KILKENNY CBS have known the hard times, but these days they are feasting at the table of plenty.
The James Street outfit were celebrating at the double at Nowlan Park on Sunday, having beaten St Kieran’s 2-9 to 1-7. A mere eight days after they captured the Leinster senior hurling league title, they added the championship crown to complete the big 1-2 in the province.
Four times (2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012) the CBS felt the pain of defeat in Leinster finals since they last captured the championship. St Kieran’s College inflicted the hurt on two occasions, but the most famous hurling nursery of all had to settle for second best this time as the CBS chalked up their seventh success.
“This was a great win for the school,” insisted CBS official and Kilkenny star, Matt Ruth. “The pain of losing the Leinster and All-Ireland finals last year helped inspire the players, and hopefully they can drive on further now.”
In All-Ireland semis
Victory earned the CBS a place in the All-Ireland semi-finals as they continue their bid to make up for the defeat suffered against Nenagh CBS in the national decider last season. St Kieran’s must now negotiate the quarter-finals.
“The challenge for us now is to regroup for the All-Ireland series,” said Kieran’s official, Liam Smith. “We believe there is more in the team, and the hurt of this defeat could inspire the players.”
The CBS were the better team, although they didn’t always press home their advantage to t he full. They had a two goal lead heading towards half-time, but then they conceded a big score to allow Kieran’s right back into the match.
Again after the change of ends they put three scores together to undo the damage done by the concession of the goal. But again Kieran’s got back for a brace of points, which left the contest pretty open again, 2-7 to 1-6.
From there to the end the CBS were much surer at the back, with the likes of Paddy Deegan, a big hearted centre-back, Cathal McGrath and Dylan Scott the brightest of the stars. However, they endured one more score. This came in the 56th minute when Kieran’s Vincent Teehan popped a ball up in the air in front of the country end goal, but from just outside the square Michael Kenny’s batted effort went wide.
The concession of a goal then would have reduced the difference to two points, a precarious advantage at any time. That scare was a late reminder to the CBS that not everything is exactly right just yet, but they are inching forward nicely as a gradual improvement in their three championship games would suggest.
The best of the hurling
The best of the hurling was witnessed by the decent sized crowd during the opening quarter. After that, for no apparent reason, there wasn’t the same sparkle to things, although the likes of Robbie Fitzpatrick, Kevin Kenny and Shane Cuddihy, who put in a very strong shift after the turn, produced big for the CBS and Stephen Farrell – what a match he played - Chris Bolger, Vincent Teehan and James Maker did likewise for the losers.
Kieran’s opened the scoring when Bolger won one of their puck-outs before sending Farrell away to shoot a point in their first raid of note. The CBS hit back in spectacular style. Kevin Kenny won a ball on the ‘40’ and he rode two body testing tackles before rifling the ball into the net.
By the fifth minute Kieran’s were back on terms via minors from Bolger and Farrell, who did great work to find an opening on the left wing (1-0 to 0-3).
There was an exchange of points after that before CBS goalie, Daragh Holohan, did very well to keep out a whistling drive from Eoin Gough. The CBS took the lead they were never to lose in the 15th minute when Paddy Cahill converted a free.
Two like scores were tacked on by Kevin Kenny and J.P. Treacy, a huge free from nearly 80 metres, as the CBS got on top. They underlined their superiority when they grabbed a goal in the 28th minute.
Ball going wide
The move actually started when CBS ’keeper, Daragh Holohan, brought off a save from Vincent Teehan. The guardian lashed the ball quickly up field to Kevin Kenny, who in turn launched a raid at the other end. The ball appeared to be going wide on the right, but sub Gary Kelly – he was only on the field minutes – worked a bit of magic to keep it in play on the right before barging through for a vintage score.
The CBS were 2-4 to 0-4 in front and motoring.
They were rocked almost on half-time when Kieran’s pulled back a goal through James Deacy, after a spectacular high catch by Vincent Teehan, who placed the scorer with a snappy, beautifully weighted hand-pass.
Half-time score: Kilkenny CBS 2-4, St Kieran’s College 1-4.
If that score hurt the CBS they didn’t show it after the rest. They simply powered on. Paddy Cahill punished a foul on Gary Kelly by pointing a free. In the 34th minute Luke Scanlon got to the end of an aimed low ball from Evan Cody before send the white flying. When Paul Delahanty pointed, the gap opened to 2-7 to 1-4.
Kieran’s lost wing-back, Shane Parson to injury at this time, and then they drove a convertable free wide. Still they fought their way back. Stephen Farrell grabbed a good point. Bolger added a second from a free. They were back in the game, 2-7 to 1-6.
That was as good as it was to get for Kieran’s, apart from the late scare they gave the opposition. The CBS tightened up in defence, and with Fitzpatrick having a greater influence around midfield and Cuddihy the same further forward, the James Street lads saw out the rest of the match with relative ease.
Scorers: Kilkenny CBS – Kevin Kenny (1-1); Paddy Cahill (0-3, frees); Gary Kelly (1-0); J.P. Treacy (0-2, frees); Paul Delahanty, Luke Scanlon, Shane Cuddihy (0-1 each). St Kieran’s College – Chris Bolger (0-4, three frees); Stephen Farrell (0-3); James Deacy (1-0).
Kilkenny CBS – Daragh Holohan (Dicksboro); Cathal McGrath (John Lockes), Evan Cody (Dicksboro), Dylan Scott (Dicksboro); Corey Cahill (Dicksboro), Robbie Fitzpatrick (Dicksboro), Paddy Deegan (O’Loughlin Gaels); J.P. Treacy (Young Irelands), Niall Mullins (James Stephens); Danny Bolger (O’Loughlin Gaels), Kevin Kenny (Dicksboro), Paul Delahanty (Young Irelands); Luke Scanlon (James Stephens), Shane Cuddihy (Tullaroan), Paddy Cahill (Dicksboro). Subs – Gary Kelly (O’Loughlin Gaels) for D. Bolger; Matty McWey (James Stephens) for Delahanty.
St Kieran’s College – Graham English (Barrow Rangers); Sean Morrissey (Bennettsbridge), James Tyrrell (James Stephens), Ciaran Breen (Barrow Rangers), Shane Parsons (O’Loughlin Gaels), James Maher (St Lachtain’s), Eoin Walsh (Lisdowney); Chris Bolger (Clara), Liam Blanchfield (Bennettsbridge); Vincent Teehan (Graigue-Ballycallan), Eoin Gough (Dicksboro), Stephen Farrell (Dicksboro); Simon Rafter (St Lachtain’s), Paddy Mullen (Ballyhale Shamrocks), James Deacy (Ballyhale Shamrocks). Subs – Paul White (St Lachtain’s) for Morrissey; Michael Kenny (Lisdowney) for Parsons (inj); Paddy Hickey (Danesfort) for Mullen; Jack Cotter (James Stephens) for Blanchfield (inj).
Referee – Peter Burke (Emeralds).