Mary's march on thanks to Doyle double
St. Mary's C.B.S. booked a Rest of Leinster Senior hurling 'B' championship final place alongside Coláiste Mhuire from Johnstown with a strong performance in a classy win over Banagher College in Dunmore, Kilkenny, on Tuesday.
St. Mary's CBS 2-12 Banagher College 1-10
The Enniscorthy school were indebted to a pair of contrasting Diarmuid Doyle goals as they overcame an unfavourable wide count of 13-3 to win through. In truth, a little bit of luck can make all the difference and maybe the hurling gods were shining on St. Mary's in this clash.
A powerful breeze, which aided Enniscorthy in building a 1-6 to 1-3 lead in the first-half, dropped quickly after the wintry rain stopped at half-time.
On top of that, just as Banagher started a fightback in the final quarter, the excellent Oisín Kelly cracked a shot that thumped against the crossbar when a goal would have got his side within a score with their tails up.
But you also make your own luck and the battling, unrelenting performance from all those on the field gained the rewards that Enniscorthy deserved. They started brightly with the breeze and led by 0-3 to 0-1 courtesy of points by Ryan Murray, Connal Flood and Murtha Doyle.
Banagher, not suffering from the profligacy of their opponents, levelled at the end of the opening quarter but St. Mary's looked to be cruising when a pair from Seamus Casey and a Flood point gave their side a double scores advantage (0-6 to 0-3).
Oisín Kelly drilled his side into a great position with a goal from a powerful 20-metre free, but moments later Flood's long ball hit Diarmuid Doyle in his stride, and he beat his marker and smacked an unstoppable shot to the top-right corner of Graham Daly's net.
From 1-6 to 1-3 behind at the interval, Banagher chipped away but still trailed by 1-8 to 1-6 after 42 minutes. Points from Diarmuid Doyle and Cathal Walsh did double that lead before the big moment of the second-half seemed to send Enniscorthy into a winning position.
Mike Kelly's point attempt that dropped short looked like another missed opportunity for St. Mary's until Daly scuffed his clearance straight to Diarmuid Doyle who was never going to miss with the goal at his mercy.
Damien Reck's second free put St. Mary's into a game-high eight-point lead (2-11 to 1-6), but there was still a sting in the Banagher tail. The Offaly school scored the next four points and went close to vital goals on a few occasions - including Kelly's piledriver.
However, Casey settled the nerves with a pinpoint free after he was fouled on the left wing to give Enniscorthy a five-point victory and a place in the 'Rest of Leinster' final.
St. Mary's: Luke Redmond; Seán Murphy, Ronan Gahan, Conor Scallan; Mike Kelly, Damien Reck (capt., 0-2 frees), Cathal Kenny; Cathal Walsh (0-1), Connal Flood (0-2, 1 '65); Ryan Murray (0-1), Pa Cullen, Diarmuid Fenlon; Diarmuid Doyle (2-1), Murtha Doyle (0-2), Seamus Casey (0-3, 2 frees). Subs. - Eoin Murphy for Fenlon (52), David Kehoe for Reck, inj. (60+2), also Killian Gahan, Joe Foley, Jack Mythen, Páuric Walsh, Dylan Ring, Jack Reck, Brian Ormonde, Brandon O'Connor.
Banagher: Graham Daly; Conor Dolan, Caolan Kelly, Ronan Butler; Andy Flynn, Fergal Hanamy, Brendan Madden; Darragh Tierney, Kevin Larkin; Cormac Mahon, Eoin Woods (0-7, 4 frees, 1 '65), Eimhin Kelly; Lee McDermott, Oisín Kelly (capt., 1-2, 1-0 free), Aaron Kenny. Subs. - Graham Mullery for McDermott (32), Luke O'Connor (0-1) for Mahon (42), Ray Nolan for E. Kelly (56).
Referee: Brochan O'Reilly (Laois).