. The second-half was largely academic although substitute Jack Kelleher had a vibrant cameo by landing 0-2 and Hickey grabbed the goal his performance deserved in the 54th minute. David Reidy and Pa O’Callaghan kept fighting but manager Timmy O’Callaghan accepted that they collided with vastly superior opponents.

“They’re an outstanding hurling team. We knew we’d have to get a good start but unfortunately they hit the ground running. We wish them well and hope they’ll go onto win the All-Ireland. They’re a top-class team and it’ll be very hard for us now to pick it up for the All-Ireland quarter-final.” Árd Scoil Rís are eyeing bigger prizes. They crave glory on the national stage and with 10 of last year’s team, their hopes of achieving that are clearly promising. Yet Moran cautioned against runaway ambitions given the forces from other provinces. “We will have major challenges ahead because there are two very good Kilkenny sides and a Galway side still involved. It’s been 1967 since a Limerick school won an All-Ireland colleges title so it’s going to take a hell of a lot of hard work. We’ll enjoy tonight and we’ll take it from there then.”

Scorers for Árd Scoil Rís: J Fitzgibbon 1-2; S Dowling 0-5 (four frees, one ‘65); O Hickey 1-1; K O’Brien 1-0; J Shanahan 0-3 (two frees); A Dempsey, J Kelleher 0-2 each; M Ryan, D Hannon, M Carmody, B O’Connor 0-1 each.

Scorers for Charleville CBS: P O’Callaghan 0-3 (two frees).

ÁRD SCOIL RÍS: PJ Hall (Adare); K Lynch (Patrickswell), B O’Connell (Kildimo), D Maloney (Meelick); A Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh), D Hannon (Adare), M Moroney (Parteen); M Ryan (Na Piarsaigh), J Shanahan (Sixmilebridge); M Carmody (Patrickswell), S Dowling (Na Piarsaigh), B O’Connor (Croagh); K O’Brien (Patrickswell), O Hickey (Meelick), J Fitzgibbon (Adare).

Subs: C Keogh (Na Piarsaigh) for Dowling (inj) (38), J Kelleher (Patrickswell) for Fitzgibbon (44), J Hannon (Adare) for Lynch (49), C Lynch (Patrickswell) for Carmody (50), F Carey (Crecora) for O’Connor (53).

CHARLEVILLE CBS: TJ Garvey (Ballyhea); S Butler (Charleville), J Madigan (Charleville), J Walsh (Charleville); A Dennehy (Charleville), D Reidy (Dromin/Athlacca), C Twomey (Newtownshandrum); D Sheehy (Effin), M O’Loughlin (Kilmallock); T Rea (Effin), M Kavanagh (Charleville), J Morrissey (Ballyhea); P O’Callaghan (Ballyhea), J O’Brien (Charleville), D Copps (Ballyhea).

Subs: G Kelleher (Charleville) for Butler (half-time), J McCarthy (Ballyhea) for Morrissey (half-time).

Referee: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary)


Awesome Ardscoil storm to Harty title

Ardscoil Ris 3-19 Charleville 0-3

Dr Harty Cup Final

From the Irish Independent newspaper

Monday February 28 2011

Going into this game, Ardscoil Rís were 1/4 with the bookies, the odds largely framed on their semi-final performance against St Flannan’s College in one of the best colleges games of the last 10 years. Apart from the insidious threat of complacency, it was pretty clear that if Ardscoil Rís hit a similar standard again, Charleville wouldn’t be able to live with them. If anything, the bookies had been generous, because Ardscoil were in a different stratosphere. Ten of their starting team were part of the side which agonisingly lost to St Kieran’s in last year’s All-Ireland final and this is a really serious outfit now. Superbly coached, well drilled, loaded with pace and class, they also have a worldliness about them which reflects their experience. Six of the side were Limerick minors last year, two of whom — Declan Hannon and Shane Dowling — were Limerick U-21s. Jamie Shanahan, one of the best young prospects in Clare, also played in last year’s All-Ireland minor final.

