Top Oil Leinster P.P. Schools’ SH ‘A’ Final: Dublin North 1-14 St Kieran’s College 1-11
Dublin North dominated the last 15 minutes against St Kieran’s College at Netwatch Cullen Park yesterday to win a first ever Top Oil Leinster P.P. Schools’ SH ‘A’ title.
Five points without reply between the 49th and 60th minutes transformed a two point deficit into a three point winning margin for the combination side from north of the Liffey.
Reliable fee-taker Micheal Murphy hit over three of his seven frees during this dominant spell, with Billy Ryan and man-of-the-match Sean Currie also contributing from play.
St Kieran’s College seemed to finally be living up to their favourite’s tag when star forward Adrian Mullen edged them ahead with a skilfully-dispatched goal in the 38th minute. But they couldn’t build on that boost and ultimately failed in their four-in-a-row bid. However, they still advance to the All-Ireland quarter-finals against the side that loses the Connacht final on Saturday, whereas ‘Group Teams’ do not participate in the All-Ireland series.
Aside from Mullen’s 1-2, St Kieran’s were over-reliant on free-taker Eoin Cody for scores, even if his haul of 0-8 ensured they stayed in touch throughout.
With players from several schools and clubs on their starting 15, Dublin North capitalised on their only goal chance in the opening half when Sean Currie latched onto a long delivery and fired an unstoppable shot to the St Kieran’s net after 20 minutes.
Before that decisive strike, the only highlights of a tentative opening quarter from the perspective of the combination team were a couple of superb points from acute angles by corner forward Cian Derwin.
And despite the influence of Lee Gannon and Kevin Burke on the half back line for Dublin North, St Kieran’s briefly led by 0-4 to 0-2 thanks to a point from Mullen and three dead ball strikes from Cody.
Mullen, who was seeking his fourth medal at this grade, chipped in with a second point after they conceded the goal, but two wonderful points by star forward Currie and another free by midfielder Murphy gave Dublin North five points breathing space approaching the interval.
A sluggish St Kieran’s side struggled to cope with Dublin North’s more expansive passing game, but Cody (free) and captain Daithi Barron reduced their deficit to three points (1-7 to 0-7) in first half injury-time.
Early in the second half, Eoin Cody floated over two more frees to reduce St Kieran’s deficit and when Mullen then fired home, it appeared as if the Kilkenny school would surge clear to claim a 56th title.
But Dublin North didn’t panic and after equalising with eight minutes remaining, they confidently held their opponents at bay and finished strongly to claim a famous and fully-deserved victory.
SCORERS – Dublin North: M Murphy (7f) 0-7; S Currie 1-3; C Derwin 0-2; B Ryan, C Berigan 0-1 each. Dublin North: E Cody (7f, 1 ’65) 0-8; A Mullen 1-2; D Barron 0-1.
DUBLIN NORTH: J Rooney; J Fagan, A Dunphy, T Kinnane; D Phelan, K Burke, L Gannon; M Murphy, S Foran; S Clerkin, B Ryan, C Scully; C Berigan, S Currie, C Derwin. Subs: E O’Donnell for Scully (HT), L Dunne for S Clerkin (HT), Clerkin for Dunne (47), S Farrelly for Foran (54).
ST KIERAN’S COLLEGE: D Mason; T Ronan, C Murphy, M Nolan; D Phelan, J Roberts, L Murphy; K Egan, E O’Shea; I Walsh, J Young, A Mullen; D Barron, D O’Carroll, E Cody. Subs: C Brennan for Young (34), E Moylan for O’Shea (41), G Murphy for O’Carroll (41), D Blanchfield for Egan (54), J Nolan for Murphy (58).
REF – D Hughes (Carlow).