Offaly Schools Corn Uí Dhúill Champions
Corn Uí Dhúill Senior Hurling Championship Final
Offaly Schools 1-16
St Kierans College 1-14
By Robert Cribbin
Offaly Schools were crowned Leinster Senior A Colleges Hurling champions for the first time ever after running out two point winners over Kilkenny powerhouse St Kierans in UPMC Nowlan Park.
The Combined Faithful outfit were compromising of six different schools and had eight starters from last year’s All-Ireland Minor Hurling Championship defeat against Tipperary and that strength in depth eventually told in what was a tightly fought encounter all the way through.
It’s a huge result for Offaly Hurling and they’ll hope this proves to be a springboard to county success over the next few years.
Offaly Schools had the best player on the pitch in Adam Screeney and the diminutive inside forward caused the Kierans defence untold damage as he scored 1-8 with 1-3 from play.
Screeney’s second half goal proved critical on the end result as he took advantage of a misdirected Stephen Manogue puckout to fire a shot into the bottom corner.
The goal allowed Offaly Schools open up a four point lead but Kierans finished strongly with points from Aaron McEvoy, Padraig Naddy and Rory Glynn setting up a grandstand finish.
In the end though Kierans left themselves too much to do as the absence of the injured Harry Shine and Ben Whitty really told.
Kierans did race out of the traps and they almost goaled within a minute of the start after the dangerous Ted Dunne flicked a shot off the crossbar.
Shane Rigney then opened the scoring for Offaly Schools but it was a lead that didn’t last long after Ted Dunne shook off a couple of challenges to score the game’s opening goal in the 5th minute.
Screeney then added a pair of scores to level up matters at 1-0 to 0-3 before the winners knocked over two more points to open up a deserved lead.
Dunne was proving a real handful at full forward for Kierans and he scored his own and his school’s first point in the 20th minute.
Dan Bourke added to the Offaly Schools tally but Kierans still led by the half-time interval when Aaron McEvoy, Anthony Ireland Wall and Ed McDermott all pointed to give the home side a 1-5 to 0-7 lead.
McEvoy then made it a two point game at the start of the second half before Offaly Schools went up a few gears in racking off four points on the spin with Screeney getting all of them with three from frees and one from play.
Kierans had goalkeeper Stephen Manogue to thank for only trailing by two at that stage after he expertly denied Daniel Hand on the back of a flowing Offaly Schools move up the field.
Both sides then swapped points with Dunne and McEvoy scoring for Kierans on the back of Offaly efforts courtesy of Dan Bourke and Dan Ravenhill.
The turning point of the game then arrived inside the final 10 minutes as Screeney controlled a Stephen Manogue puckout with his hurl and despite still having a lot to do, the talented youngster buried a shot to the net.
Kierans rallied with a flurry of late scores but they couldn’t quite get level as Offaly Schools saw out the two point victory with sub Eoin Burke getting the match sealing score.
The provincial success is the end of the road for the combined Offaly Schools outfit but for Kierans their season is far from over as they face the Connacht finalists in the All-Ireland Quarter-Final in a fortnight’s time.
Offaly Schools- Adam Screeney (1-8, five frees), Dan Bourke (0-3), Dan Ravenhill (0-1, one free), Conor Doyle, Shane Rigney, Daniel Hand, Eoin Burke (0-1 each)
St Kierans College- Aaron McEvoy (0-8, six frees and two 65’s), Ted Dunne (1-2), Ed McDermott, Anthony Ireland Wall, Padraig Naddy, Rory Glynn (0-1 each)
Offaly Schools– Kieran Coonan; Patrick Taaffe, James Mahon, Ruairi Kelly; Barry Egan, Brecon Kavanagh, Ben Miller; Leigh Kavanagh, Dan Ravenhill; Shane Rigney, Conor Doyle, Dan Bourke; Alex Kavanagh, Daniel Hand, Adam Screeney.
Subs- Ciaran Daly for A.Kavanagh (h-t), Ter Guinan for Hand (45 mins), Eoin Burke for Guinan (55 mins).
St Kierans College- Stephen Manogue; Killian Corcoran, Bobby Murphy, Tim Kelly; Bill Hughes, Jeff Neary, Padraig Naddy; Killian Doyle, Aaron McEvoy; Anthony Ireland Wall, Sean Hunt, Ed McDermott; Donagh Murphy, Ted Dunne, Niall Shortall.
Subs- Rory Glynn for Ireland Wall (44 mins), Tomas Roche for Hunt (54 mins), Cathal Hickey for Hughes (61 mins).
Referee- Jamie McDonald (Laois)