Good Counsel College came out on top of thrilling contest in Thomastown on Friday 4th as they overcame St. Kieran’s College to win the Leinster Colleges U-14 hurling title and claim the Dr. Barry Cup. In what was a highly competitive game with a fantastic standard of hurling, the skill and determination of the New Ross boys deservedly prevailed on a score line of 3-8 to 2-9.
The opening of the game was characterised by intense tackling and nervousness in front of goal as both sides traded wides, with no score registered in the first fourteen minutes. Good Counsel did survive an early scare however as St. Kieran’s mid-fielder Eddie Delaney’s line ball hit the crossbar before being cleared. The opening score came through Good Counsel’s impressive mid-fielder, Adam Mansfield, as he struck the first of three well-taken points from the left wing after some good work from wing-forward Mikey Dwyer.
St. Kieran’s replied with a point from a free almost immediately through their most impressive performer on the day, Joe Cuddihy, before Mansfield restored Good Counsel’s slender lead with another fine effort on seventeen minutes. The ever-threatening Mikey Dwyer then extended Good Counsel’s lead with a fine point before Cuddihy replied with another pointed free for St. Kieran’s. The next period of the game saw Good Counsel take control, first through a pointed free from corner forward, Ciarán O’ Connor, and then through a vital goal. Full forward James Tobin plucked Ian Carty’s long clearance from the air before firing the ball to the roof of the net, leaving Good Counsel 1-4 to 0-2 in front approaching the break.
The 8 minutes before half time saw St. Kieran’s reel in their opponents with four points on the trot, two from Cuddihy and one a piece from Delaney and full forward Brian Crowdle. The Kilkenny boys finished the half the stronger and went in two points up at the break as Joe Connolly flicked the ball to the net after Good Counsel keeper, Jack Walsh, had excellently saved the first attempt from the Kieran’s corner-forward.
Good Counsel rallied at half time and started the second period impressively registering the opening score, a fine point from Mansfield. Better was to come for the resurgent Good Counsel side as Ciarán O’ Connor sparked into life, scoring two fine goals without reply. The first was a tidy finish after a superb block on the Kieran’s goal-keeper from Adam Winters, while the second was an excellent finish from a tight angle after Mikey Dwyer forced the Kieran’s net-minder into a fine save. Dwyer scored his second point, in between two Cuddihy frees, after a driving run through the heart of the Kieran’s defence, leaving Good Counsel five points clear with fifteen minutes to play.
Cuddihy reduced the deficit to four briefly until Ciarán O’ Connor won possession in the air, turned his marker and knocked over what was arguably the best score of the game. Good Counsel’s other corner-forward, Andy Walsh, was also in on the act driving over a fine free having been fouled in possession out on the right wing. This was to be the Good Counsel boys’ last score which saw them increase the margin over their Kilkenny rivals to six points with five minutes remaining. St Kieran’s managed to pull a goal and a point back as Cuddihy’s low bouncing shot deceived Jack Walsh in the goal and Delaney sent over a fine line ball. This set the game up for a tense finish but Good Counsel’s defence stood strong and snuffed out St. Kieran’s final flurry.
Referee Pat Moran blew the final whistle and sparked wild celebrations from the Good Counsel team and their vocal supporters. Captain, Joe Sutton, raised the Dr. Barry Cup to cap a fantastic day for a Good Counsel College team whose gutsy display and stylish brand of hurling saw them return to New Ross as deserving champions.
Scorers: Good Counsel – Ciarán O’ Connor (2-2, 0-1 frees), Adam Mansfield (0-3), James Tobin (1-0), Mikey Dwyer (0-2), Andy Walsh (0-1 free). St Kieran’s – Joe Cuddihy (1-6, 0-4 frees), Joe Connolly (1-0), Eddie Delaney (0-2, 1 line ball), Brian Crowdle (0-1).
Good Counsel – J. Walsh, Dean Croke, Seán Barden, Shane Doyle, Eoin Higgins, Ian Carty, Darragh Lyons, Joe Sutton, Adam Mansfield, Paul Murphy, Adam Winters, Mikey Dwyer, Andy Walsh, James Tobin, Ciarán O’ Connor.
St. Kieran’s – S. Byrne, E. Carroll, T. Walsh, B. Kirwan, A Nolan, T Murphy, M. Cody, E. Delaney, N. Walsh, N. Hussein, J. Cuddihy, J. Connolly, C. Prenderville, B. Crowdle, J. Carey.
Good Counsel College as per top photograph.
Back row l-r: Declan Wall (Trainer), Conor Crosbie (St. James’), Cian O’ Connor (Cloughbawn), Jack Walsh (Rower- Inistioge), James Tobin (Rathnure), Shane Doyle (Taghmon), Mark O’ Neill (Gusserane), Darragh Lyons (St. James’), Mikey Dwyer (Fethard), Adam Winters (Taghmon), Ian Carty (Taghmon), Adam Mansfield (Mullinavat), Eoin Higgins (Rathnure), Andy Walsh (St. James’), Gavin Connolly (St. Mullins), Martin Fitzharris (Gusserane), Peter Farrell (Rathnure), Ciarán O’ Connor (Rathnure), Páraic Cullen (Trainer), Mick Purcell (Trainer).
Front row l-r: Paul Murphy (Faythe Harriers), Cathal O’ Connor (Rathnure), Dáire McGrath (Tullogher), Seán Barden (Adamstown), Dean Croke (Glenmore), Joe Sutton (Fethard), Emmett Coakley (Graigenamanagh), Jim Ryan (Rower Initoige), Richard Gill (Tullogher), Tadgh Cody (Cushinstown), Sam Wall (Gusserane), Richie Waters (Fethard), Barry Og McGrath (Taghmon), Rory Higgins (Rathnure).