Champs look like a team that really means business

St Kieran’s College.............4-13

St Kieran’s College.............4-13

Dublin South..........................1-6

THE post match mood was cool, calm and focussed. St Kieran’s College had played a match. They won it handsomely.

And straight away the eye was towards the next contest.

“That, like all first outings in the championship, was a bit of a banana skin. We were glad to get through it but we will be looking for improvement.”

The post match summary from Philip Walsh, who manages the St Kieran’s team with fellow teacher, Tom Hogan, was typical. The ’College had prepared, and prepared well, and it would be the same for the semi-final against Good Counsel (Wexford).

St Kieran’s, the current All-Ireland champions, made light work of depositing Dublin South on the scrap heap in the Leinster colleges senior hurling Roinn A championship at Dr Cullen Park. To be honest, the game was over after 12 minutes or so when the Noresiders had already snatched two goals when playing against the cold, biting wind.

The Dubs tried their best, but they were no more than average and they were error prone at the back. Kieran’s forced them to play on the back-foot by applying intense, and one means intense, pressure all over the park.

The less skilful losers just couldn’t cope.

Short puck-out intercepted

Barely three minutes had passed when an attempted short puck-out by the Dubs was intercepted by the hugely talented John Power on the 30-metre line. A quick transfer of the ball to Thomas Hanrahan and the green flag was being raised.

On 10 minutes Pat Butler arrowed in a dangerous ball from midfield to the right edge of the square at the town end goal. A defender and forward fell as they contested the ball. The sphere was loose for a split second. O’Hanrahan was again on hand to lash it into the net.

The score was already St Kieran’s 2-1, Dublin College 0-1.

The third goal of the half arrived in the 25th minute. Again Dublin made an error under pressure. Powerful centre-back William Phelan launched a missile from his own position and the ball took flight all the way to the ’keeper. The arriving sliotar was fumbled. The lurking, deadly finishing O’Hanrahan completed his hat-trick (3-4 to 0-3).

With William Phelan in massive form at the heart of the winners defence and Patrick Butler and Conor O’Shea hurling well in front of him, the losers rarely got the ball beyond the opposing ‘40’. All their first half scores came from midfielders Brian McCarthy (0-4, frees) and Glen Whelan.

Those scores left the Dubs way behind, by 4-5 to 0-5 to be precise, at the rest. The fourth winners’ goal was put away by Jack Nolan. The O’Loughlin’s lad took a superbly placed, hurley driven into the hand pass from Michael Brennan on the right, inside the 20 metre line, before placing a low angled drive in the far corner of the net.

About the only error

The second half started with a Dublin goal on 32 minutes. This time a Kieran’s defender failed to snap a ball cleanly out of the air. Naoise Greene punished what was about the only error by the defence when he pushed the ball into the net.

That was as good at it got for the Dubs. They shot just one more score. Kieran’s didn’t hunt with the ferocity they had earlier, but they did plenty to stay ahead with Pat O’Carroll, Hugh O’Neill, Cathal O’Neill and Aidan Cleere joining the ranks of the top performers.

A good result, achieved without two very good players – Cillian Buckley and Robert Lennon – who are still recovery from injury. Future developments could be interesting.

Scorers: St Kieran’s College – Thomas O’Hanrahan (3-0); John Power (0-6, four frees, one 65); Jack Nolan (1-0); Kilian Phelan, Michael Brennan (0-2 each); William Phelan (0-1, free); Hugh O’Neill, Diarmuid Cody (0-1 each). Dublin South – Brian McCarthy (0-5, four frees); Naoise Greene (1-0); Glen Whelan (0-1).

St Kieran’s College – Sam Johnston (O’Loughlin/Gaels), Luke Hickey (James Stephens), Cathal O’Neill (Danesfort), Robert O’Hanrahan (Thomastown); Hugh O’Neill (Bennettsbridge), William Phelan (Dunnamaggin), Pat O’Carroll (Lisdowney), Patrick Butler (O’Loughlin-Gaels), Conor O’Shea (Clara), John Power (Carrickshock), Kilian Phelan (Clara), Aidan Cleere (Bennettsbridge), Jack Nolan (O’Loughlin-Gaels), Michael Brennan (St Patrick’s), Thomas O’Hanrahan (Thomastown). Subs – Peter Keneally (Dunnamaggin) for Cleere 49th min; Richie Reid (Shamrocks) for T. O’Hanrahan 49th min; Diarmuid Cody (James Stephens) for Reid (inj) 55th min; Michael Donnelly (Thomastown) for Nolan 55th min; George Allen (Rower-Inistioge) for H. O’Neill 58th min.

Dublin South – G. Harrington, D. Mulligan, F. Donoghue, J. Barnes, D. Butler, T. Devlin, B. Errity, G. Whelan, B. McCarthy, C. Devins, K. McMahon, K. Russell, N. Greene, S. Harrington, E. Prendergast. Subs – K. Ward for S. Harrington 38th min; A. Jermaine for C. Devins 38th min; Ken Kelly for E. Prendergast 45th min; N. Salvino for K. Russell 56th min.

Referee – P. Kehoe (Carlow).