Curran brothers lead Deise to glory
COL’ NA nDEISE 2-14
NENAGH CBS 1-10
A NEW name on the prestigious Dr Harty Cup, which has been the premier Munster colleges senior hurling competition since 1918, and a stunning victory for Waterford -- those were the talking points at the finish of an absorbing final at Cashel yesterday.
The boys from Dungarvan CBS and St Augustine's College, Abbeyside, who combined to play under the 'Colaisti na nDeise Thiar' banner -- to give them their full title -- will never forget this day.
They made history by becoming the first combination side to win the coveted trophy, and atoned for the team's 2004 defeat to St Flannan's of Ennis in their only previous final.
Nenagh CBS were also seeking a first Harty win but this was not to be their breakthrough year as they came up against a side that showed impressive hunger and unrelenting commitment throughout the match.
Ten of the Deise panel had suffered defeat in a Munster 'B' final to Doon last Saturday week and psychologically that could have gone one of two ways -- either demoralisation or a spur to make sure they weren't going to lose two top finals in a row. Thankfully for their followers, the latter proved to be the case.
Nenagh, highly rated after eliminating Thurles CBS and holders Ard Scoil Ris of Limerick, both after replays, were slight pre-match favourites, but that cut no ice with the Waterford boys.
How do you come back from a 15-minute blitz in which you concede two goals and four points? The answer is you don't, not unless your opponents completely take their foot off the accelerator pedal, and the Deise team didn't give Nenagh any opening for a comeback after that scintillating start.
Half-forward Cathal Curran clipped over two frees inside four minutes and midfielder Colm Dunford nicked another from play just prior to Nenagh's scoring hope Jason Forde opening the Tipp school's account with a sixth-minute free.
But the pressure on Nenagh was mounting, as was evident by Deise corner-forward Patrick Curran's delightful dummy and jink past his marker before slipping over the fourth point with almost casual ease in the ninth minute.
Another 60 seconds elapsed before a lovely move involving captain Kieran Power, Dunford, Micheal Harney and Patrick Curran ended with Curran smashing in a goal.
Could it get worse for Nenagh? Yes, certainly, as Cathal Curran, brother of Patrick, proved by cheekily going for goal with a 20-metre free and hitting the net after 13 minutes. The same player then extended the lead to 2-5 to 0-1 with another point from a free two minutes later before Nenagh's Tadgh Gallagher got his side's second point almost immediately afterwards.
It was already obvious that, barring a Lazarus-style resurrection by Nenagh and a complete slump by the Deise, there would be only one winner.
Despite a better second-half performance by Nenagh, the Waterford team kept the scoreboard ticking over just enough to maintain a healthy distance between them.
With the score 2-10 to 0-5 at half-time, Nenagh outscored their opponents 1-5 to 0-4 in the second period, with a last-minute goal by Jason Forde putting a bit of a gloss on the outcome for the Tipp boys.
Cathal Curran never missed a free from a variety of ranges, scoring 1-6 of his 1-9 total from placed balls. Power, who missed the last two games through suspension, was immense, as were all his team-mates who played such fluent, skillful and determined hurling.
Nenagh's Forde, Jack Loughnane, Conor Delaney, and Sean Geaney tried hard, as did their spirited comrades but, on the day, effort and heart were no match for the clinical, powerful prowess of the Deise.
Referee Shane Hourigan of Limerick kept good control on the game, which got a little heated near the end, and he sent off Nenagh's Podge Shanahan on 52 minutes and Evan Collins of Waterford five minutes later, both for a second yellow-card offence.
An emotional Deise selector Darragh Duggan said: "It's unbelievable the effort those lads have put in. Kerry colleges beat us two years ago and we were at the lowest ebb we could be and the boys have just come back. You saw today how much they wanted it."
Nenagh selector Donagh O'Donnell was devastated. "Maybe nerves got to us," he said. "It was a disaster but I'm very proud of them. Despite the way the first half went, they kept plugging away."
SCORERS -- Colaisti na nDeise: Cathal Curran 1-9 (1-6f); P Curran 1-2; Cormac Curran 0-2 (1f); C Dunford 0-1. Nenagh CBS: J Forde 1-4 (4f); T Gallagher 0-3; J Loughnane 0-2 (1 65), P Shanahan 0-1.
COLAISTI NA NDEISE -- E Kearns; K Looby, T Tobin, S O'Donovan; E Collins, T Devine, T Burke; C Dunford, Cormac Curran; Cathal Curran, M Harney, R Donnelly; M Kiely, K Power, P Curran. Subs: E Crotty for Donnelly (58); K Sheehan for Power (58).
NENAGH CBS -- W Power; S Cleary, K Gubbins, D Quinn; E Hynes, J Peters, J Loughnane; T Gallagher, J Flaherty; C Delaney, J Forde, S O'Brien; P Shanahan, P Fogarty, J Mackey. Subs: S Geaney for Mackey (21); K Gleeson for Delaney (42).
REF -- S Hourigan (Limerick)