CITY bragging rights and a Leinster title will be at stake when St Kieran’s College take on Kilkenny CBS for the province’s senior hurling spoils.
The two sides, geographically separated by little more than a long puck-out, will lock horns once more as they compete for the Leinster Colleges senior hurling A crown this Saturday at Nowlan Park (throw-in 2pm).
History is with Kieran’s in this one, but recent form also shows that they have the edge when it comes to capturing the title. The College Road outfit are hunting for their third provincial championship in succession - the last two have led them to back-to-back All-Ireland wins over Limerick’s Ard Scoil Ris.
Kieran’s, who won the Leinster league final before Christmas, began the defence of their championship title by beating Dublin North in the provincial quartefinals. Thomas O’Hanrahan grabbed four goals in their 5-7 to 1-5 win in Ratheniska, but the Kilkenny side had to dig deep as they ground out their win in tough conditions.
They faced another Dublin side, Colaiste Eoin, in the semi-final at Dr Cullen Park. Again, victory was hard-earned as they came up against a team who employed a seventh defender for long spells. Kieran’s best period was during the closing minutes when Thomas O’Hanrahan, Jamie Maher and Michael Donnelly (2) grabbed the points that pushed the Saints into their third successive final.
While Kieran’s beat two Dublin teams, Kilkenny CBS saw off two Wexford sides in their march to the final. A flying start, which saw them race into a 1-4 to 0-0 lead, provided the base for a solid win against Good Counsel in their quarter-final. Philly Campion grabbed the goal while Ciaran Doyle’s free-taking proved decisive in the 1-10 to 0-7 win in Thomastown.
It was a tougher affair in New Ross, where they took on St Peter’s in the semi-final, but an early goal from Campion gave them the edge on their Wexford opponents, the goal separating the sides in a 1-6 to 0-6 game which was played in heavy conditions.
The clear leaders in the province’s roll of honour, St Kieran’s have amassed 50 Leinster senior hurling titles, streets ahead of second-placed St Peter’s of Wexford (eight). Kilkenny CBS have six, while fellow Kilkenny schools Colaiste Eamon Ris (Callan) and Castlecomer CS have one apiece.
The first time Kieran’s met CBS in the Leinster final was in 1937. St Kieran’s beat the CBS, who were the defending champions, by 4-8 to 2-1 to earn the first of five titles in a row (1937 - 1941).
The CBS were not in final again until 1962, when they lost to St Peter’s after a replay). They were beaten by Kieran’s in 1969 (3-7 to 4-3) but gained revenge 12 months later when they took the 1970 title on a 3-6 to 3-4 scoreline.
Since then CBS appeared in 13 finals, losing four to their cross-town rivals. Two of those (1990, 1991) came during St Kieran’s run that saw them win the Corn Ui Dhuill eight times in a row between 1987 and 1994. Their sole success against Kieran’s came in the 3-13 to 1-13 win of 1983.
The last time the sides met in the Leinster final was in 2010. Kieran’s won the game, beating the CBS by 2-14 to 1-10. The CBS had led the game by 1-9 to 1-6 in the third quarter, before a James Gannon point and Padraig Walsh goal gave Kieran’s a lead they would not lose.
The teams from the 2010 final featured John Power, Willie Phelan and Cillian Buckley, all of whom have featured for the Kilkenny senior hurlers in the Walsh Cup this year - as did Kieran’s team manager David McCormack. Richie Doyle, another who played in the 2010 Leinster final, won a senior All-Ireland with the Cats last September.
Ciaran Doyle (Barrow Rangers) is the top scorer for the CBS this year, hitting 0-10 (0-8 frees) in his two championship outings.
Thomas O’Hanrahan (Thomastown) is leading the Kieran’s charge, having notched up 4-3 in his two games.
Paths to the final
Kilkenny CBS 1-10, Good Counsel 0-7
CBS scorers: Ciaran Doyle (0-8, 0-6 frees), Philly Campion (1-0); Jack Langton, J.P. Treacy (0-1 each).
St Kieran’s College 5-7, Dublin North 1-5
Kieran’s scorers: Thomas O’Hanrahan (4-0); Jack McCarthy (1-0); Michael Donnelly (0-2); Chris Bolger, Diarmuid Cody, Cormac Wafer, Eoin Gough (0-1 each); Aidan Cleere (0-1, 65).
Kilkenny CBS 1-6, St Peter’s College 0-6
CBS scorers: Jack Langton (0-1), Philly Campion (1-1), Ciaran Doyle (0-2 frees), Danny Bolger (0-2)
St Kieran’s College 0-15, Colaiste Eoin 1-8
Kieran’s scorers: Michael Donnelly (0-8, 0-6 frees); Thomas O’Hanrahan (0-3); Chris Bolger, Jack McGrath, Ciaran Prendergast, Jamie Maher (0-1 each).
Kilkenny CBS - Jack Langton (Clara), Owen McGrath (John Lockes), Darragh Holohan (Dicksboro), Cathal McGrath (John Lockes), Evan Cody (Dicksboro), Darragh Sheehan (Danesfort), J.P. Treacy (Young Irelands), Danny Bolger (O’Loughlin Gaels), Ciaran Doyle (Barrow Rangers), Kevin Kenny (Dicksboro), Philly Campion (St Lachtain’s), Robbie Fitzpatrick (Dicksboro), Stephen Tynan (Dicksboro), Shane Cassin (Clara), Mason Clifford (Dicksboro), Michael Power (Bennettsbridge), James Gittens (Dicksboro), Caoimthean Bergin (St Lachtain’s), Eoin Cantwell (Dicksboro), Paul Delahanty (Young Irelands), Jack Boland (St Lachtain’s), Shane Cuddihy (Tullaroan), Eoin Fennelly (Dicksboro), Enda O’Donoghue (Dicksboro), Niall Mullins (James Stephens), Luke Scanlon (James Stephens), Paddy Deegan (O’Loughlin Gaels), Dylan Scott (Dicksboro).
St Kieran’s College - Noel Keogh (Clara), David Hennessy (James Stephens), Robert Lennon (Bennettsbridge), William Allen (Rower-Inistioge), Cormac Wafer (Bennettsbridge), Aidan Cleere (Bennettsbridge), Emmet Byrne (Young Irelands), Michael Donnelly (Thomsatown), Peter Keneally (Dubbamaggin), Chris Bolger (Clara), Emda Morrissey (Bennettsbridge), Jack McGrath (James Stephens), Cillian Treacy (Danesfort), Ciaran Prendergast (Clara), David Burke (O’Loughlin Gaels), Paddy Mullen (Shamrocks), Robert O’Hanrahan (Thoamstown), Shane Parsons (O’Loughlin Gaels), William Murphy (Bennettsbridge), Robert Hayes (James Stephens), Thomas Talbot (Piltown), Eoin Gough (Dicksboro), Vincent Teehan (Graigue-Ballycallan), Billy Leydon (O’Loughlin Gaels), Stephen Farrell (Dicksboro), James Maher (St Lachtain’s), James Tyrrell (James Stephens), James Deasy (Shamrocks), Ciaran Breen (Barrow Rangers), Jack Bruton (Danesfort), Paul O’Neill (Bennettsbridge), Peter Walsh (Tullaroan), Ben Lahart (James Stephens), Thomas O’Hanrahan (Thomastown), Diarmuid Cody (James Stephens).