CORMAC Wafer and Thomas O’Hanrahan were the heroes as St Kieran’s College got their hands on the Leinster Colleges Senior A Hurling title for the third year in a row, writes Trevor Spillane.
The duo grabbed a goal each within seven second half minutes as Kieran’s dashed the hopes of a brave Kilkenny CBS in a tense battle at Nowlan Park on Saturday to edge the final on a 2-9 to 1-10 scoreline.
The CBS started in bullish mood and turned that into a quick lead. Kevin Kenny cancelled out Michael Donnelly’s early free when he kicked the sliotar over the Kieran’s bar. He did better with his next effort, cutting in from the left before hitting the net with a low shot.
The pressure was on Kieran’s after that, but they held on in there. Although the CBS added further points through the impressive Ciaran Doyle, Kenny and Mason Clifford, like scores from David Burke, Chris Bolger and Michael Donnelly ensured the gap was just three at half-time (1-4 to 0-4).
Another Donnelly free cut the gap to two by the 35th minute (1-5 to 0-6), but it wasn’t long before Kieran’s went in front, as Cormac Wafer’s 40th minute effort evaded netminder Darragh Holohan’s grasp and ended up in the CBS net.
The CBS showed great to come back and level the game - twice - but Kieran’s took a massive step towards lifting the Corn Ui Dhuill for the third year in a row and 51st time in all when Thomas O’Hanrahan raced through and buried an unstoppable shot past Holohan with 13 minutes to play.
Again, the CBS showed great heart. They had a chance to level the game when goalkeeper Keogh felled Clifford in the square, but Owen McGrath’s 50th minute penalty was pushed over the bar by College full-back and captain Robert Lennon.
The gap was just a point when Ciaran Doyle converted a free in the dying seconds of normal time, but Donnelly’s injury-time free sealed a dramatic win for Kieran’s. That win secured their place in the All-Ireland semi-finals, while the CBS will be out this weekend in the quarter-finals.
St Kieran’s College: Noel Keogh, Robert O’Hanrahan, Robert Lennon (capt), Willie Allen, Enda Morrissey, Emmet Byrne, Aidan Cleere, Peter Kenneally, Cormac Wafer (1-0), Chris Bolger (0-1), Michael Donnelly (0-7, 0-6 frees), Diarmuid Cody, David Burke (0-1), Thomas O’Hanrahan (1-0), Ciaran Prendergast. Subs: Jack McGrath for Kenneally, David Hennessy for Cleere, James Maher for Bolger, Stephen Farrell for Prendergast.
Kilkenny CBS: Darragh Holohan, Shane Cassin, Evan Cody, Cathal McGrath, Niall Mullins, Owen McGrath (0-1, pen), Mason Clifford (0-2), Darragh Sheehan, Jack Langton, Kevin Kenny (1-2), Shane Cuddihy, Eoin Fennelly, Robbie Fitzpatrick, Ciaran Doyle (0-5, 0-3 frees), Philly Campion. Subs: Danny Bolger for Campion, J.P. Treacy for Fennelly.
Referee: Domo Connolly (Kilkenny)