Campion’s goal the winner for battling CBS

Kilkenny CBS1-6

Kilkenny CBS1-6

St Peter’s College0-6

PHILLY CAMPION 15th minute goal proved the decisive score as Kilkenny CBS eventually held out for a three point victory over battling St Peter’s College (Wexford) in this hard fought Leinster Colleges Roinn A senior hurling championship semi-final at New Ross on Saturday.

A strong wind and a heavy sleet shower early in the second half did not deter either side as they searched out crucial scores, but really this was a day when defenders won out, as can be gauged by the final scoreline.

The respective attacks fell short in front of goal, creating little in the way of goal chances as they were totally shut out by some excellent defensive play on both sides. Evan Coady and Eoin McGrath were particularly prominent for the winners, while Sean Murphy and James Cash were outstanding for the Wexford college side.

Both teams enjoyed periods of outfield dominance with St Peter’s, in particular, showing real battling qualities as they played into the strong wind during the first half. They looked a side more than capable of upsetting their more highly rated opponents as they hurling with passion and real quality to their play, but it was their lack of scoring power in the full-forward line that was to haunt them right through the 60 minutes.

Forwards poor

Five of their starting forwards failed to register a single score, while the substitutes introduced also failed miserably in front of goal. Andrew Kenny struck five of his side’s points, three frees, with the remaining score a huge outfield effort from impressive midfielder, Colm Heffernan.

Once Kilkenny CBS got the break for that all important early goal, there was always the feeling that it would be the decisive score, as the respective defences were rock solid. With neither side managing to show any real creativity in attack it came as no surprise when Campion’s goal strike separated the side at the end of 60 hard fought minutes.

Kilkenny CBS will be happy to have won their way through to the final, but they will need to show huge improvement if they are to progress further. Evan Coady, corner-back Shane Cassin, along with an excellent half-back line trio of Niall Mullins, Eoin McGrath and Mason Clifford, proved dominant, with McGrath at centre-back particularly outstanding. This was the line on which most of the St Peter’s attacks perished.

Philly Campion and Andrew Kenny (free) exchanged points inside the opening three minutes, with a huge Kenny free into the strong wind putting his side 0-2 to 0-1 ahead after 12 minutes. The struggle for scores was evident even at this early stage, and it was Campion who cut into the centre on 15 minutes to fire home superbly from 12 meters, sending his side into a 1-1 to 0-2 lead, a lead they were never subsequently to lose.

The goal seemed to settle the side, but their finishing was wayward as they went on to strike six first half wides, as they could only manage a further point before the break, this a magnificent long range effort from midfielder James Langton. They continued to threaten for the remainder of the half, with Eoin Fennelly making considerable ground down the left side, but he delayed his pass inside to full-forward Kieran Doyle, whose shot for goal was blocked by a covering defence and cleared to safety.

Happy at half-time

Despite the fact that they failed to score for the final 18 minutes of the half, St Peter’s must still have been happy as they found themselves just three points adrift at the break, and this after Andrew Kenny had wided a scoreable free. Kilkenny CBS, on the other hand, must have been concerned with their meagre 1-2 to 0-2 interval lead, having to play into a strong wind on the resumption.

Kevin Doyle increased his side’s lead within one minute of the restart with a pointed free. St Peter’s responded with three unanswered points through Colm Heffernan, a superb outfield effort, and Andrew Kenny (2) leaving the minimum separating the sides, 1-3 to 0-5, after 37 minutes.

When it looked as if the game was about to drift away from them, Kilkenny CBS battened down the hatches, shutting out the Peter’s attack. Sub Benny Bolger and Andrew Kenny went on to exchange points, leaving just a single point separating the sides, 1-4 to 0-6, with eight minutes remaining.

The hurling was real quality at this stage, but it was the Kilkenny boys who maintained their composure as Doyle, who had switched out to centre-forward, pointed a free, with Bolger adding a further point, five minutes from the end leaving it 1-6 to 0-6.

St Peter’s, in one final desperate attack, saw sub Eoin Mythen, having gathered a crossfield ball, turn inside his marker, but delayed his shot in front of goal, leaving corner-back, Shane Cassin, to get back and block the ball out for a 65 which Kenny sent wide. With that went their last chance of forcing extra time.

Kilkenny CBS - Darragh Houlihan; Cathal McGrath, Evan Coady, Shane Cassin; Niall Mullins, Eoin McGrath, Mason Clifford; Jack Langton (0-1), Darragh Sheehan; Kevin Kenny, J P Treacy, Eoin Fennelly; Philly Campion (1-1), Kieran Doyle (0-2 frees), Robbie Fitzpatrick. Subs: Benny Bolger (0-2) for Treacy; Eoin Cantwell for Sheehan.

St Peter’s College - Luke White; Simon Donohoe, Sean Murphy, Sean Doyle; Andrew Butler, James Cash, Padie Foley; Colm Heffernan (0-1), Conor Devereux; Donal Shanley, Andrew Kenny (0-5, 3f), Adrian Ryan; Bill Eviston, Ed O’Byrne, Con O Donaghain. Subs: Eoin Wright for Eviston; Thomas Cambell for O’Byrne; Ben O’Brien for O Donaghain; Jim Rossiter for Cash (inj).

Referee - Pat Murphy (Carlow).