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Kilkenny's St Kieran's lift Croke Cup title as Limerick's Ardscoil fall just short again

A two-point win for St Kieran’s in Thurles today.

St Kieran’s (Kilkenny) 1-15
Ardscoil Rís (Limerick) 1-13

Fintan O’Toole reports from Semple Stadium

ST KIERAN’S CONTROL of the Croke Cup continues as they completed three-in-a-row this afternoon in Semple Stadium and ensured more final heartbreak for Limerick’s Ardscoil Rís.

Darragh Mullen and Peter Casey Action from today's Croke Cup final in Thurles Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Victory ensured a 21st crown for St Kieran’s at the elite level of All-Ireland schools hurling with man-of-the-match Joe Cuddihy and Adrian Mullen the key men in attack that sealed the success.

It was another disappointing occasion for Ardscoil Rís as their wait for a first title at this level goes on. This result marked their third final defeat in seven years and St Kieran’s have been the victors on all three occasions.

Ardscoil Rís made the early running to be ahead 0-6 to 0-4 at the end of the opening quarter with Paul O’Brien’s freetaking superb while Paraic O’Loughlin and Brian Ryan also clipped over sublime points from play.

But St Kieran’s quickly drew level with Adrian Mullen to the fore and it was 0-6 apiece by the 19th minute. Then the Kilkenny outfit pounced for a crucial goal when Cuddihy whipped to the net in the 22nd minute.

St Kieran’s were 1-8 to 0-7 clear at the interval yet Ardscoil Rís received a huge boost early in the second-half when O’Loughlin raised a green flag from close-range after Nathan Fox’s long delivery broke into his path.

But that was not the impetus for Ardscoil Rís to push on and instead St Kieran’s took over. Colum Prendiville raised a white flag and Cuddihy emerged as the focal point of their attack as he picked off three points in a row.

It was 1-12 to 1-7 in favour of St Kieran’s before Ardscoil mounted a strong rally in the last quarter. Conor Houlihan was excellent at wing-back while Brian Ryan also showed up well at midfield.

Conor Boylan, O’Brien, O’Loughlin and Darragh Cunningham all knocked over points with Edward Moylan’s score the only St Kieran’s reply. Thus the margin was down to two, 1-13 to 1-11 with eight minutes remaining.

However Ardscoil Rís found St Kieran’s defence difficult to break down. All-Ireland senior club winning forward Peter Casey was well-marshalled throughout with St Kieran’s full-back Tommy Walsh expertly leading their rearguard.

Mullen pushed St Kieran’s three clear before O’Brien landed a pair of frees to cut the gap to one. But they could not draw level and Joe Connolly landed the insurance point to seal glory for St Kieran’s.

Scorers for St Kieran’s: Joe Cuddihy 1-3, Adrian Mullen 0-5 (0-3f), Edmond Delaney, Joe Connolly 0-2 each, Martin Keoghan, Edward Moylan, Colum Prendiville 0-1 each.

Scorers for Ardscoil Rís: Paul O’Brien 0-7 (0-7f), Paraic O’Loughlin 1-2, Conor Boylan 0-2, Brian Ryan, Darragh Cunningham 0-1 each.

St Kieran’s

1. Darragh Phelan (Emeralds)

2. Conor Byrne (James Stephens)
3. Tommy Walsh (Tullaroan)
4. Evan Carroll (Dicksboro)

5. Michael Cody (Dunnamaggin)
6. Darren Mullen (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
7. Matt Kenny (Clara)

8. Martin Keoghan (Tullaroan)
9. Edmond Delaney (Conahy Shamrocks)

10. Joe Connolly (Clara)
11. Colum Prendiville (Graigue-Ballycallan)
12. Adrian Mullen (Ballyhale Shamrocks)

13. Seán Carey (Young Irelands)
14. Joe Cuddihy (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
15. Edward Moylan (Dicksboro)

Subs
19. Aidan Nolan (Dicksboro) for Kenny (inj) (39)
24. Geoff Brennan (Young Irelands) for Carey (59)
17. Niall Delaney (James Stephens) for Byrne (61)

Ardscoil Rís

1. Sean Mullane (Mungret)

2. Sean Hogan (Adare)
3. Sean Phelan (Broadford)
4. Ronan Connolly (Adare)

5. Jerome Boylan (Na Piarsaigh)
6. Nathan Fox (Parteen)
7. Conor Houlihan (Na Piarsaigh)

8. Brian Ryan (South Liberties)
9. John Flynn (Patrickswell)

10. Darragh Carroll (Kilteely/Dromkeen)
11. Peter Casey (Na Piarsaigh)
12. Conor Boylan (Na Piarsaigh)

13. Paraic O’Loughlin (Clonlara)
14. Paul O’Brien (Mungret)
15. David Fitzgerald (Clonlara)

Subs

22. Rory Duff (Mungret) for Fitzgerald (37)
17. Jack Delanhunty (Newport) for Fox (inj) (47)
20. Darragh Cunningham (Cratloe) for Carroll (49)
18. Cian Moriarty (Clonlara) for Duff (55)

Referee: Diarmuid Kirwan (Cork)

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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