Good Counsel3-8 (17pts)
St Kieran’s College2-9 (15pts)
TWO GOALS in three minutes saw Good Counsel wrestle the Barry Cup from St Kieran’s College.
Ciaran O’Connor was the toast of the Wexford side, the corner-forward bagging the precious brace that led his school to their first Leinster juvenile hurling title in seven years.
Trailing by two points at the break (1-6 to 1-4), Counsel made a fast start after the interval that finished with the spoils in Thomastown on Friday. Adam Mansfield halved the deficit with a point before O’Connor grabbed his first goal on 36 minutes, drilling a loose sliotar home after he had blocked down goalkeeper Shane Byrne’s attempted clearance.
O’Connor repeated his feat a few minutes later. Again, the corner-forward was in the right place at the right time, rattling the net after Byrne had stopped Mikey Dwyer’s point-blank shot.
That salvo was harsh on a Kieran’s side who had fought their way into the game after a tough start. After a tense opening quarter - Eddie Delaney almost broke the deadlock in spectacular style when his fourth minute sideline cut from all of 65m out hit the Counsel crossbar - the Wexford school found sufficient form to open a decisive lead.
Adam Mansfield opened his side’s scoring with two points. Mikey Dwyer and Ciaran O’Connor (free) cancelled out two Joe Cuddihy frees, before
James Tobin plucked half-back Ian Carthy’s booming 22nd minute clearance out of the sky and drilled the sliotar high into the Kieran’s net.
At that stage Kieran’s were five points down (1-4 to 0-2). With seven minutes of normal time left they looked to be in trouble, but the Saints went on a surging run which saw them take control of the game.
They hit back straight after that goal, Joe Cuddihy catching the puck-out and splitting the dressing-room end posts. Cuddihy and the hard-working Brian Crowdle sliced two more points off the deficit as Kieran’s went all-out in attack.
After that, Eddie Delaney helped himself to the point of the day. Winning possession in midfield, he traded a swift one-two with Joe Cuddihy before pointing from half-way.
Kieran’s had scored four points without reply since conceding the goal, but better was to follow. They ended the half on a high when keeper Jack Walsh could only parry Niall Walsh’s shot into the air. The sliotar seemed to hang there for ages, then Joe Connolly burst in to flick it home (1-6 to 1-4).
It was all change after the restart, however as those two early goals stunned Kieran’s. They struggled to regain their form and, following an Andy Walsh free, found themselves six down with seven minutes to play (3-8 to 1-8).
Typical of their performance, the Saints refused to wilt. Joe Cuddihy gave them a real boost, picking up a loose ball on the left and breaking some challenges before drilling a low shot inside the far post.
That left Kieran’s needing a goal, a chance they thought they’d get when it appeared that Niall Walsh had been felled in the square, but their hopes were dashed as referee Pat Moran ruled the midfielder had gone to ground too easily.
Hopes of the comeback faded as time ran out on Kieran’s. Eddie Delaney did fire over a fine point via a sideline cut, but it wasn’t enough to reel in their Wexford rivals.
SCORERS: Good Counsel - Ciaran O’Connor (2-2, 0-1 free), James Tobin (1-0), Adam Mansfield (0-3), Mikey Dwyer (0-2), Andy Walsh (0-1, free). St Kieran’s College - Joe Cuddihy (1-6, 0-4 frees), Joe Connolly (1-0), Eddie Delaney (0-2, 0-1 line ball), Brian Crowdle (0-1).
St Kieran’s College - S. Byrne, E. Carroll, T. Walsh, B. Kirwan, A. Nolan, T. Murphy, M. Cody, E. Delaney, N. Walsh, N. Hussein, J. Cuddihy, J. Connolly, C. Prenderville, B. Crowdle, S. Carey. Subs: T. Whitty for Prenderville, 43 mins; J. McDonald for Carroll, 52 mins.
Good Counsel - J. Walsh, S. Doyle, S. Barden, D. Croke, E. Higgins, I. Carthy, D. Lyons, J. Sutton, A. Mansfield, M. Dwyer, A. Winters, P. Murphy, C. O’Connor, J. Tobin, A. Walsh.
Referee - P. Moran (Laois).