Connolly inspires New Ross C.B.S.
Inspired by the superb play of centre-forward Niall Connolly, New Ross C.B.S. burst past Kilkenny Schools to take the Top Oil Post Primary Schools Juvenile hurling C1 title in Eire Og, Carlow.
New Ross C.B.S. 4-8 Kilkenny Schools 4-2
The County Wexford school were in no way flattered by the scoreline, and in fact with a bit more luck the game wouldn't have even been in the balance in the final few minutes.
All over the field C.B.S. had great performers. The back seven conceded just six scores all game, the midfield were energetic and constantly fed Connolly with quality possession, and those around the talented forward chipped in with scores and assists.
New Ross had just 16 fit and available players but defied the disadvantage of numbers by putting in a committed and energetic display. They started brightly too, with Conor Morrissey and Connolly picking off classy points.
Just seconds after Pierce Blanchfield crashed a shot off the crossbar, Ryan Gardiner saved Tony Delaney's shot, only for Greg Hoban to force the rebound home. However, New Ross ended the first quarter level after Connolly pointed.
Things got better for C.B.S. with two goals in less than a minute. The first came when Morrissey's long ball deflected off Patrick Richardson into Denis Kilbride's path.
The Rower-Inistioge forward drilled a low shot that sprung up off the ground and into the net off the inside of the post.
Connolly was the creator of the second, driving at the Kilkenny goal and crashing a shot off the back of his own team-mate.
The sliothar fell perfectly for Tom Connors and he pulled to Cian Murphy's net (2-3 to 1-0).
An exchange of points followed but Kilkenny got back into the game at the break, with goals from Alan Harney and Blanchfield tying the game at 2-4 to 3-1 at half-time.
New Ross started the second-half with a Connolly goal and point - the major from a classy finish after a slalom run from deep.
Hoban scrambled home his second goal to again cut the gap to one (3-5 to 4-1), but back came New Ross with a classy Connolly point.
When the star man saw his shot saved by Murphy with nine minutes left, Richardson followed in to pull to the net.
A pair of Connolly points left six in the game heading into the last few minutes, and Kilkenny Schools couldn't find a way back as New Ross C.B.S. held on to take the title.
New Ross C.B.S.: Ryan Gardiner; Conor Ryan, Dean Roberts, Cian Doyle-Maher; Danny Doyle-Nolan, Ryan Morris, Darragh McDonald; Adam Fenlon, Conor Morrissey (0-2); Matt Rossiter, Niall Connolly (1-6), Denis Kilbride (1-0); Patrick Richardson (1-0), Sam Dunne, Tom Connors (1-0). Sub. - Shane Byrne for Connors (50).
Kilkenny Schools: Cian Murphy; Jason McGrath, Aaron O'Neill, Jack Ryan; Dylan Cahill, Joseph O'Neill, Liam Cahill; Conor Lyons, Tadhg O'Brien (0-1); Oran Canning, Pierce Blanchfield (1-1, 0-1 free), Ryan Carroll; Greg Hoban (2-0), Tony Delaney, Alan Harney (1-0). Sub. - David Doherty for Canning (37).
Referee: Pat Moran (Laois).