IN THE the quarter-final of the Allianz Cumann na mBunscoil, Educational Supplies Roinn A hurling league between Gaelscoil Osraí and Kilkenny CBS the former scored a fine 2-5 to 1-4 win after a thrilling encounter.
The teams were meeting for the second time in the quarter-final in two years with Gaelscoil Osraí coming out on top in 2011. Kilkenny CBS were out for revenge.
The game was played in glorious sunshine in St John’s Park and proved to be a tight affair as it always is between these two schools! Gaelscoil Osraí won the toss and elected to play with the fresh breeze in the opening half.
The pace of the game was fast and furious from the outset, with the CBS taking the lead from an excellently taken Ben Maher free. Minutes later centre-forward, Lúcás Ó Múrchú levelled for Gaelscoil Osraí.
Both sides were tackling with fierce intensity, showing great heart and outstanding attitude as the play flowed from end to end! Sam Ó hÍcí at centre-back, with Míchéal Ó Broin (captain) at wing-back for Gaelscoil Osraí and John Delaney for the CBS were towers of strength and cleared ball after ball in great style.
The winners almost made a big breakthrough on 13 minutes after Seán Ó Muineog played a fantastic cross-field ball to the back post of the CBS goal. Lúcás Ó hÓgáin pounced but was unlucky to see his effort end up in the side netting.
Seán Ó Muineog added a free for Gaelscoil Osraí, followed by a lovely point from play by Diolún Ó Dubhghaill before Ben Maher split the posts for the CBS. Scores were hard to come by in the first half with the bare minimum between the teams at the break.
The half-time score was 0-3 to 0-2 in favour of the Gaelscoil Osraí.
The second half exploded into life after three minutes when Ben Maher had a free 30 yards out from the Gaelscoil Osraí goal. He whizzed in a deadly head-high ball and jumped for joy as he saw his effort take a slight deflection before shooting past Gaelscoil goalie, Seán Comartúin de Liostúin and hit the back of the net!
The CBS tails were up. They tacked on another point from Leon Hayes to lead by 1-3 to 0-3. Nicky Burke in the CBS goal pulled off a string of great saves before he was eventually beaten. Gaelscoil Osraí thought they were back in the game only for referee John Direen to give a free out because the goalie had been fouled and bundled into the net.
The game was beginning to swing in favour of the CBS with Fergus Byrne and Ben Maher pulling the strings. The game was well in the balance entering the final third.
Credit where credit is due, Gaelscoil Osraí dug deep. They showed their fighting spirit and began a determined fight-back. Seán Ó Muineog reduced the deficit with a pointed free before he had his own moment of inspiration from another free, when he saw his effort flash past CBS goalie Nicky Burke and bulge the back of the net.
Gaelscoil Osraí had their noses in front. Seán Ó Muineog added another pointed free to leave the scores at 1-5 to 1-3.
The battle ebbed and flowed from goal to goal with both sides giving their all in the cause of their schools. The CBS corner-forwards, Leon Hayes and Colm O’Hara pushed out into the half-forward line, leaving Gaelscoil Osraí’s full-back, Adam Ó Muireasa isolated against CBS star Ben Maher.
Adam, however, was in no mood to be beaten and with inspired assistance from star centre-back, Sam Ó hÍcí, managed to snuff out any danger. Tadhg de Buitléir was introduced as a substitute for Gaelscoil Osraí and he made an mmediate impact at full-forward, creating space for the clinching goal.
Following a lovely delivery into the full-forward line by Seán Ó Muineog the ball was brilliantly caught by Lúcás Ó Múrchú. Tadhg dragged the CBS full-back out of position, leaving space for the in-rushing Seathrún Mac Giolla Chaoin to take a hand-pass from Lúcás Ó Múrchú, control the ball once on the hurley before rifling the sliotar into the net.
The CBS never gave up. They continued to work incredibly hard, but the Gaelscoil Osraí defence, led by Sam Ó hÍcí and captain Míchéal Ó Broin stood firm and saw the school through to the final whistle and into the semi-finals.