St Kieran’s win fifth Croke Cup title in six years
Late blitz turns schools final on its head as Kilkenny school’s dominance continues
St Kieran’s won the Dr Croke Cup final on Saturday. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
St Kieran’s Kilkenny put in a storming closing 10 minutes to rescue victory from the jaws of defeat in the All-Ireland Post Primary Schools senior A hurling final in Bord na Mona O’Connor Park on Saturday.
Ahead by 1-10 to 0-11 with 10 minutes left, Presentation College, Athenry were in touching distance of a historic win with Mark Kennedy’s excellent 38th minute goal putting them in control. However, just when it looked like they had done enough to edge across the finish line, St Kieran’s rallied powerfully.
David Blanchfield’s point was followed by a scrambled kicked goal on 52 minutes from substitute Conor Kelly. Killian Egan and Blanchfield again added quick fire points as St Kieran’s went four points up, almost in the blink of an eye and held on for the win.
The first half never truly ignited but still made for compelling viewing. With the wind at their back, St Kieran’s impressed but the score board dind’t reflect their superiority. The Kilkenny school were wasteful, chalking up seven first half wides compared to just two from their Galway opponents.
Presentation College led by 0-2 to 0-0 after five minutes but St Kieran’s were 0-3 to 0-2 up after 18 minutes and were very unlucky when Eoin Cody’s great shot at goal rebounded off the post. In the remaining minutes of the half, Presentation College outscored their opponents by five points to four and were in a strong position at the break.
As it was, there was nothing separating the sides as they went in tied at the break, 0-7 each. The lead had exchanged hands on five occasions in the first half and was never bigger than a point. Athenry were the first to kick on after the interval, but it was St Kieran’s who finished strongest and decisively so.
In what was a re-run of last year’s final, St Kieran’s late blitz secured the same outcome for the famous hurling academy. Back to back Dr Croke Cup titles, and a fifth senior national title in the past six years.
ST KIERAN’S COLLEGE, KILKENNY: D Mason; D O’Keeffe, P O’Neill, J Young; D Corcoran, C Murphy, K Egan (0-2); M O’Connell (0-1), D Blanchfield (0-2); C Brennan (0-1), E Cody (0-8, 0-6 frees), A Brennan (0-1); D Maher, C Hoban, C Kenny. Subs: C Kelly (1-0) for Hoban (47 mins), D Fwamba for O’Connell (51’), J Brennan for Murphy (58’).
PRESENTATION COLLEGES, ATHENRY: P Rabbitte; C Brennan, E Lawless, J Reilly; O Salmon, S Quirke, D Parr; I McGlynn, B Lee; S Burke, G Lee (0-1), TJ Brennan (0-2); M Kennedy (1-8, 0-5 free), A Clarke (0-1), A Brett. Subs: J Joyce for B Lee (54 mins), L Leen for G Lee (56’).
Referee - J Murphy (Limerick).