Good Counsel College have progressed to the Masita All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Junior Hurling Final having overcome Presentation College, Athenry in an enthralling encounter on a score line of 2-17 to 1-17 on Saturday 15th of November.
The Semi-Final was originally due to be played in Templemore, Tipperary but due to a waterlogged pitch was moved to the University of Limerick. The artificial surface and dry conditions facilitated a fast free-flowing game of extremely high quality.
Good Counsel started slowly in front of their travelling support and found themselves behind early on as Athenry’s full forward line were proving very dangerous, in particular the Clarenbridge duo of Mark Kennedy and Evan Niland. The slow start coupled with some wasteful shooting saw Good Counsel trailing 1-7 to 0-2 after fifteen minutes and needing an excellent save from goal keeper, Jack Byrne-Doyle, to keep them in the game.
This proved a wake-up call for the New Ross boys as they displayed incredible character and no little skill as they fought back to take control of the game. They started to reduce the deficit with some excellent scores as the forwards began to click and the defence got to grips with the Athenry attack.
An excellent individual goal from influential mid-fielder, Thomas O’Connor, inspired a period of play which saw Good Counsel dominate the game and go in level at half time 1-9 to 1-9. It was during this period that Athenry also lost a midfielder to a straight red card for a foul on centre-forward, Mark O’ Neill, as he ran at the heart of the defence.
The teams exchanged scores early in the second half and after ten minutes the score was 1-12 a-piece. It was the Galway side who then took the initiative briefly and moved into a two point lead which was quickly reduced to one as Luke Sinnott pointed a free following some good work from Jimmy Sutton.
The most crucial score of the second half came soon after this as Sinnott won an excellent ball close to the end line, beat his man and finished calmly to the net. The teams again exchanged scores as the game approached the final ten minutes, the pick of the bunch was an excellent point from Good Counsel’s Rory Higgins from out on the wing.
Good Counsel then had corner back, Richard Hennessy, dismissed for a second bookable offence towards the end of the game but they managed to see the game out as Jim Ryan finished the scoring and sent the New Ross school through to the All-Ireland Final where they will face a formidable Middleton C.B.S side next Saturday, November 22nd (Venue TBC).
Scorers: Thomas O’ Connor 1-4, Luke Sinnott 1-3 (0-2f, 0-1’65), Mark O’ Neill 0-3, Jim Ryan 0-3, Sam Wall 0-1, Jimmy Sutton, 0-1, Rory Higgins 0-1, Jack Walsh 0-1.