Naas relieved to hold on for narrow victory
St Mary's C.B.S. slipped out of the Leinster Post Primary Schools Senior 'B' football championship with a semi-final defeat at the hands of Naas in St. Patrick's Park.
Naas C.B.S. 0-7 St. Mary's C.B.S. 0-6
The Enniscorthy town school put in a tremendous effort in extremely heavy conditions and stopped their opponents scoring in the final 22 minutes. However, they just failed to find the required scores at the other end as a well-drilled visiting team clung to victory.
Naas were first on the board in the second minute when Darragh Merriman floated over a mid-range free, but the hosts responded almost immediately when Ronan Gahan fed Seamus Casey and the Oylegate-Glenbrien man hit the target.
Enniscorthy achieved their only lead when Cathal Walshe converted an eighth-minute dead ball, but the Kildare school responded with their best spell featuring three points in as many minutes.
Ciarán Doyle started the run with a nice effort before Kevin Foley ended a build-up through the middle with a point, and Dallan Gallagher made it 0-4 to 0-2 at the end of the quarter.
Connal Flood went close to a goal for St. Mary's when drilling wide from Patrick Cullen's pass, but his side did pull within a point when Cormac Kehoe lofted one over Luke Mullins' crossbar in the 24th minute.
Niall Murphy's injury-time free gave the travelling side a 0-5 to 0-3 half-time advantage but Naas were dealt a blow right before the interval when star midfielder Conor Kenny was black-carded.
Callum McClintock and Casey exchanged points early in the second-half but, when Kevin Foley added his second point in the 38th minute, Naas had the momentum and a 0-7 to 0-4 lead.
Yet slowly the pattern of the match changed and Enniscorthy dominated territorially. Casey and Dean Doyle both came close to grabbing a vital goal but when no score was forthcoming frustration started to show and the former was sent-off for an off-the-ball incident.
Still, Enniscorthy kept pressing and a pair of late frees from Tim Bowler and Cathal Walshe got them within one heading into added time.
St. Mary's continued to push for the leveller but came up against a determined Naas defence and fell one point short of forcing extra-time.
St. Mary's C.B.S.: Darragh Byrne; Ricky Murphy, Peter Breen, Ryan Murray; Brandon O'Connor, Damien Reck, Ronan Gahan; Tim Bowler (0-1 free), Cathal Walshe (0-2 frees); Nick Doyle, Dylan McVeigh, Connal Flood; Patrick Cullen, Seamus Casey (capt., 0-2), Cormac Kehoe (0-1). Subs. - Dean Doyle for McVeigh (15), Diarmuid Byrne for Cullen (39), James Kelly for Kehoe (39), Darren Fortune for Murphy, inj. (53).
Naas C.B.S.: Luke Mullins; Simon Lacey, Andrew Cregg, Jack Cotter; Darragh Merriman (0-1 free), Caolin Halpin, David Shaw (capt.); Conor Kenny, Kevin Foley (0-2); Darragh Doyle, Callum McClintock (0-1), Dallan Gallagher (0-1); Ciarán Doyle (0-1), Niall Murphy (0-1 free), Pádraig Tuohy. Subs. - Joe Broderick for Cregg, inj. (23), James Burke for Kenny, black card (30+5), David Foley for D. Doyle (51), Eoin Healy for McClintock (60+1).
Referee: David Hickey (Carlow).