Our Lady’s of Templemore are the 2017 Dr Harty Cup champions thanks to what can only be described as a demolition job on St Coleman’s of Fermoy in the Gaelic Grounds Limerick on Saturday afternoon.
In front of a huge crowd (4924), the Tipperary side took this game by the scruff of the neck and just wouldn’t let go as they hunted, hassled and scored over and over again against what fast became an over run Cork side.
Colman’s just couldn’t get to the pace in the opening half and despite slotting over four points, failed in any meaningful way to dent what fast became the red hot favourites for this prestigious crown.
After a famous day in Mallow a few weeks previous the boys in green and white came into this one as underdogs however even they could hardly have expected to see their opponents get off to the flying start they did as Our Lady’s hit the ground running.
Colman’s lived on their nerves early on with Lyndon Fairbrother spurning what was a terrific chance to goal in the opening three minutes.
Our Lady’s responded well to the early miss with a brace of early scores from centre forward Brian McGrath (free) and Stevie Nolan before wing forward Jerry Kelly hit his sides third on the run.
The Cork side really were struggling with McGrath adding to the early game discomfort before Andrew Ormonde hit number five inside 10 minutes.
Colman’s eventually found the mark with a long range effort from wing back Eoin Roche followed quickly by Diarmuid Linehan from the placed ball.
Colman’s continued to struggle and could have been further behind if it wasn’t for a brilliant hook from corner back Eoin Wallace in the advancing Fairbrother.
The inevitable came moments later however when Ormonde broke through to finish in style – opening up a 1-6 to 0-2 lead.
Another wonderful point Kelly continued the Templemore dominance before Fermoy’s captain Niall O’Leary surged forward splitting the posts for Colman’s third score.
Another monster, this time from Aidan O’ Meara put nine between the sides before Ray McCormack found himself one on one with the Fermoy keeper – unfortunately for the man in maroon he fluffed his lines and made it easy for the shot stopper.
Colman’s would have been hoping to get to the break without any more damage on the board but that wasn’t to be the case as first Fairbrother, then Stevie Nolan and finally McGrath (65) meant that this one was as good as done by the half way point. 1-12 to 0-04 at the break.
There was little doubt that Colman’s needed a positive start to the second half if they were to get anything from this game and when David Lardner scored from long range there was just the faintest of hopes however a quick response from Kelly brought that sinking feeling back once more.
Try as they may Fermoy just couldn’t get through a dogged Templemore backline as the victors kept tight on all their opposite numbers and continued to pick the Cork boys off on the break. O’Leary eventually raised a green flag for Fermoy but McGrath hit back in less than 60 seconds with his side’s second three pointer.
More points followed for the victors as Coleman’s continued to run at Our Lady’s looking to put some more respectability on the board but there was no more cheer to have as Colman’s eventually accepted their fate.
Colman’s will head back to the drawing board before the All Ireland quarter final in two weeks’ time where they will face up to Galway’s Loughrey. Colman’s will look to learn from what was a brilliant yet ultimate disappointing provincial adventure.
Our Lady’s Templemore: B McGrath 1-7 (0-3f, 1.65); J Kelly 0-5; A Ormonde 1-1; L Fairbrother (0-3f), S Nolan 0-4 each; A O’Meara 0-1.
Scorers for St Colman’s Fermoy: N O’Leary 1-1; D Linehan 0-3 (0-2f), E Roche, D Lardner 0-1 each.
OUR LADY’S: E Collins; E Ryan, P Campion, S Ryan; N Quinlan, P Cadell, A O’Meara; D Ryan, S Nolan; D O’Shea, B McGrath, J Kelly; A Ormonde, R McCormack, L Fairbrother.
Subs: S Doyle for R McCormack (51), J Ryan for D Ryan (52), G O’Connor for D O’Shea (58), d Byrne for S Ryan (59).
ST COLMAN’S: E Davis; E Wallace, J O’Leary, K Neville; S McCarthy, N O’Leary, E Roche; S O’Connor, D Linehan; J Sheehan, B Murphy, D Lardner; C Ryan, B Roche, A Creed.
Subs: R O’Sullivan for K Neville (24), G Lardner for C Ryan and R Galvin for A Creed (both ht), J Mehigan for J Sheehan (46), F Hickey for B Murphy (61).
Referee: R McGann (Clare).