There’s a feeling on the ground that the Croke Cup should just take up permanent residence on the College Road in Kilkenny as St. Kieran’s College secured their 21st Post-Primary Schools Senior Hurling Championship against Ardscoil Ris of Limerick in Semple Stadium on Easter Monday.
In a delayed started due to extra time in the B final, the sides got underway around 4.25pm
As All-Ireland finals go, it wasn’t exactly end-to-end nail-biting hurling, but it showed St. Kieran’s College up as a razor-sharp collection of young hurlers deserving of yet another All-Ireland success.
The Kilkenny students opened the scoring and traded points with their Limerick counterparts until the 20 minute mark with the sides level at six points apiece, Ardscoil Ris holding a brief two point lead in the early exchanges. A moment of magic from young Ballyhale Shamrocks man Joey Cuddihy produced a three-point cushion as he found the back of the net for his side’s first and only goal of the day on 21 minutes to take the College to 1-6 against 0-6 for Ardscoil Ris.
With scoring opportunities limited in the final ten minutes, St. Kieran’s went into the break with a relatively comfortable 1-8 to 0-7 lead, Joey Cuddihy’s 21st minute goal providing a little daylight between the sides.
Michael Walsh made the suggestion that Ardscoil Ris were given the hairdryer treatment at half time as they took to the pitch after the break looking like a new side. The early challenges proved fruitful too with and in front of the 3,328 in the crowd the Limerick men roared to life with a goal inside the first minute of the restart through Paraic O’Loughlin. The goal, unfortunately for Ardscoil Ris, wouldn’t prove the sought-after catalyst to kick the game into life as Kieran’s reeled off four unanswered point in quick succession and were left chasing the game from there out.
With a minute left to play in normal time, it was back to a one-point game but it was a lead St. Kieran’s never looked like surrendering, themselves tacking on an extra point to wind out the game at 1-15 to 1-13 with young Joey Cuddihy picking up man of the match for his efforts (1-3).