Action from the St Kieran's college versus Castlecomer CS Leinster colleges game
The crucifier was in the small print. It demanded a decision on the day, and extra-time if necessary.
And so what should have been a competitive and satisfying joust between league champions St Kieran’s College and big hearted Castlecomer Community School in the Leinster post primary schools senior hurling championship turned into a battle for survival in Arctic-like conditions.
Jenkinstown on Wednesday of last week was a bitterly, bitterly cold place as the wind ripped through the grounds and rain, hail and even snow dripped from angry looking, slate grey skies.
By my estimation, play was called up five minutes from the end of extra-time.
By that stage Castlecomer explained they were down eight players from their starting 15, due to cramp and so on.
St Kieran’s had agreed to let them use more than the regular quota of subs allowable during extra-time. Nearing the end it was obvious there was only going to be one winner. It was virtually dark, and it was snowing.
One of the ’Comer mentors approached St Kieran’s and both parties agreed to let the score at that stage stand as the result because there was an increasing risk of injury.
A wise decision. A result by consensus. Not part of the rule book, but heck saving players from extreme hardship was a laudable move.
The official final score was given as that which tops this report, 1-12 to 0-9. However, my score was different.
We were in concert with the referee at half-time, 0-6 (C) to 0-4; at full time, 0-9 each and there was no dispute about the score at the break in extra time, 1-11 to 0-9.
Beyond there was a variance. We had the good fortune to be joined by two parents who knew all the St Kieran’s players for this portion of the game. Between the three of us we made out Kieran’s scored more than one more point.
My final tally was 1-14 to 0-9. A Castlecomer official admitted there was a divide of seven points at least in the end, so make what you will of it all.
The absence of regular umpires or white or green flags to indicate scores made it difficult to get a read on things, and the fading light hampered too. Frozen and drenched students - in their street clothes - acted as umpires, indicating a point by pointing a finger in the air.
One felt for them as they were battered relentlessly by the elements. They also acted as retrievers of the ball for puck-outs. Great chaps!
Anyway, being deemed winners in whatever fashion put St Kieran’s into the top half of the draw and they came out against city rivals, Kilkenny CBS. January 10 is the date of the game. Fingers crossed the weather will be better.
In the losers group that will provide participants for the main event later down the road, Castlecomer CS will play either Birr or Borris VS.
Back to Jenkinstown. The pitch held up well but the conditions were awful and the referee was steadfast in following the directive to get a result.
It is not our place to get involved, but for the sake of the players we asked a St Kieran’s official to try and have the contest ended when the score was level at the end of normal time. He put the case, but it was rejected.
Our situation was we had three layers of clothing, a heavy coat, scarf, cap, gloves, boots, wet gear trousers and an umbrella to shield against the biting elements.
And still we were freezing and at the finish and sought refuge in the Kieran’s dressing-room to thaw out.
The steam from the showers filled the room and heated us all.
And thank God for heated seats in the car!
Actually, the showers were used by the players to warm their freezing hands during the two breaks in the match.
Honestly, you had to be there to appreciate the hardship the players, officials and followers put up with. Someone owes an apology to the schools, players and fans for putting them through hardship way, way beyond the norm.
And all because of the small print, and the need to get a result!
Castlecomer were within seconds of scoring a rare win over Kieran’s. A point from a free on the hour from Eoin Cody drew the match at 0-9 each at the end of normal time after the eventual losers had led from the 16th minute.
’Comer opened backed by the wind and thanks to five scores from Jack Buggy and one from Jack Morrissey they led by 0-6 to 0-4 at the break.
They continued to dominate and Kieran’s barely got the ball up the field as Castlecomer extended their lead to 0-9 to 0-4 up to the 43rd minute.
Things began to change for St Kieran’s when centre-forward, Eoin Moylan was moved to centre-back. His forceful play helped to tilt the balance.
A point from a 65 by Adrian Mullen started the recovery that finished with Cody levelling on the hour.
When Kieran’s opened extra time with a quick point from Cody and then a goal from David O’Carroll you could see the instant swing in fortunes.
Ciarán Brennan added another minor before the rest at the end of the first period of 10 minutes, which left the score at 1-11 to 0-9.
The losers lost at least two more players to injury - or perhaps it was the cold weather - during this period.
They hardly showed after that as we - with my two accomplices - felt Kieran’s added scores through Ciarán Brennan, Mullen and Hogan.
SCORERS: St Kieran’s College - Eoin Cody (0-8); David O’Carroll (1-0); Adrian Mullen (0-2, one 65); Ciaran Brennan (0-2); Eoin O’Shea, Ciarán Hogan (0-1 each).
Castlecomer CS - Jack Buggy (0-6, four frees); Dan Coogan (0-2); Jack Morrissey (0-1).
St Kieran’s College - Dean Mason (Shamrocks); Tommy Ronan (Graigue-Ballycallan), Conor Murphy (Bennettsbridge), Mark Nolan (Dicksboro); Diarmuid Phelan (Danesfort), Adrian Mullen (Shamrocks), Luke Murphy (James Stephens); Cillian Egan (GB), Brian Staunton (Thomastown); Eoin O’Shea (O’Loughlin’s), Eoin Moylan (Dicksboro), Daithi Barron (Thomastown); Eoin Wall (O’Loughlin’s), Ciaran Brennan (Bennettsbridge), Eoin Cody (Shamrocks). Subs - George Murphy (Rower-Inistioge), David O’Carroll (Lisdowney), Ciarán Hogan (Graigue Ballycallan).
Castlecomer CS - Karl Downey (Conahy Shamrocks); Chris Korff (Erin’s Own), James Brennan (EO), Frank Gunner (Conahy); Cathal Holland (EO), John Dowd (EO), Eoin Regan (Cloneen); Jack Morrissey (St Patrick’s), Declan Buggy (EO); Jack Buggy (EO), Adam Comerford (St Martin’s), Dan Comerford (St Martin’s); Eoin Cahill (Conahy), Dan Coogan (EO), Darragh Dooley (Conahy). Subs used - Ciaran Cooney, Cian Harding, Conor McMahon, Conor Clarke, Billy O’Neill, Jamie Meagher, Ronan Shore.