PLENTY to talk about on Liveline. Joe Duffy's old school, St Lorcan's, Palmerstown, tasted gold in yesterday's Allianz Cumann na mBunscol Football finals at a wintry Croke Park.
The Irish and Stoke City midfielder, Glenn Whelan, is also a past pupil, and Lorcan's have a modern-day superstar in Evan Walshe who contributed generously in the victory over Scoil Mobhi, who are coached by legendary Waterford footballer Catríona Casey, in the Sciath Chumann na nGael.
The occasion also saw the coronation of the Kilternan Kings ... and Queens. Gaelscoil Thaobh na Coille's double proved a real family occasion. Among their mentors were the former Primary Schools supremo, Maoilíosa ó Dubhthaigh, and his sister, Máirín, who had a son, Cian, and a daughter, Róisín, on the respective teams.
Cian scored a fab four goals as the boys beat Our Lady's, Ballinteer, who had outstanding performers in David Clarke and Conor Browne, while the Kilternan girls' captain, Ciara Ní Dhonaile hit 3-4 against Scoil Mhuire, who had the former Leitrim Lion and Dub, Declan Darcy, giving them a hand.
The Stars from the Sea were in blistering form as they collected the Clann na nGael prize. Rohan van den Akker, Shane Boyne and Rory O'Kennedy especially impressed, as did Scoil Oilibheir's Cilllian ó hAodha, Cóilín ó Maitiú and Pádraig Mac Giolla Iasachta.
Scoil Oilibheir had better fortune in a thrilling Irish Rubies final against the magnificent Mhearnog. Fiona Ní Churrain made the decisive impact.
St Mark's and St Attracta's also treated the audience to a classic. Eoin Doyle proved a Captain Fantastic and the brilliant Paul O'Donnell struck the winning point as the tie headed for extra-time. Max Colgan and Eoghan Hennessey were among the cultured Cabra Colts.
Helen's of Portmarnock were also impressive in their 2-9 to 1-5 triumph over Scoil Peter & Paul of Baldoyle in the Corn Chumann na nGael decider. Baldoyle had kept the pace with their opponents for much of the contest, but majors from Ben Gaynor and Mark Devereux were enough to see Helen's through.
The school's female line-up replicated their success later on in the day, when they overcame St Paul's of Ayrfield by the narrowest of margins in the Sciath Chomhar Linn. Inter-county star Ciara O'Neill had been effective for Paul's with six points over the course of the tie, but the combined midfield force of Ciara Holland and Rebecca Cooke secured a narrow triumph (2-8 to 2-7) for the Portmarnock girls.
At the Davin End, Scoil Fhursa Cromcastle were involved in an intriguing battle with St Mary's Saggart in the Sciath An Cheid, with the 1-6 contribution from half-forward Nathan Burke (including a goal seven minutes from time) proving crucial in swinging the tie in Scoil Fhursa's favour.
In spite of a brace of very gallant displays, St Mary's Garristown ultimately came off second best in their two showpiece outings. They did register a considerable 1-13 tally in the Corn Irish Rubies against Holy Family River Valley, but a brace of goals for the latter from both Emma Campbell and Louis O'Shea left them with four points to spare (5-5 to 1-13).
They were also competing in the final game of the day, the Corn ó Donnchú, and though they once again had some fine performers (Marc O'Connell and Sean Gormley being amongst them), an outstanding 0-10 haul from skipper Kevin ó hEallaithe meant the silverware was going in the direction of Bhrian Boroimhe.
In the Corn Chomhar Linn showdown, Corpus Christi (from the Home Farm Road) had effective free-takers in Aoife Malone, Siobhan Casserly and Emma Conaty, but they fell short against a disciplined St Patrick's Hollypark, for whom corner-forward Keziah Higgins scored the only goal of the game after 14 minutes.