St Kieran’s College 5-7
Dublin North 1-5
FOUR Thomas O’Hanrahan goals gave St Kieran’s College a big winning margin and a place in the Leinster Colleges senior A hurling semi-finals, but victory was tighter than the scoreboard showed.
Played at a wet and windy Ratheniska, the reigning All-Ireland champions had to dig deep at times to grind out their win against a big and physical Dublin North side.
Having taken just a two-point lead in after a tight first half (2-3 to 1-4), two goals inside eight second half minutes proved enough to break the Dublin spirit.
The opening score of the half was a hammer blow for the Dubs. Jack McCarthy was quickest to react, sweeping home a loose ball after Aidan Cleere’s 39th minute 65 came back off a post.
Michael Donnelly tacked on a point before the hero of last year’s All-Ireland final, Thomas O’Hanrahan, grabbed his third goal of the afternoon. Once again Cleere was the provider, dropping in a free which broke in front of O’Hanrahan, who pulled first time to beat ’keeper Darren Green. The third big strike of the day, Kieran’s were now nine points clear (4-4 to 1-4) and looked well on their way to the semi-finals.
Playing in biting cold and constant rain, both sides struggled to get into a rhythm in the early stages. Kieran’s adapted to the conditions a little quicker, using short sharp passes to grab the early scores.
They were helped on their way by Diarmuid Cody and Chris Bolger, the latter taking a coat of paint off the crossbar with a searing shot that just scorched over, before O’Hanrahan put his name on the scoresheet. While Aidan Cleere’s booming clearance created the opening O’Hanrahan added the finishing touch, drilling a low shot across Darren Green and into the far side of the Dublin net.
Kieran’s looked good for that lead, but once Dublin found their form they quickly ate into the deficit. Cian Boland opened their account with a 12th minute point before Paul Winters followed up with a brace, the first of which was a free – just one of three scores from placed balls all afternoon.
The gap was down to two (1-3 to 0-4) when Ciaran Kilkenny made a super catch and turned a Darren Green puck-out into a point, but Michael Donnelly ended a barren spell for Kieran’s with their first score in 19 minutes.
Sixty seconds later they were back on track. O’Hanrahan was in the right place at the right time, holding off defender Eoin Howard to flick a Cleere free to the back of the Dublin net.
The celebrations were short-lived, however. Right on the stroke of half-time Dublin cut the gap back to two points when Kilkenny made another great catch, picking off Cian Boland’s line ball before picking his spot in the top right corner of the Kieran’s net.
The winners were back in the driving seat thanks to that two-goal haul in the third quarter. Dublin’s sole second half score was a Paul Winters free as their challenge faded in the deteriorating conditions.
As for Kieran’s, the stamp was put on a workmanlike afternoon with a late rally of scores, the pick of which saw O’Hanrahan nab his fourth goal when he steered a low shot inside Green’s left hand post with four minutes left on the clock.
SCORERS: St Kieran’s College – Thomas O’Hanrahan (4-0); Jack McCarthy (1-0); Michael Donnelly (0-2); Chris Bolger, Diarmuid Cody, Cormac Wafer, Eoin Gough (0-1 each); Aidan Cleere (0-1, 65). Dublin North – Ciaran Kilkenny (1-1); Paul Winters (0-3, 0-2 frees); Cian Boland (0-1).
St Kieran’s College – N. Keogh, R. O’Hanrahan, R. Lennon, W. Allen, E. Gough, E. Byrne, A. Cleere, C. Wafer, P. Keneally, C. Bolger, M. Donnelly, D. Cody, J. McGrath, T. O’Hanrahan, C. Prendergast. Subs: E. Morrissey for Bolger, D. Burke for Prendergast, V. Teehan for Cody, S. Farrell for McGrath.
Dublin North – D. Green, E. Howard, M. O’Dea, K. O’Flynn, M. Kavanagh, S. McClelland, G. Burke, A. Jesson, C. McHugh, C. Boland, C. Kilkenny, P. Winters, C. Costello, K. Rogers, A. Rooney. Subs: G. Williams for Rooney, C. McDonald for Rogers.