Kilkenny CBS were unlucky losers in the Leinster final, but they proved conclusively that they lost none of their spirit or belief on that occasion when bouncing back to beat Harty Cup winners, Colaisti-na-nDeise in a cracking All-Ireland colleges senior hurling Roinn A quarter-final by 2-12 the 1-12, writes John Knox.
The game in Walsh Park on today went to extra-time before the CBS gunned down the Waterford side by shooting five points against two conceded beyond the regulated time to make the last four.
Nothing came easy for the CBS. They opened in dazzling form. They raced 1-2 to no score in front during the opening six minute, Mason Clifford shooting the goal after great approach work by Kevin Kenny and Eoin Fennelly.
Deise got back into the game after that, and two scores from Ryan Donnelly (one free) plus another from Colin Dunford left them 0-3 to 1-3 off the pace at the break after playing against the fresh breeze.
The losers resumed full of intent and they proceeded to dominate. With Dunford running the game from midfield and shooting some great ball in to corner-forward, Patrick Curran, they got on top of their opponents.
Within five minutes of the turn they were level (1-3 to 0-6). Before the end of the quarter they had run up their biggest lead of the match, 1-7 to 1-3.
However, the CBS hung on. A point from a free on midfield by star player, Owen McGrath revived their flagging hopes. A like score from brilliant captain, Jack Langton, added fresh impetus to the entire team effort.
The Deise hit back for a good minor from Cathal Curran, and they looked to be getting on top again. However, the CBS enjoyed a bit of luck in the 53rd minute when a free from 55 metres by Owen McGrath saw the ball end up in the net.
It was draw match again – 1-8 to 2-5.
Twice subsequently the Deise got in front, but twice the CBS dragged them back with points from Kevin Kenny and the big hearted Mason Clifford. In a frantic finish to the 60 minutes the CBS might have snatched a win had a call right in front of the opposing goal gone their way.
However, after fielding a great ball from the sky the referee’s decision went against J.P. Treacy – not for the first, second or third time during the afternoon for the CBS – and a free out was award for over carrying the ball.
The CBS finished with full-forward, Ciaran Doyle at centre-back and starting No. 6 Owen McGrath in midfield. They went into extra-time with that vital pair in the new positions, and with youngster Robbie Buckley given his debut at corner-forward there was a real passion about the approach of the CBS.
All the team changes worked a dream. Within a minute J.P. Treacy lashed over a point as the CBS resumed with the breeze in their back. A foul on Buckley then gifted a point to McGrath before the same player landed a great point from 45 meters on the left (2-10 to 1-10).
A point right on the button of half-time from Danny Bolger gave the CBS a 2-11 to 1-10 advantage with a mere 10 minutes of extra-time to be played.
While the free count continued to pile up against the CBS – harshly one felt – they held things together at the back. They finished under intense pressure, but they held out. They conceded a mere two scores from frees to earn the ticket into the semi-finals next weekend.
This was a mighty performance from the CBS.
Scorers: Kilkenny CBS – Owen McGrath (1-5); Mason Clifford (1-2); Jack Langton, Kevin Kenny, J.P. Treacy, Danny Bolger, Robbie Buckley (0-1 each). Colaisti na nDeise – Cathal Curran (0-6); Ryan Donnelly (0-3); Patrick Curran (1-0); Colin Dunford, Michael Harney, Kieran Power (0-1 each).
Kilkenny CBS – D. Holohan, S. Cassin, E. Cody, C. McGrath, N. Mullins, O. McGrath, R. Fitzpatrick, D. Sheehan, J. Langton, K. Kenny, M. Clifford, E. Fennelly, S. Cuddihy, C. Doyle, P.Campion. Subs – P. Delahanty for P. Campion; D. Bolger for Clifford (inj); Clifford for E. Fennelly; L. Scanlon for D. Sheehan; R. Buckley for Delahanty; S. Tynan for Clifford.
Colaistie-na-nDeise – E. Kearns, K. Looby, T. Tobin, S. O’Donovan, E. Collins, T. Devine, T. Burke, C. Dunford, Cormac Curran, Cathal Curran, M. Harney, R. Donnelly, M. Kiely, K. Power, P. Curran. Subs – K. Sheehan for K. Looby; K. Daly for M. Kiely; M. Kiely for P. Curran; P. Curran for R. Donnelly.
Referee – P. O’Dwyer (Carlow).