This group of players has effectively been on a crusade over the last two years. They won their first Harty Cup title last season and this campaign appears to be about more than just atonement for last year’s All-Ireland final disappointment; they are consistently seeking to hit a new standard in an attempt to finally grasp what they feel is their destiny — an All-Ireland title. A significant number of new schools are now competing in the Dr Harty Cup, but what Ardscoil have achieved in recent years is phenomenal. Historically, the school was always a rugby stronghold, but hurling has gained real momentum in the last five years. They are still the only Limerick school competing at top-level hurling and rugby, but hurling is now a huge part of the school’s culture. They have a hurling module for transition year students, and they stage a sixth-class blitz for incoming first years. It’s no surprise that they also won last year’s Rice Cup U-14 competition.

The hurling teams share their only pitch with the rugby sides, but this team has become such a positive emblem for Limerick hurling that many of the city clubs, and Limerick IT, consistently make their facilities available. The squad has been in training since last August and their schedule often includes early morning sessions and weekend training camps. In terms of mentality and outlook, this group think and act like elite athletes. Having watched De La Salle win a Harty title for the first time in 2007, and then go on to win successive All-Irelands, Ardscoil closely studied the professional template they had set down. De La Salle had raised the bar and Ardscoil knew they would have to raise it again if they were going to be as competitive. Given the standard of the St Flannan’s team they beat in the semi-final, Ardscoil have certainly hit that level.

In terms of physicality and athleticism, there was no comparison between the sides, but Charleville were a hugely inexperienced side who were competing in their first Harty final in 73 years. Working off numbers of just 260 students, their last real dalliance with success at this level came in 1994 when they lost a Harty quarter-final to a North Monastery side that went on to win the All-Ireland. They had defied all the odds to reach this stage, but they never laid a glove on Ardscoil and the game was over as a contest after the first quarter.

Ardscoil have made a name for themselves as a scoring machine and they added to that reputation in front of 3,120 supporters. They’d been averaging 2-19 in their four matches, against big-name sides — St Flannan’s, Thurles CBS, St Colman’s, Waterford Colleges — and their tally of 3-19 could have been greater if they hadn’t taken their foot off the gas. In all, 10 of their players scored from play. In the early stages, Charleville did everything possible to try and discomfit the centre of Ardscoil’s defence with off-the-ball movement, but Ardscoil just alternated Declan Hannon and Barry O’Connell as their extra man and once they settled down, their diamond touch, fluent style, sharper mindset and precision striking just carved Charleville apart. They were ahead by 1-4 to 0-1 after the first quarter and they’d extended that lead to 2-11 to 0-2 at the break. In his victory speech, joint-captain Dowling alluded to the fact that, in the last three years, Ardscoil have now won their first Dean Ryan title (Munster U-16 and a half), their first Harty title and now their first Harty two-in-a-row. In their minds, there is still only one outstanding first to be completed.

Scorers — Ardscoil Rís: S Dowling 0-5 (4f, 1 ’65’), J Fitzgibbon 1-2, O Hickey 1-1, K O’Brien 1-0, J Shanahan 0-3 (2f), A Dempsey, J Kelleher 0-2 each, M Carmody, B O’Connor, D Hannon, M Ryan 0-1 each. Charleville CBS: P O’Callaghan 0-3 (2f).

ArdScoil Rís — PJ Hall; K Lynch, B O’Connell, D Maloney; A Dempsey, D Hannon, M Moroney; M Ryan, J Shanahan; M Carmody, S Dowling, B O’Connor; K O’Brien, O Hickey, J Fitzgibbon. Subs: C Keogh for Dowling (37), J Kelleher for Fitzgibbon (41), C Lynch for Carmody (50), F Carey for O’Connor (55).

Charleville CBS — TJ Garvey; S Butler, J Madigan, J Walsh; C Twomey, D Reidy, A Dennehy; D Sheehy, M O’Loughlin; T Rae, M Kavanagh, J Morrissey; D Copps, J O’Brien, P O’Callaghan. Subs: G Kelleher for Butler (h-t), J McCarthy for Morrissey (h-t).

Ref — F Horgan (Tipperary)