ROBBIE Buckley was the hero of the hour as the junior hurlers from Kilkenny CBS got one over their old rivals St Kieran’s College.
The corner-forward converted an injury-time free that saw the James’s Street side grab the Cosgrave Cup and with the title of Leinster junior champions.
That score was the final push for the team, who had battled their way back into the game before half-time, but they shouldn’t have needed such a late winner. The CBS spurned a number of chances in the second half, passing up on scores which could have made their afternoon a lot more comfortable.
After a tentative start, both sides began to slug it out in search of scores. Paddy Deegan ended a battle for possession with a lead point for the CBS on ten minutes, but by the end of the quarter they were behind as Dylan O’Shea, the Saints’ liveliest forward in the half, stylishly split the posts with a shot from over his shoulder.
In a see-saw half both teams enjoyed spells of good pressure. The CBS were back in charge when Robbie Buckley and Paddy Cahill landed points inside 60 seconds, both scores coming from some good attacks down the wings.
After that, it was Kieran’s turn to take control of the game. James Maher shot the fourth equaliser of the game – but only after a great surge forward from James Tyrrell. Dylan O’Shea added another point to his tally as he edged the College ahead, but the CBS weren’t about to let them stay there.
They gave Kieran’s a real scare when Paddy Deegan cut in from the wing and delivered a teasing cross. Breaking from midfield Niall Mullins stole in and connected with the sliotar, but flicked it just wide of the target.
That miss mattered little to the CBS, as they did enough to take the lead before the break. Cahill landed a point – again centre-back J.P. Treacy was the provider – then grabbed another in injury-time, digging the ball out from a cluster of players before shooting his side into the lead (0-6 to 0-5).
The CBS were quickest out of the blocks in the second half, stretching their lead thanks to half-forwards Cathal McGrath and Luke Scanlon.
With the weather deteriorating they looked good for that lead - both sides struggled against driving wind and rain - but they failed to convert some close range frees into scores that would have given them a better cushion.
Josh Haynes halved the deficit for Kieran’s, driving a 39th minute point as the weather got worse. Another missed free from the CBS steeled Kieran’s on, as did James Maher’s excellent point from the tightest of angles as the game moved into the last quarter.
Matthew McWey did his bit to relieve some of the tension with a pressure-lifting point, but Kieran’s still had time on their side. They made it count too, getting close with a point from sub Conor Murphy before hauling the CBS back right on the line as James Maher converted a free to level the game in the final seconds of normal time.
The CBS had the final say, however. Winning a Daragh Houlihan puck-out, Paul Delahunty worked the sliotar on to McWey, who was fouled before he could strike. Robbie Buckley stood over the free, then coolly split the posts to hand his side the spoils. SCORERS: Kilkenny CBS – Paddy Cahill (0-4, 0-1 free); Robbie Buckley (0-2, 0-1 free); Matthew McWey, Cathal McGrath, Luke Scanlon, Paddy Deegan (0-1 each). St Kieran’s College – James Maher (0-4, 0-2 frees); Dylan O’Shea (0-3); Josh Haynes, Conor Murphy (0-1 each).
Kilkenny CBS – D. Houlihan, K. Galvin, E. Cody, D. Scott, G. Brien, J.P. Treacy, D. Bolger, C. Cahill, N. Mullins, M. McWey, C. McGrath, L. Scanlon, R. Buckley, P. Deegan, P. Cahill. Subs: P. Delahunty for Deegan, 44 mins; S. Moran for Cahill, 53 mins.
St Kieran’s College – A. O’Beirne, B, Hickey, E. Walsh, S. Morrissey, K. Blanchfield, J. Tyrrell, D. Mullen, J. Maher, J. Haynes, J. Byrne, R. Drennan, D. Drennan, D. O’Shea, L. Blanchfield, T. O’Dwyer. Subs: C. Murphy for K. Blanchfield, 38 mins; G. Aylward for Byrne, 58 mins.
Referee – E. Mansfield (Kilkenny).