It was a game of high quality and absolute commitment all round, and in the end the title changed hands when St Kieran’s College got the better of city rivals, Kilkenny CBS in the Leinster post primary schools senior hurling Roinn A league final (1-17 to 1-15) in Nowlan Park today.
The wind assisted CBS enjoyed a good start when Luke Scanlon danced around two defenders before shooting a good goal in the third minute in reply to the opening point from Kieran’s Sean Morrissey. The CBS stayed in front for most of the half although Kieran’s deadly free taker, Conor Murphy kept them on a tight rein.
The level of individual skill and the way both teams worked the ball with intelligence around the field made it a contest of real quality, with little dividing two teams who will make a bold bid for Leinster honours in the New Year.
Kieran’s goal arrived in the 26th minute and it was a class effort in terms of creation and execution. Billy Ryan finished to the net after receiving a pass from Conor Murphy, the scorer showing bravery in a one-on-one tussle with the goalie. Ryan needed some treatment after scoring as both men committed 100% to winning the ball.
The score came at the end of a sweeping move that started on the Kieran’s half-back line. With the addition of another point
from reliable free taker, Conor Murphy, St Kieran’s went in at the break leading by 1-9 to 1-7.
The CBS were under a bit of pressure to hang on after the turn. By the 48th minute, when the fast moving Liam Blanchfield pointed, Kieran’s extended their advantage to 1-14 to 1-10 and for a while it looked like they might roar on to a handy win.
Three pointed frees on the trot from Andrew Gaffney sliced the gap to the minimum with five minutes remaining. St Kieran’s hit back for two nice points from Sean Morrissey and sub Conor O’Carroll in replay which fortified them for a strong finish, and they held out for a good win.
The sheer quality of the contest would suggest that both could make a serious bid for honours when the Leinster championship which begins in the New Year.
Scorers – St Kieran’s College: Conor Murphy (0-11, nine frees), Sean Morrissey (0-4), Billy Ryan (1-0), Kevin Blanchfield, Conor O’Carroll (0-1 each). Kilkenny CBS: Andrew Gaffney (0-9, six frees, one 65), Luke Scanlon (1-0), Paul Delahanty
)0-2), Niall Mullins, Robbie Murphy, Robbie Buckley, Matthew NcWey (0-1 each).