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Kilkenny school St Kieran's have won their 20th All-Ireland title

Croke Cup final disappointment for Thurles CBS.

St Kieran's captain Sean Morrissey lifts the Croke Cup.
St Kieran's captain Sean Morrissey lifts the Croke Cup.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Masita GAA All-Ireland Post-Primary Schools Croke Cup final

St Kieran’s College (Kilkenny) 1-15
Thurles CBS (Tipperary) 1-12

Jackie Cahill reports from Semple Stadium

ST KIERAN’S are Croke Cup champions for a 20th time.

The Kilkenny city-based college retained their Masita All-Ireland Post-Primary schools ‘A’ Hurling title at Semple Stadium this afternoon, seeing off a dogged Thurles CBS by three points.

Thurles were within a point of St Kieran’s early in the second half but the winners had that little bit of extra craft required to get the job done.

A 1-5 haul from Ray Lahart proved crucial for St Kieran’s and it was Lahart who grabbed the crucial goal for the champions in the 18th minute, four minutes after Michael Connors had netted for Thurles.

Billy Ryan collected three points while Richie Leahy and Seán Morrissey hit two each for St Kieran’s, and although they hit some bad wides in the second-half, including three missed frees from Lahart, there was always a sense that Liam Smith’s charges could keep Thurles at arm’s length.

Connors finished with 1-2 for Thurles and Niall Heffernan hit five points, including four frees, but the Harty Cup winners were always playing catch-up after Lahart’s goal.

Tommy Walsh with Niall Heffernan Niall Heffernan of Thurles CBS and Tommy Walsh of St Kieran's in action. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Right from the start, St Kieran’s looked sharper and they were 0-4 to 0-1 up before a flat Thurles were handed a boost.

Ronan Heffernan’s long ball in around the St Kieran’s goalmouth wasn’t dealt with by goalkeeper Adrian Mullen and Connors was on hand to find the net from 12 metres.

Niall Heffernan (free) and Leahy traded points before Lahart’s killer goal, superbly created by Billy Ryan, handed St Kieran’s the initiative.

Their biggest lead of the half was five points – 1-9 to 1-4 – but a run of three unanswered points had Thurles back in contention, following their best spell of the first half.

Christopher McCullagh dejected A dejected Christopher McCullagh of Thurles CBS. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Lahart popped over a free in first-half stoppage time to hand St Kieran’s a three-point interval lead, 1-10 to 1-7, which was eaten into when Jack Skehan and Niall Heffernan (free), registered for Thurles after the break.

But St Kieran’s kicked on again with four unanswered points, including two from Lahart placed-balls.

Scores from Kevin Duggan and Connors provided 2009 Croke Cup winners Thurles with some hope of a revival, but after Heffernan missed a crucial free with five minutes left, Seán Morrissey popped over a final point for St Kieran’s.

Robbie Long whipped a vicious effort over the crossbar in stoppage time but St Kieran’s held out to cement their status as post primary schools specialists.

The Kieran's team celebrate with the cup Celebration time for St Kieran's College. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Scorers for St Kieran’s: R Lahart 1-5 (0-4f, 0-1 65), Billy Ryan 0-3, Richie Leahy & Seán Morrissey 0-2 each, Jason Byrne, Liam Blanchfield & Tadhg O’Dwyer 0-1 each.

Scorers for Thurles CBS: Michael Connors 1-2, Niall Heffernan 0-5 (4f), Jack Skehan, Ronan Heffernan, Billy McCarthy, Kevin Duggan & Robbie Long 0-1 each.

St Kieran’s:

1. Adrian Mullen (Ballyhale Shamrocks)

2. Michael Cody (Dunnamaggin)
3. Tommy Walsh (Tullaroan)
5. Jack Keoghan (Tullaroan)

4. Jonathan Barron (Thomastown)
6. Jason Cleere (Bennettsbridge)
7. Eoin Walsh (Lisdowney)

8. Jason Byrne (Clara)
9. Richie Leahy (Rower-Inistioge)

11. Seán Morrissey (Bennettsbridge)
10. Liam Blanchfield (Bennettsbridge)
12. Joe Connolly (Clara)

13. Ray Lahart (James Stephens)
14. Billy Ryan (Graigue-Ballycallan)
15. Tadhg O’Dwyer (James Stephens)

Subs:

17. Eamonn Egan (Graigue-Ballycallan) for Barron (47)
22. Niall Walsh (Windgap) for Connolly (48)
21. Eoghan Kearney (Dunnamaggin) for T Walsh (inj, 57)
18. Martin Keoghan (Tullaroan) for E Walsh (60+2)

Thurles CBS:

1. William Tierney (Thurles Sarsfields)

4. Jack Derby (Thurles Sarsfields)
3. Enda Heffernan (Clonoulty-Rossmore)
2. Dillion Quirke (Clonoulty-Rossmore)

7. Tom Hayes (Moycarkey-Borris)
6. Jack Skehan (Holycross-Ballycahill)
5. Christopher McCullagh (Moycarkey-Borris)

8. Ronan Heffernan (Clonoulty-Rossmore)
9. Cathal Moloney (Thurles Sarsfields)

10. Billy McCarthy (Thurles Sarsfields)
11. Kevin Duggan (Galmoy)
12. Niall Heffernan (Moycarkey-Borris)

14. Michael Connors (Drom & Inch)
15. Robbie Long (Drom & Inch)
14. Ronan Teehan (Gortnahoe-Glengoole, capt.)

Subs:

17. Paul Kennedy (Drom & Inch) for Moloney (39)
24. Brendan Kelly (Rathdowney-Erril) for Duggan (59)
18. Jack Butler (Upperchurch-Drombane) for R Heffernan (60+4)

Referee: John Keenan (Wicklow).

This article was first published on 4 April at 19.12pm

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About the author:

Jackie Cahill

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