Niall nets five times for Ross
New Ross C.B.S. 7-8 Duiske College 5-5
Niall Connolly notched an incredible 5-5, including two critical goals in stoppage-time, as New Ross C.B.S. retained their Top Oil Leinster Post-Primary Schools Junior hurling 'C1' championship title in MW Hire, Dunmore, on Monday of last week.
Duiske College from Graiguenamanagh looked to be on their way to a stunning victory when Greg Hoban tapped over a 61st-minute lead point, just moments after Oran Canning's cracking goal had brought them level.
It seemed like New Ross were on their way to a painful defeat, trailing by 5-5 to 4-7, in a game they could have had wrapped up. That wasn't counting on a couple of moments of magic at the other end of the field.
Special players know when to play the team game but equally know when they need to stand up and be the hero. Niall Connolly picked just the right moment; he had overlaps as he ran at the Duiske defence, seconds after his side fell behind but he didn't need them.
There was one thing on his mind, and he blitzed past a wrecked defence and forced a powerful shot past Liam Murphy. Less than 60 seconds later he looped around the Duiske rearguard and rattled home a clincher.
With the game won, and status of saviour confirmed, Connolly went back to being the consummate team-mate as he found substitute Lee Kent and the Horeswood clubman flicked past the onrushing Liam Murphy to seal the cup.
Things were only a little less frenetic in the first-half. Dylan Cahill showed his quality early with a fine run that ended in an early Duiske goal, yet Connolly also made his intentions known, finding the postage stamp with a rasper in the sixth minute before flashing home again three minutes later.
Things settled down from 2-0 to 1-0 to New Ross and the sides reasonably evenly shared out seven points in the rest of the half. C.B.S. scored a couple of crackers from Conor Morrissey and Danny Nolan, while Sam Dunne hit the target too.
A 2-4 to 1-3 interval lead for the New Ross boys quickly disappeared. Hoban grabbed a 33rd-minute goal and, seconds after the umpteenth unpunished chop of the day, Jack Dunne fired home to send his side two points up.
It looked a long way back for New Ross when Cahill made it 4-3 to 2-5 at the end of the third quarter, but Eamon Wickham pulled home and Connolly registered a major to put C.B.S. in the driving seat.
That's the way it stayed until Duiske made a break for it in added-time, only for Connolly to play the captain's role with two goals and an assist in less than three minutes as New Ross C.B.S. retained their title.
New Ross C.B.S.: Ryan Gardiner (Geraldine O'Hanrahans); Conor Ryan (Tullogher-Rosbercon), Ryan Morris (Bannow-Ballymitty), Ciarán Doyle-Maher (Rathnure); Dean Roberts (Horeswood), Conor Morrissey (Tullogher-Rosbercon, 0-1), Danny Nolan (Horeswood, 0-1); Adam Fenlon (Geraldine O'Hanrahans), Patrick Richardson (Geraldine O'Hanrahans); Darragh McDonald (Tullogher-Rosbercon), Sam Dunne (Adamstown, 0-1), Matt Rossiter (Rathgarogue-Cushinstown); Eamon Wickham (Rathnure, 1-0), Niall Connolly (Rathgarogue-Cushinstown, 5-5, 0-3 frees), Denis Kilbride (Adamstown). Subs. - Donal Wickham (Rathnure) for Kilbride (58), Lee Kent (Horeswood, 1-0) for Wickham (60+3), also Aaron McManus (Cloughbawn), Owen Brennan (Rathgarogue-Cushinstown), Kyle Murphy (Geraldine O'Hanrahans), Adam Walsh (Geraldine O'Hanrahans), Josh Quinn (Tullogher-Rosbercon), Ryan Bolger (Geraldine O'Hanrahans), Richard Murphy (Cloughbawn), Liam Walsh (Geraldine O'Hanrahans), Shane Cullen (Rathgarogue-Cushinstown).
Duiske College: Liam Murphy; Paul Kielthy, Stephen Foley, Seán O'Neill; Liam Carroll, Joseph O'Neill, Shane Cleary; Ryan Kielthy, Pierce Blanchfield (0-1 free); Oran Canning (1-0), Dylan Cahill (2-2, 0-1 free), Taighe O'Brien (0-1); Greg Hoban (1-1), Jack Dunne (1-0), Ted Dunne. Sub. - Sam O'Brien for S. O'Neill (60+3).
Referee: John McCormack (Carlow).