Brennan to fore as Templemore deny St Kieran's
Our Lady's 3-13 St Kieran's 3-11
Hopes of an historic Croke Cup four-in-a-row for schools hurling behemoth St Kieran's were blown apart at Semple Stadium by some fine goal-taking and unerring Brian McGrath accuracy as Our Lady's of Templemore took the crown.
Behind by four points early in the second half after an unanswered 1-2 from St Kieran's following the interval, the Templemore school roused themselves again and again to answer the Kilkenny lads' every move and end up with their second All-Ireland senior title.
The pacy Ciaran Brennan, scorer of one goal and creator of another for Adrian Mullen, was always a threat for Kieran's but Our Lady's had stars aplenty of their own, with county minor star Brian McGrath notching 1-8, Ray McCormack and Lyndon Fairbrother also scoring goals.
The first half burst into life when a high ball was deflected towards the St Kieran's square by David O'Shea. Brian McGrath found himself one-on-one and then made a move to the left before blasting to the net. McGrath continued to cause problems, adding two more points in the first period.
Kieran's sent plenty of high balls goalwards during the opening half but they were meat and drink to a solid Templemore full-back line, led by Padraig Campion in the middle, until a rare slip was all the lethal Ciaran Brennan needed to get in on goal and shoot to the roof of the net. Our Lady's led by 1-7 to 1-6 as the teams headed for the tunnel. Brennan followed up by scorching the earth on a solo run in the second minute of the second half before laying off to Adrian Mullen who calmly kicked for goal, putting the holders in front for the first time since the 11th minute. But try as they might, St Kieran's couldn't shake off the Templemore challengers and four points in a row sent Our Lady's glory-bound.
Scorers - Our Lady's: B McGrath 1-8 (4f, 2 '65'), L Fairbrother 1-1, R McCormack 1-0, D Ryan, J Kelly, D O'Shea, A O'Meara 0-1 each. St Kieran's: A Mullen 2-2 (1f, 1'65'), C Brennan 1-1, E O'Shea 0-3, D Barron 0-2, E Shefflin, T Drea, D Phelan 0-1 each.
Our Lady's - E Collins; N Quinlan, P Campion, E Ryan; E McBride, P Cadell (c), A O'Meara; D Ryan, S Nolan; R McCormack, B McGrath, J Kelly; A Ormond, D O'Shea, L Fairbrother. Subs: J Ryan for S Nolan (49), S Doyle for D O'Shea (55), F Purcell for A Ormond (61).
St Kieran's - D Mason; T Ronan, M Carey, L Murphy; B Lawlor, M Keoghan, K Egan; T Drea, D Phelan; E Shefflin, E Moylan, E O'Shea; D Barron, C Brennan, A Mullen. Subs: S Ryan for E Shefflin (41), P Mullen for E Moylan (55), R Whelan for B Lawlor (55).
REF - C Lyons (Cork)