St Kieran’s College showed the calibre of champions as they marched to another All-Ireland senior hurling title.
They may have been a little off the pace in the first half but the Saints were dominant in the second, rattling off 11 points in the final 20 minutes as they dismantled the hopes of city rivals Kilkenny CBS to record a 2-16 to 0-13 victory and secure their 19th Croke Cup at Nowlan Park on Saturday.
Having beaten Kieran’s in the Leinster decider a month earlier, the CBS were keen to make it a double. They got off to a good start, Andrew Gaffney (3) grabbing the lion’s share of their five-point haul inside the opening 11 minutes, but Kieran’s halted that run in menacing fashion – Brian Cody crashed an unstoppable shot to the net on 12 minutes, before Conor Murphy’s first pointed free of the game left the bare minimum between the sides (0-5 to 1-1).
Murphy had a big say for the remainder of the half. He tacked on three more points from placed balls, cancelling out two impressive scores from the hard-working Luke Scanlon, as Kieran’s forced their way on to level terms by the interval (0-7 to 1-4).
Led by Scanlon the CBS were swiftly back in front on the restart, but their gallop was halted when Kieran’s sent the green flag flying again. Corner-forward Tadhg O’Dwyer broke the CBS hearts when he ghosted in in front of netminder Darragh Holohan to flick Liam Blanchfield’s crossfield ball in at the near post.
Once that 32nd minute goal hit the net, Kieran’s never looked back. Driving on, the introduction of subs Sean Morrissey and Robbie Donnelly gave them an extra gear. The duo notched up seven points in little under 25 minutes, a scoring run which helped secure the black and white ribbons on the Croke Cup.
SCORERS: St Kieran’s College - Tadhg O’Dwyer (1-3); Brian Cody (1-1); Conor Murphy, Robbie Donnelly (0-4 frees each); Sean Morrissey (0-3); Jason Cleere (0-1). Kilkenny CBS - Luke Scanlon (0-5); Andrew Gaffney (0-5, 0-4 frees, 0-1 65); James Lenihan (0-2); Paddy Deegan (0-1).
Referee - Alan Kelly (Galway).