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All-Ireland PPS SH A Final – St. Kierans 1-15 Thurles CBS 1-12
St. Kierans Kilkenny defeated Thurles CBS by 1-15 to 1-12 in the Masita All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Senior A Hurling (Croke Cup) Final on Saturday April 4th at Semple Stadium Thurles.
St Kieran’s climb to top of schools hurling with final victory
By Eoghan Cormican for Breakingnews.ie
St Kieran’s College (Kilkenny) 1-15 Thurles CBS (Tipperary) 1-12
St Kieran’s College continued their stay at the summit of schools hurling this afternoon, securing their 20th Croke Cup title with a deserved three-point win over Thurles CBS. A Robbie Long injury-time point had reduced the deficit to three and made for a tense conclusion as Thurles searched frantically for a goal. St Kieran’s, as they had done all afternoon, stood firm.
Four unanswered minors early in the second period from Richie Leahy, Ray Lahart (0-2) and Jason Byrne re-established their five point lead after two points in quick succession from Thurles’ Jack Skehan and Niall Heffernan had pared the margin back to the minimum. Thurles were unable to draw parity and that really was the story of the contest, St Kieran’s staying out of reach for the majority of the 60 minutes.
The winners were far livelier in springing from the blocks, points from Billy Ryan, Ray Lahart (free), Liam Blanchfield and Seán Morrissey moving the Kilkenny school 0-4 to 0-1 clear after 10 minutes. Michael Connors capitalised on a mistake by St Kieran’s goalkeeper Adrian Mullen to strike the opening goal of the contest, and, in the process, ignite the Thurles challenge. A Niall Heffernan free edged the underdogs in front, but it proved a short-lived lead – Lahart firing to the net for the reigning champions on 17 minutes.
Points subsequently from Ryan (0-2), Lahart (free) and Tadhg O Dwyer stretched their advantage to 1-9 to 1-4 as Thurles were coping poorly in dealing with Kieran’s inside line of Lahart, Ryan and O’Dwyer. Niall Cahill’s troops rallied somewhat approaching the break, Billy McCarthy, Niall Heffernan and Connor on target, to cut the gap back to three (1-10 to 1-7) at half-time.
Scorers for St Kieran’s: R Lahart (1-5, 0-4 frees, 0-1 ‘65); B Ryan (0-3); R Leahy, S Morrissey (0-2 each); J Bryne, L Blanchfield, T O’Dwyer (0-1 each).
Scorers for Thurles CBS: N Heffernan (0-5, 0-4 frees); M Connors (1-2); B McCarthy, K Duggan, R Heffernan, R Long, J Skehan (0-1 each).
St Kieran’s: A Mullen (Ballyhale Shamrocks); M Cody (Dunnamaggin), T Walsh (Tullaroan), J Keoghan (Tullaroan); J Barron (Thomastown), J Cleere (Bennettsbridge), E Walsh (Lisdowney); J Byrne (Clara), R Leahy (Rower-Inistioge); S Morrissey (Bennettsbridge), L Blanchfield (Bennettsbridge), J Connolly (Clara); R Lahart (James Stephens), B Ryan (Graigue-Ballycallan), T O’Dwyer (James Stephens).
Subs: E Egan (Graigue-Ballycallan) for Barron (47 mins), N Walsh (Windgap) for Connolly (48), E Kearney (Dunnamaggin) for Walsh (57), M Keoghan for Walsh (62).
Thurles CBS: W Tierney (Thurles Sarsfield); J Derby (Thurles Sarsfields), E Heffernan (Clonoulty Rossmore), D Quirke (Clonoulty Rossmore); T Hayes (Moycarkey Borris), J Skehan (Holycross Ballycahill), C McCullagh (Moycarkey Borris); R Heffernan (Clonoulty Rossmore), C Moloney (Thurles Sarsfields); B McCarthy (Thurles Sarsfields), K Duggan (Galmoy), N Heffernan (Moycarkey Borris); M Connors (Drom & Inch), R Long (Drom &Inch), R Teehan (Gortnahoe Glengoole).
Subs: P Kennedy (Drom & Inch) for Moloney (39), B Kelly (Rathdowney Errill) for Duggan (59), J Butler (Upperchurch Drombane) for R Heffernan (64).
Referee: J Keenan (Wicklow)
— The GAA (@officialgaa) April 2, 2015
All roads leads to Thurles this Saturday for the finale of the Masita All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Hurling Championships with what will surely be two tightly contested affairs in store.
First up is the Paddy Buggy Cup Final featuring last year’s beaten finalists, Cross and Passion College, Ballycastle and Leinster Champions Mountrath Community School followed by a mouth-watering Croke Cup final between two traditional powerhouses of hurling.
Thurles CBS have only managed to claim this prestigious title on one previous occasion while St Kieran’s, the masters, are looking for their 20th crown in this competition. To date this season the Kilkenny giants have beaten Kilkenny CBS, Good Counsel, St Peters and in the semi-final they had a thrilling win against Presentation Athenry. They deserve to be here today.
“We have nine lads starting from last year’s team,” says Kieran’s manager Liam Smith. “Our captain is Sean Morrissey from Bennetsbridge who won a junior club All Ireland medal recently and we have 10 from the Kilkenny minor winning panel of last year, although two of the lads are out with cruciate injuries.”
Meanwhile, Thurles CBS manager Niall Cahill from the Nenagh Éire Óg club is a highly rated young coach. His selectors, John Devane (Clonoulty-Rossmore) and Martin Maher (Borris-Ileigh), are former intercounty senior players with bags of experience.
After the Dr Harty Cup group stages, Thurles CBS had one-point wins over North Mon (2-8 to 1-10) and Castletroy Community College (1-9 to 0-11) before taking Rochestown College by a goal in the semi-final. Like their opponents, they clearly deserve their final place too.
With a united panel of over 40 players there is a feeling that they can cause a shock today. It would be a massive coup. St Kieran’s don’t have many weaknesses and in what should be a tight game they might just prevail.
Croke Cup final €15 entry to Semple Stadium. OAP's/students/secondary school students €5. Under 12 free.
— CBS Thurles (@cbsthurles) March 26, 2015
Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Croke Cup (SH ‘A’) Final
Semple Stadium, Thurles 17:00
Thurles CBS Secondary V St. Kieran’s College Kilkenny
Referee: John Keenan (Cill Mhantáin)
The Croke Cup Final will be shown live on TG4