All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Junior Hurling Final
St Kieran’s College 1-19 : Presentation College, Athenry 1-18
On Saturday 30th November, the St Kieran’s College Junior Hurling Team won the Junior A All-Ireland Hurling Title after an epic battle with Presentation College, Athenry. The venue was Banagher, Co Offaly and in spite of the cold, a large crowd of supporters gathered from both schools to witness what was truly an outstanding contest of hurling.
The Presentation opened against the wind and within two minutes star attacker, Gavin Lee drilled a rocked like shot to the net. St Kieran’s were under serious pressure for a while, but eventually they got on top around their own ‘40’, and with Killian Carey and Naoise Dempsey going well up front they made serious gains. A 22nd minute goal from Carey, after fielding a sublime cross from the right by Pádraig Lennon, shot the winners 1-6 to 1-3 in front. At the break St Kieran’s led by 1-10 to 1-6.
The gap went up to five points during the third quarter, but the Presentation kept chasing. When Padraig Lennon pointed for Kieran’s in the 48th minute they were 1-14 to 1-8 ahead, but they didn’t registered again in regular time. Athentry really picked up the pace when Shaun Gilligan, Lee and Matthew Tarpey put three scores together in quick succession heading into the closing seven minutes. They caught up at 1-14 each just before the end of normal time, which was the score at the end of the hour.
In the end an 80th minute point from a free by Harry Shine, following a foul on one of the star performers, Dara Mason, upended gritty defending champions, Presentation College, Athenry. Nearly three minutes of time added on were played at the end of extra-time and wind assisted Presentation piled on the pressure in a bid to save the day. However, heroics by the St Kieran’s defence and men like central defenders, Joe Fitzpatrick and Adam O’Connor, made sure Noreside captain, Paddy Langton was the one who got his hands on the cup.
During the first half of extra time Athenry enjoyed slightly the better of things, but St Kieran’s cut their losses with a late point from Shine (1-17 to 1-16). St Kieran’s bridged the gap subsequently with a minor from Nick Doheny. There was an exchange of scores subsequently before Harry Shine won the match and the Niall McInerney trophy with a late free.
This was a titanic battle which will be spoken about for a long time to come. Hearty congratulations to the mentors, Mr Richie Ruth and Mr Brian Dowling who worked tirelessly to prepare the players for the game and enabled them to show such character and resilience when the going got tough. Well done to all the panel of players involved in this win and of course to their parents and to the many clubs involved from around the diocese whose support is so important to St Kieran’s College.