Mary's march on to decider
St. Mary's C.B.S. 7-12 Mountrath C.S. 2-8
Despite the obvious difference in the final score, this was a strongly-contested match, with St. Mary's only assured of their place in the Leinster Colleges Juvenile (Under-14) 'B' hurling final in the closing minutes.
Mountrath never gave up until the final minutes, still trying to score the vital goals which would have brought them right back into the contest. St. Mary's now meet the winners of the Dublin area in the final tomorrow (Wednesday) in Carlow.
Played in Fenagh on Wednesday, Enniscorthy C.B.S. presented the spectators with a display of skilful, fast hurling, keeping the ball moving and finding each other with inch-perfect passes.
Mountrath likewise were well capable of matching the Slaneysiders, with a number of their forwards quickly catching the eye. It was a physically tough game, with a strong element of intensity on both sides, with neither team willing to admit that the other was in any way superior.
In a high-scoring contest, both sides ended the first quarter on level terms (2-4 each), with a double exchange of points opening the scoring in the first minutes. Two quick goals from St. Mary's Oisín Pepper and Brody Murphy, two of the opportunists in their full-forward line, in addition to a point from Conal Kervick, opened a gap between the sides.
However, an excellent goal from Mountrath's Tadhg Cuddy in the tenth minute brought it back to a four-point game (2-3 to 1-2), with another point from the speedy and skilful midfielder Adam Kirwan closing it even further.
A brace of points from the midlanders' Kirwan and Noah Quinlan, with Oisín Pepper answering for the C.B.S., left the difference between them still at three points, but a well-taken goal by Mountrath's lightning-quick midfielder Adam Kirwan, who soloed through the Enniscorthy defence, levelled the game (2-4 each) at the end of the first quarter.
The C.B.S. proved more adept at foraging for goals and, after a good long-range point from wing-back David Hennebry edged them in front, two goals followed in quick succession.
Both were well-taken, with corner-forward Kervick handpassing to the inrushing Fionn Walsh, who shot to the net for the first one. The second came from a missed clearance by the Mountrath defence, which left the way open for Kervick to take his own goal, a low ground shot which goalie Kavanagh could only parry, deflecting it into the back of the net.
Despite the double blow, Mountrath refused to buckle and attacked in repeated waves, exerting considerable pressure on the Enniscorthy defence.
Centre-forward Noel Quinlan, a dangerman throughout, was unlucky for a goal when his shot ricocheted off the crossbar in the 24th minute. A double exchange of points by both sides brought the half to an end (4-8 to 2-6).
The scoring in the second-half was more one-sided, with luck favouring the boys of Wexford for their opening goal.
A long speculative shot from midfielder Shane Kehoe caught the Mountrath goalie unawares and, with an awkward hop, it went all the way to the net.
Mountrath answered that setback with two points, both of them courtesy of Finian Cuddy, and were unlucky for another one.
Again St. Mary's broke the impasse when Shane Kehoe's shot went over for a minor, but Mountrath continued to exert strong pressure.
Repeated attacks were repulsed by a St. Mary's defence which stood tall during that period, with high catching and long clearances being the order of the day. A goal from Stefan San Augustin was the just reward for his persistence when, surrounded by the Mountrath defence, he refused to give in and with the minimum of space, got in a low, hard shot just outside Ryan Kavanagh's hurl in the Mountrath goal.
Three unanswered points for St. Mary's entering the final quarter from Fionn Walsh, Patrick Redmond and Oisín Pepper stretched their lead further by the 27th minute, and with time ticking away and Mountrath accepting the inevitable defeat, Brody Murphy at full-forward rounded his marker and gave goalie Kavanagh no chance, bringing the final score to 7-12 to 2-8.
St. Mary's C.B.S.: Conor Murphy (Oylegate-Glenbrien); Dara Casey (Oylegate-Glenbrien), Sam O'Brien (Shamrocks), Mathew Kinnaird (Rapparees); Aaron Byrne (Oulart-The Ballagh), Josh Waldron (Crossabeg-Ballymurn), David Hennebry (Ballyhogue, 0-1); Darren Kelly (Monageer-Boolavogue, 0-2, 1 free), Shane Kehoe, (Cloughbawn, 1-1), Fionn Walsh (Monageer-Boolavogue, 1-1), Patrick Redmond (Crossabeg-Ballymurn, 0-2), Stefan San Augustin (Rapparees, 1-1); Oisín Pepper (Rapparees, 1-2), Brody Murphy (Crossabeg-Ballymurn, 2-1), Conal Kervick (Davidstown-Courtnacuddy, 1-1). Subs. - Aidan Denton (Glynn-Barntown), Pierce Redmond (Oulart-The Ballagh), Ronan Kervick (Rapparees), Aaron Wallace (Shamrocks), Ger Kennedy (Oulart-The Ballagh), Jack Kehoe (Rapparees), Mickey McVeigh (Rapparees), Seán Fitzpatrick (Davidstown-Courtnacuddy), Darragh Kehoe (Cloughbawn), Ryan Quigley (Marshalstown-Castledockrell), Cameron Clark (Oylegate-Glenbrien).
Mountrath Community School: Ryan Kavanagh; Seán O'Connor, Daire Tobin, Dylan Collins; Cathal Cuddy, Josh Holmes, Darragh McSpaldon; Adam Kirwan (1-3), Robbie McEvoy; Mossy Keys, Noah Quirke, Finnian Cuddy (0-2); Jamie Gill, William Cuddy, Tadhg Cuddy (1-3).