St Pauls Community College, Waterford 2-11 St Josephs College, Borrisoleigh 1-12
Our senior hurlers came agonisingly close to claiming their first Munster schools title in five years last Friday in Cahir when their battling performance against a very strong St Pauls side came up just short. With both sides missing some key players from their starting lineup it was always going to be a day where grit and determination would be to the fore as neither side produced the high scoring hurling that had brought them both to the final.
The game started in whirlwind fashion with both sides attacking with purpose and whilst the Borris boys were wasteful, St Pauls wasted no time in hitting three points and settled into their rhythm quicker. Indeed, for a few minutes it looked like this might be a one sided affair and the loss of 5 starters from the semi final win might be too much of an obstacle to overcome but slowly they found their feet and tightened up in defence and drove forward from midfield resulting in a number of Robert Delaney points from play and from frees to leave the scores level.
The back line led by Aaron Reid and Seamus O Farrell in the central positions were now dominant in their roles ably assisted by Oran Bergin, Anthony Ryan, Aidan Coffey and Michael Lavery. A succession of attacks were repelled as St Josephs eased in to a two point lead approaching the half and when Tim Mc Cutcheon blasted to the net in the 27th minute it seemed that this would be a decisive score but straight from the puck out St Pauls roared forward and got a goal for themselves, their first score in fifteen minutes and left them not too far out of touch at half time.
The message at half time was clear, to keep up the good work at the back and try and get more scores at the other end and this is how the start of the second half started off with St Josephs trading scores before once again pushing on to a four lead at the midway point with Cathail Ryan, Kevin Maher and lionhearted captain Richard O Donoghue in particular to the fore. This was as good as it got though for Borrisoleigh as St Pauls led by the man of the match Billy Nolan began to make their physical superiority tell and slowly but surely pegged back the deficit and in the 57th minute it was Nolan who hit the crucial score to seal the win blasting to the net.
It was a crushing blow for St Josephs and try as they might they simply had no response as St Pauls shut up shop at the back and the exhaustion from the huge effort was evident for all to see. When the referee sounded the full time whistle, it sparked wild celebrations from the boys in green and despair for the Tipp team and their supporters as the chance of victory which had seemed so close was now gone.
For the 6th year students in particular it was a bitterly disappointing end to not just the season but for most their schools hurling career. Team manager Ray Mc Loughney thanked all the panel for their hard work and dedication throughout the year and hopefully he will enjoy success with the junior team who have their own Munster final to come.
Full Panel: Richard O Donoghue (c), Conor Looby, Tim Mc Cutcheon, Matthew Ryan, Niall Slattery (all Templederry), Jamie Corcoran, Kevin Maher, Dan Ryan, Patrick O Connell, Oran Bergin, John Ryan, Aaron Rabitte, Nicky Cooney, James Kelly, Alvis Danko, Harry Younge, Patric Stapleton, Seamus Ryan (all Borrisoleigh), Seamus O Farrell, Robert Delaney, Cathal Ryan (all Toomevara) Anthony Ryan, Aidan Coffey (JK Brackens) Cathail Ryan (Ballinahinch), Michael Lavery (Upperchurch Drombane)