St Kieran’s College 0-17 CBC 0-15
“CHRISTIANS til I die...” was the chant from the CBC fans as the young men in red trudged back to the WIT complex on Wednesday afternoon.
They pushed St Kieran’s College to the bitter end in this All-Ireland semi-final but eight Eoin Cody points helped the Kilkenny school back to the big show and a rematch with Athenry.
The 22-time champions never fell behind from the eighth minute onwards but CBC twice closed within a point during the second half while playing against the wind.
The Harty Cup runners-up had a goal disallowed before the break and created three chances for green flags on the restart. A Patrick McBarron shot whistled just wide, Jack O’Kelly blasted over and an injury-time free from goalkeeper Cian Long was deflected over for a point.
They also finished up with 10 wides.
Manager Donal O’Mahony felt that the disallowed goal approaching half time was a game-changer. Cillian O’Donovan’s long-distance free found its way to the net but referee Donnacha O’Callaghan ruled that Jack O’Kelly was in the square after consulting with his umpires.
"I’m not going to criticise the referee but it was a turning point in the game, we had a bit of momentum.”
Those spurned second-half goal chances proved costly.
“We created a couple. The same happened in the Harty final, we created the opportunities but didn’t take them. As a consequence, when you’re playing the likes of Midleton CBS and St Kieran’s you’re not going to win the game if you miss those opportunities.”
He couldn’t ask for any more from a group that contested a first Harty Cup final in 101 years.
“We showed that we were very competitive, playing one of the best schools in the country. We're very proud of what the lads have done this year and how they’ve carried themselves.
"To put up such a performance against a school of their fame, they’ve been playing hurling for the last 100 years while we’re only back in the competition for the last four years, so to be as competitive as we were, we’re very proud of them but very disappointed that we lost the game.”
CBC played with the wind of the first half but trailed 0-9 to 0-8.
Shane Barrett converted five frees, while Declan Hanlon, Kevin Finn and Niall Hartnett caused problems.
At half time, around a hundred St Kieran’s students came down from the stand and joined the puck around with the subs.
“You go into Kieran’s any day of the week and there’s nothing only lads with hurls," explained St Kieran’s selector Philip Walsh.
"They come in with the hurls in the morning, pucking around at lunchtime, the hurl goes everywhere with them. When they come into my class, I tell them to put the hurls in the corner of the classroom and they collect them on the way out. You could have 30 hurls there.”
After the change of ends, the Kilkenny superpower ploughed on with four points in nine second-half minutes, which proved telling, though a penalty claim from Jack Cahalane was waved away and Barrett was beginning to exert a big influence around the middle.
Eventually, CBC got it down to one but just couldn't make the most of those opportunities overall.
Scorers for St Kieran’s: Eoin Cody 0-8 (0-5 f), Aaron Brennan 0-3, David Blanchfield, Martin O’Connell 0-2 each, Cian Kenny, Conor Hoban 0-1 each.
CBC: Shane Barrett 0-7 f, Kevin Finn, Padraig Power 0-2 each, Cillian O’Donovan, Declan Hanlon, Cian Long (f), Jack O’Kelly 0-1 each.
St KIERAN'S: D Mason; D O’Keeffe, P O’Neill, J Young; D Corcoran, C Murphy, K Egan; M O’Connell, D Blanchfield; A Brennan, E Cody, E Moylan; C Kelly, C Hoban, C Kenny.
CBC: C Long (Glen); C Daly (Lismore), P Hennessy (Mallow), D Barry (Sars); I Daly (Lismore), C O’Donovan (Douglas) J Scally (Bishopstown); D Hanlon (Blarney), K Finn (Midleton); O McCarthy (Inniscarra), N Hartnett (Douglas), S Barrett (Blarney); R Cotter (Blackrock), J O’Kelly (St Finbarr's), P McBarron (Carrigaline).
Subs: J Cahalane (St Finbarr's) for Cotter (h-t), P Power (Blarney) for McBarron (38).
Referee: D O'Callaghan (Limerick)