Eoin's brave bid halted by holders
St Kieran's 0-15 Coláiste Eoin 1-8
COLAISTE Eoin of Stillorgan made an almighty effort to wrestle the Leinster title from St Kieran's, Kilkenny in this thrilling provincial semi-final at Dr Cullen Park on Sunday.
The lads from the Marble City only pulled away in the final minutes when four unanswered points gave them a place in the final against Kilkenny CBS.
Coláiste Eoin, who had seen off Castlecomer Community School in their quarter-final, dominated the opening 20 minutes.
A point in their first attack from midfielder Jack Ó Faoláin was supplemented by a well-taken goal on five minutes from right half-forward Colm Ó Cróinín, star of the win over Castlecomer.
At that stage Coláiste Eoin deservedly led 1-1 to 0-0. But while they continued to dominate the outfield exchanges, they were unable to build beyond that four-point advantage.
Slowly Kieran's came to terms with their opponents and it proved costly for the challengers to concede frees around the midfield area as Kieran's centre forward Michael Donnelly was deadly accurate from placed balls and pointed three frees from long range to cut the leeway to two points on 22 minutes (1-2 to 0-3).
The Kilkenny forwards then started to find their range with points from Chris Bolger, the dangerous Thomas O'Hanrahan, Jack McGrath and Ciarán Prendergast putting the Croke Cup holders into an 0-7 to 1-2 interval lead.
Just as they had started the first half, Coláiste Eoin were masters for the opening minutes of the second half, scoring three points (two pointed frees from Oisín Ó Ruairc, with a fine effort from play by centre forward Caolán Ó Conbhuí) to put them back in front. Kieran's were hauled level through a lovely point from play by Michael Donnelly (0-8 to 1-5) on 38 minutes.
For the following 17 minutes it was a tremendous battle for supremacy as the sides went score for score. With the sides tied 1-8 to 0-11 with just five minutes remaining, extra time appeared to beckon.
But Kieran's showed their champion qualities in those final minutes knocking over four unanswered points from Thomas O'Hanrahan, substitute Jamie Maher and a brace of Donnelly points from frees. For Coláiste Eoin, their attention now turns to the provincial football semi-final.
Scorers - St Kieran's: M Donnelly 0-8 (f); T O'Hanrahan 0-3; C Bolger, J McGrath, C Prendergast, J Maher 0-1 each. Coláiste Eoin: C Ó Conbhuí 0-3; C Ó Cróinín 1-0; O Ó Ruairc (2f), J Ó Faoláin 0-2 each; C Ó Ceallacháin 0-1.
St Kieran's: N Kehoe; R O'Hanrahan, R Lennon, W Allen; E Geough, E Byrne, A Cleere; P Kenneally, C Wafer; C Bolger, M Donnelly, D Cody; J McGrath, T O'Hanrahan, C Prendergast. Subs: E Morrissey for Byrne (injured, 24); D Burke for McGrath (48); J Maher for Kenneally (55).
Coláiste Eoin: C Mac Gabhann; C Ó Seanéin, R Ó Murchú, C Ó Fearghail; J Clintúin, E Ó Dochartaigh, F Ó Riaian Broin; C Ó Ceallacháin, J Ó Faoláin; C Ó Cróinín, C Ó Conbhuí, C Ó Neill; O Ó Ruairc, D Ó Catháin, F Motherway. Sub: M MacDonnacha for Ó Faoláin (59).
Referee: P O'Dwyer (Carlow).