Thurles CBS suffered cruel heartache in the final of the Masita All-Ireland Under-16.5A Post Primary Schools Hurling Championship (Niall McInerney Cup) when the Tipperary lads shipped an eighteen-point defeat at the hands of a superb Presentation College (Athenry) team at Banagher (Offaly).
Masita All-Ireland Under-16.5A Post Primary Schools
Hurling Championship Final (Niall McInerney Cup)
Thurles CBS 0-9 Presentation College, Athenry 3-18
On this occasion Thurles CBS, despite a hard-working display, were overwhelmed by a really impressive Presentation College, Athenry team. Prior to this contest Thurles CBS had dominated the battle for supremacy in the middle eight against a whole series of opponents, but to their credit Athenry poured huge energy into this area of the field and were rewarded with a win which will live long in the memory of the Galway lads.
The prevailing pattern of this contest was set early on as the ferocious tackling and the physical profile of the Athenry lads helped Presentation College to dominate the shot count in the opening half (22-8). Athenry were good value for a seven-point interval lead (0-12 to 0-5) and although Presentation College spurned a couple of notable goal-scoring opportunities in the opening half, Athenry made no mistake thereafter and plundered three three-pointers.
Luke Shanahan, Ryan Walsh and Darragh McCahey did well for Thurles CBS, but Athenry simply proved themselves much too strong for their Tipperary counter-parts on this occasion. Mark Hardiman, Gavin Lee and man of the match Mathew Tarpey stood out for Presentation College.
This panel of Thurles CBS players was guided by a management team comprising of Martin Maher (Borris-Ileigh), John Devane (Clonoulty-Rossmore) and Niall Cahill (Emeralds, Urlingford). Thurles CBS beat De La Salle, Waterford (1-9 to 0-7) in the Munster final while the Mid Tipperary school earned a six-point All-Ireland semi-final win over St Kieran’s College, Kilkenny (1-17 to 0-14).
Mark Hardiman (free) presented Athenry with an early lead, but Darragh Stakelum and Pat Ryan combined to set up Ryan Walsh for a smashing equalizer in the fifth minute. Athenry surged three clear thanks to efforts from Gavin Lee (free) and Mathew Tarpey (0-2, 0-1 sideline), but Thurles CBS were battling well and thanks to efforts from Darragh Stakelum and Stephen Ferncombe (free) there was just two between them (0-3 to 0-5) with fourteen minutes on the clock.
Thurles CBS were struggling to move the ball up the field and build a bridge between their defense and their attack while Athenry regularly threatened on the counter. Indeed, with Presentation College leading 0-7 to 0-4 in the 25th minute Thurles CBS were hugely thankful to Darragh McCahey; Athenry carved Thurles CBS open and created a goal-scoring opportunity for Ryan O’Donnell, but the full-back bravely dived across O’Donnell’s path at an opportune moment and managed to deflect the effort over the bar.
That incident momentarily appeared to rouse the Thurles CBS lads and when Stephen Ferncombe won a turnover in the middle of the field the Clonoulty-Rossmore man smartly picked out Jack Leamy who landed a terrific point in the 25th minute (0-5 to 0-8).
Athenry, however, wrenched the momentum away from Thurles CBS when concluding the opening half with four successive points which arrived courtesy of Gavin Lee (three, one free) and Jamie Treacy. It is also worth noting that Thurles CBS ‘keeper Jason O’Dwyer conjured a terrific save to deny Jamie Treacy a goal in the 30th minute.
Considering the deficit (seven points) Thurles CBS desperately required an encouraging start to the second period, but Athenry seized the initiative immediately after the break when Liam Leen drilled over a point and then Aaron Dolan booted home a goal.
Thurles CBS responded with points from Luke Shanahan and Stephen Ferncombe (free), but Athenry plundered their second goal in the 44th minute to break the heart of their opponents - ‘keeper Jason O’Dwyer denied the raiding Ryan O’Donnell with a terrific reflex save, but Mathew Tarpey was on hand to bury the rebound (2-13 to 0-7).
A Stephen Ferncombe free in the 48th minute cut the gap to eleven points, but when Mathew Tarpey fired home a superb goal in the 49th minute Thurles CBS were cut hopelessly adrift.
Thurles CBS chased goals late on in a desperate attempt to rescue the situation, but the Tipperary outfit could only add a Luke Shanahan sideline to their tally in the 55th minute while Gavin Lee belted over five more Athenry points (four frees).
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, 0-2, 0-1 sidelines), James Armstrong (Durlas Óg), Ryan Walsh (Fethard, 0-1), Edward Meagher (Loughmore-Castleiney), Darragh Stakelum (Durlas Óg, 0-1), Stephen Ferncombe (Clonoulty-Rossmore, 0-4, 0-3 frees, 0-1 ‘65s), Pat Ryan (Upperchurch-Drombane), Jack Lillis (Drom & Inch), David Fogarty (Holycross-Ballycahill), Jack Leamy (Golden-Kilfeacle, 0-1). Subs: (47th) Liam McCormack (Durlas Óg) for Jack Lillis, (52nd) Sam Quinlan (Holycross-Ballycahill) for Pat Ryan, (53rd) Robert Doyle (Clonoulty-Rossmore) for Darragh Stakelum, (57th) Ben Hennessy (Holycross-Ballycahill) for Edward Meagher, (62nd) Liam Hayes (Moycarkey-Borris) for Oisín Treacy.
Remaining panel members: James Griffin (Upperchurch-Drombane), Alex Lawlor (Fenians), Darragh Minogue (Durlas Óg), Toby Lambe (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).
Presentation College, Athenry: Darragh Walsh, Luke Martyn, Ruairí Collins, Jack Dowling, Cian Moore, Ian McGlynn, Mark Hardiman (0-2, 0-2 frees), Christy Brennan, Liam Leen (0-1), Cian Shaughnessy, Gavin Lee (0-10, 0-7 frees), Mathew Tarpey (2-3, 0-1 sidelines), Ryan O’Donnell (0-1), Jamie Treacy (0-1), Aaron Dolan (1-0). Subs: (28th) Conor Rooney for Mathew Tarpey (blood - reversed in the 31st minute), (33rd) Tiernán Leen for Jack Dowling (blood - reversed in the 36th minute), 57th Conor Rooney for Ryan O’Donnell.
Referee: Barry Nea (Westmeath).
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