The second level school teachers team from Kilkenny were crowned All-Ireland inter-firms senior hurling champions for 2011-2012 when they scored a comprehensive victory over reigning champions, Medtronic of Galway in the final in Muckalee under lights on Saturday.
The winners produced their best performance of the campaign and were fully deserving of the 11 point winning margin in the end.
Conor Fogarty opened the scoring with a wonderful point from play straight from the throw-in. This set the tone for the rest of the game, and although the Galway side responded quickly with a pointed free by Keril Wade, it was the Kilkenny lads who took control early on.
By the time Mark Aylward goaled in the 7th minute it was clear that Medtronic would have it all to do if they were to hold on to the All-Ireland title. To their credit, they finished the first half well and only five points separated the teams at the break.
The score at half-time was 1-9 to 0-7 to the Teachers with all of their scores coming from play, including at least one score from each of the six forwards and both midfielders.
The second half began with a pointed free to each side. It looked as if supporters were in for a gripping, exciting closing half.
Instead the Teachers team went on a scoring spree. They drilled over eight unanswered points (7 from play) to stretch their lead to 12 points with 10 minutes to go.
To their credit Medtronic fought to the end, out-scoring their opponents by 1-3 to 1-1 in the closing 10 minutes, but the result was never in doubt.
Both teams deserve great credit for producing a thoroughly enjoyable game with some outstanding scores. This was a top class performance from the Teachers team and one which made them worthy All-Ireland inter-firms champions for the first time.
Kilkenny Teachers scorers: Mark Aylward (1-3); Lester Ryan (1-3, 1-1 frees); Paul O’Flynn (0-3); David McCormack (0-3, one free); Conor Fogarty (0-2); Martin Walsh (0-2); Eoin McCormack (0-2); Alan Healy (0-1).
Kilkenny Teachers - Tom Ryan (Graigue-Ballycallan), Shane Prendergast (Clara), Canice Hickey (Dunamaggin), Peter Donovan (Erin’s Own), Ger Flood (James Stephens), Eamon Walsh (Ballyhale Shamrocks), Joey Holden (Ballyhale Shamrocks), Martin Walsh (Tullaroan), Lester Ryan (Clara), Paul O’Flynn (Dicksboro), Conor Fogarty (Erin’s Own), David McCormack (James Stephens), Mark Aylward (Ballyhale Shamrocks), Eoin McCormack (James Stephens), Alan Healy (Conahy Shamrocks).
Subs - Nicky Kenny (Piltown), Keith Hogan (Clara), Liam Hennebry (Mooncoin), Brian Kennedy (St Lachtain’s), Alan Curran (Mullinahone), Jason Corcoran (John Lockes), Richie Ruth (Thurles Sarsfields), Mattew Ruth (James Stephens), Michael Rice (Carrickshock), Seamus O Dwyer (Ballinakill), Niall Tyrell (James Stephens)