Thurles CBS won a cracking Masita All-Ireland Under-16.5A Post Primary Schools Hurling Championship semi-final against old friends St Kieran's College, Kilkenny at a windy and freezing cold Freshford on Tuesday afternoon, November 20th.
Masita All-Ireland Under-16.5A Post Primary
Schools Hurling Championship Semi-Final
Thurles CBS 1-17 St Kieran’s College, Kilkenny 0-14
A David Fogarty goal propelled Thurles CBS toward a 1-6 to 0-6 interval advantage and although the Kilkenny lads faced the elements in the second half St Kieran's roared back into this contest and were level with seven minutes of normal time remaining (1-11 to 0-14).
It was at this juncture that Thurles CBS found a hero in half-forward Jack Leamy. Throughout this entertaining contest a number of Thurles CBS players had caught the eye. Luke Shanahan was terrific at centre-back; the midfield pairing of Ryan Walsh and Edward Meagher got through a power of work while also contributing five points from play. Wing-forward Darragh Stakelum plundered four points and when introduced at the break Pat Ryan conjured five assists. But when his side's need was greatest Golden-Kilfeacle's Jack Leamy grabbed this All-Ireland semi-final by the throat and swung the momentum back in favour of Thurles CBS.
Jack Leamy notched three points from play during the closing ten minutes of this contest and also played a critical hand in two more as Thurles CBS notched six scores without reply to book their place in the All-Ireland final.
Thurles CBS will face the Connacht champions in the All-Ireland final on Saturday, December 1st while this terrific panel of players are guided by a management team comprising of Martin Maher (Borris-Ileigh), John Devane (Clonoulty-Rossmore) and Niall Cahill (Emeralds, Urlingford).
St Kieran's started well and led 0-3 to 0-1 after ten minutes with only Darragh Stakelum managing a response for the Tipperary school. Thurles CBS settled down, however, and once they started to dominate the middle eight the trajectory of the game swung in their favour with points from Ryan Walsh, Stephen Ferncombe (two frees), David Fogarty and Darragh Stakelum earning their side a 0-6 to 0-4 lead with twenty-five minutes played.
Although the Kilkenny school closed the gap to one Liam McCormack created an opportunity for David Fogarty in the 31st minute; the Holycross-Ballycahill man shortened beautifully before burying his shot in the top left-hand corner. A St Kieran's '65 closed the gap to three immediately prior to the break (1-6 to 0-6).
Thurles CBS maintained that three-point lead until the final quarter (1-9 to 0-9) thanks to points from Edward Meagher, Darragh Stakelum (a brilliant effort) and Ryan Walsh, but St Kieran's were not prepared to lie down and out-scored Thurles CBS 0-5 to 0-2 between the 45th and 53rd minutes to tie the game (1-11 to 0-14).
With Jack Leamy bursting into devastating life in the half-forward line Thurles CBS smothered the St Kieran's rally when six successive points sealed their place in the All-Ireland final - those scores arrived courtesy of Ryan Walsh, Edward Meagher, Darragh Stakelum, Stephen Ferncombe and Jack Leamy (two).
Thurles CBS: Jason O'Dwyer (Clonoulty-Rossmore), Oisín Treacy (Upperchurch-Drombane), Darragh McCahey (Loughmore-Castleiney), Conor Horgan (Knockavilla Kickhams), Edward Connolly (Loughmore-Castleiney, captain), Luke Shanahan (Upperchurch-Drombane), James Armstrong (Durlas Óg), Ryan Walsh (Fethard, 0-3), Edward Meagher (Loughmore-Castleiney, 0-2), Darragh Stakelum (Durlas Óg, 0-4), Stephen Ferncombe (Clonoulty-Rossmore, 0-3, 0-2 frees), Jack Leamy (Golden-Kilfeacle, 0-3), Liam McCormack (Durlas Óg), David Fogarty (Holycross-Ballycahill, 1-1), Jack Lillis (Drom & Inch). Subs: (HT) Pat Ryan (Upperchurch-Drombane, 0-1) for Liam McCormack, (52nd) Robert Doyle (Clonoulty-Rossmore) for Jack Lillis, (63rd) James Griffin (Upperchurch-Drombane) for Darragh Stakelum, (63rd) Alex Lawlor (Fenians) for Stephen Ferncombe.
Remaining panel members: Darragh Minogue (Durlas Óg), Toby Lambe (Holycross-Ballycahill), Liam Hayes (Moycarkey-Borris), Sam Quinlan (Holycross-Ballycahill), Ben Hennessy (Holycross-Ballycahill), Pádraig Treacy (Loughmore-Castleiney), Michael Fitzpatrick (Drom & Inch), Oisín O'Brien (Durlas Óg), Emmett Fogarty (Durlas Óg), Jack O'Mara (Durlas Óg), Joe Caesar (Holycross-Ballycahill), Killian Rafter (Durlas Óg), Ethan Blake (Drom & Inch), Joe Brooks (Roscrea), Dáire O'Connell (Fethard), Daniel Ruddy (Durlas Óg), Michael Connolly (Loughmore-Castleiney), Conor Ruddy (Durlas Óg) & David Sherman (Galmoy).
St Kieran's (Kilkenny): Dara Mason, Shaun O'Keeffe, Andy Hickey, Ciaran Rice, JP Gamble, Peter McDonald (0-2, 0-1 '65s, 0-1 frees), Daniel Murphy, Patrick Brennan, Padraig Foley, Padraig Brennan (0-1), Conor Fitzgerald (0-7, 0-4 fees, 0-1 '65s), Padraig Lennon, Vinny O'Grady, Denis Walsh (0-2), Jack Doyle (0-1). Subs: (27th) Harry Murphy for Shaun O'Keeffe, (HT) Brian McDonald for Vinny O'Grady, (42nd) Eoin Crowley (0-1) for Patrick Brennan, (56th) Mathew Shorthall for Padraig Lennon.
Referee: John Keane (Galway).
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