Stirring comeback secures All-Ireland glory for Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne
Kerry school prove too strong for St Pat’s Maghera
PS Chorca Dhuibhne players celebrate with The Hogan Cup following their victory over St Pat’s Maghera at Croke Park. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
PS Chorca Dhuibhne 1-8 St Patrick’s, Maghera 1-6
There is an Irish saying that appears apt, “An rud is annamh is iontach “which translates “What is seldom is wonderful”. In fact, its the stuff dreams are made of, as Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne, produced a stunning second half shut-out of hot favourites and the holders St Patrick’s College Maghera, to turn a five-point half-time deficit, into a two-point win, to claim their first Hogan Cup, after an enthralling and nerve racking contest at Croke Park on Saturday afternoon.
Despite enjoying the lions’ share of possession on the opening half, the Kerry side were being choked by a superbly organised St Pats defence and Chorca Dhuibhne did not manage a score in the opening 20 minutes. They had only two on the board by half-time, one each from Séamus Ó Muircheartaigh and Tomás Ó Sé.
But Kerry boss and also Chorca Dhuibhne manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice said he knew the character they possessed.
“A lot is made out of half-time when you win a game but I’ve been with these lads since they were in Second Year and there’s a lot of character in this team. It’s would have been a regret if they had not performed the way they did because we’ve been through a lot together and it would have been disappointing had they not performed on their biggest day together. We got the basics right in the second-half and Tom Ó Súilleabháin going up into the forwards in the second-half definitely helped us.”
Did Fitzmaurice worry St Pat’s experience might prevail?
“I was frustrated more than worried during the game and I felt that if Daithí Ó Conchuir hadn’t pulled off that save to deny them a second goal, then the momentum in the game could have swung from there.
“Defensively the lads were brilliant in the second half to keep Maghera to only two points, especially when you consider the quality of their forwards. This team has only lost one game together in the last five or six years, and that was the O’Sullivan Cup Final (Kerry SFC) against the Sem prior to Christmas and this is a very rewarding victory for the lads. To be only the fourth school from Kerry to win this is a magnificent honour.”
PS Chorca Dhuibhne’s plans looked to be going pear-shaped in the first half, as St Pat’s, invited the Kerry side to attack, forced turnovers and hit Dingle on the quick counter.
St Pat’s got up and running in the 12th minute when precocious midfielder Conor Glass, smashed the ball to the Chorca Dhuibhne net. Two Danny Tallon points followed, along with one each from Conor Convery (free) and a fine effort from Glass, to see St Pat’s lead 1-4 to 0-2 at the interval.
Whatever Fitzmaurice and Tommy Griffin side at the interval, Chorca Dhuibhne resumed a transformed side with Barra Ó Súilleabháin and man of the match Marc M Ó Conchúir thundering into the game at midfield and the decision to switch corner back, Tom Ó Súilleabháin to corner forward proved a masterstroke.
Rob Ó Sé had the ball in the St Pat’s net inside two minutes and from the kick-out Ó Muircheartaigh closed the gap to a point, with a free. The Kerry side then were lucky to escape when St Pat’s broke through and Conor Convery was denied a goal by a stunning double save by keeper Daithi Ó Conchúir. Sean Ó Gairbhia took Tallon’s follow-up effort off the line.
This appeared to deflate St Pat’s as wing back Maitiu Ó Flatharta levelled the contest in the 38th minute, only for Paul McAtamney to restore St Pat’s lead in the 40th minute.
But that was as good as it got for the Derry side, as PS Chorca Dhuibhne took over, with a superb defensive display and with Tomás Ó Sé in particular breaking the gain line, with his searing pace and Ó Flatharta and Ó Beaglaíoch, surging forward.
St Pat’s only scored twice in the second half and points from Ó Muircheartaigh, Tom Ó Súilleabháin, and the insurance point from Barra Ó Súilleabháin secured a historic first Hogan Cup win for PS Chorca Dhuibhne, which was only formed in 2007 and ensured the bonfires blazed in Dingle Peninsula on Saturday night.
PS CHORCA DHUIBHNE: D Ó Conchúir ; C Ó Suilleabhain, B Ó Beaglaíoch, T Ó Súilleabáin (0-2 fs); M Ó Flatharta (0-1), C Ó Beaghlaíoch , S Ó Gairbhia; B Ó Súilleabháin (0-1), M Ó Conchúir; R Ó Sé (1-0) , B Ó Raoil , T Ó Sé (0-1); C Ó Géibheannaigh , C Ó Bambaire, S Ó Muircheartaigh 0-3 ( 0-2fs). Subs: C Ó Murchú for C Ó Géibheannaigh (ht), S Ó Bambaire for B Ó Raoil (53), T de Brun for S Ó Muircheartaigh (60)
ST PAT’S MAHGERA: A McCloy, P McNeill, O Hegarty, C McNeill, C O Doherty, P Hagan, C Mulholland, C Glass (1-1) , C Cassidy (0-1), J Doherty, P McAtamney (0-1), M McGrath, P Gunning, D Tallon (0-2) , C Convery (0-1 f). Subs: B Cassidy for P McAtamney (57), S Quinn for C Mulholland (60).
Referee: G McCormack (Dublin)