Harty final really is the blue ribbon day
Pat Ryan takes a look back at St Colmans proud record in the Harty Cup and takes a look ahead to this weekend’s game
Saturday is the biggest day in Munster Colleges competitions with the playing of the long established Harty Cup final. The Harty Cup is named after former GAA Patron Archbishop Dr John Mary Harty who served as Archbishop Cashel and Emly from 1913 to his death in 1946
Over the years St Colmans have been crowned champions on nine occasions: 1948, 1949, 1977, 1992, 1996, 1997, 2001 2002 and 2003. Our Ladys Templemore who have been very prominent in this competition in recent years have just one title back in 1978.
In the Dean Ryan Cup Colmans have also been to the fore front being champions on 12 occasions including this year. They first won that title in 1970, then followed in 1972, 1977, 1979, 1983, 1993, 1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2017.
Our Ladys Templemore were just Dean Ryan champions in 2007. The North Tipperary side were not always in the Harty competition. They competed in the Corn Padraigh, Munster Senior BHC for many years and took the titles of 1968, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975, and 1994.
This years competition was in a large number of small groups. The aim of all Colleges was to get to the last 16 which was knock-out from there. Our Ladys Templemore were in a very small group with just two schools St Flannan's and themselves.
Both were guaranteed a place in the last 16 with the winner of that game being Group winner while the beaten side went forward as Group runner up. Our Ladys Templemore met St Flannan's Ennis in Nenagh. The Templemore lads showed good form in that game leading at half time by 0-10 to 0-3.
They moved 0-18 to 0-6 clear by the end of the third quarter. Andrew Ormonde had their goal and they ran out victors by 1-23 to 1-12. In their next game Our Ladys ran out comprehensive winners over Hamilton High School Bandon in Ballyagran by 6-27 to 0-3.
This game was very one sided as the scoreboard states. Outstanding displays by Brian McGrath, Ray McCormack, Lyndon Fairbrother, Jack Kelly and team captain Paddy Cadell sealed the issue early on. They were 2-13 to 0-1 clear at the break.
The second half was much the same. The winners goals that day came from Ray McCormack (3) Shane Doyle, Gearoid O'Connor and Andrew Ormonde. The North Tipp side were now in the quarter final where they faced a very strong Thurles CBS side.
This game play in the Ragg drew a very large attendance. Templemore led for most of the game and in the end pulled away on a 3 -14 to 2- 10 scoreline. They had two goals in the first half by Ray McCormack and David O'Shea that helped them to an interval lead 2-4 to 0-8.
McCormack struck the net again in the second half. Their defence were awesome on that occasion with Brian McGrath, Paddy Cadell, Jack Kelly, Lyndon Fairbrother and Ray McCormack real leaders. It was onto a semi-final.
Nenagh CBS and the defending champions Ard Scoil Ris finished level with Nenagh coming out on top after extra time. Our Ladys then faced Nenagh CBS in that all Tipperary semi-final in Toomevara before a huge attendance.
This was a close contest but a goal by Andrew Ormonde at the end of the first quarter proved a huge score.
They led 1-7 to 0-8 at half time. It was again nip and tuck in the second half. Late points for Templemore by Stephen Nolan, Lyndon Fairbrother, and Jerry Kelly saw them through to their second Harty final in-a-row.
St Colmans had a great year to date. They won the Dean Ryan Cup title overcoming a very strong Thurles side after a replay. They contested the All Ireland Junior Hurling final losing narrowly to Kilkenny CBS in Clonmel by 2-12 to 1-12.
There are a number of that side that contested the All Ireland Junior final on todays Harty side.
St Colmans were in a group with Midleton CBS. In their first round meeting St Colmans came out on top by 2-15 to 1- 14 in Blackrock. It took a great fightback for the Fermoy side who had great displays by Niall O'Leary and Jamie Sheehan. At half-time Midleton led 1-7 to 1- 6.
Jamie Sheehan had a goal in each half as the Fermoy side were winners of their group by a four point margin. In their first game in the knockout stages St Colmans met St Flannan's in Kilmallock.
This game went to extra time. Brian Roche had a goal for the Fermoy side early on. Diarmuid Linehan struck some good frees as the Fermoy side were 1-8 to 0-8 clear at the break.
St Flannans dominated the third quarter moving 2-14 to 2-11 clear by the 50th minute. St Flannans looked like winners when three points clear entering injury time. A free by Diarmuid Linehan found its way to the net and so they finished level 3-13 to 2- 16.
In extra time Colmans did very well and helped by a late Barry Murphy goal they won by 4-22 to 2-19. Colmans goals that day came from Barry Murphy (2) Diarmuid Linehan and Brian Roche.
In preparation for their quarter-final Colmans had two important games in the Cork Colleges Senior A HC. They defeated Colaiste Treasa in the semi-final in Mallow by 2-14 to 1- 9 and then faced Midleton CBS in the final.
Played in Pairc Uí Rinn this was a thriller with Midleton coming out on top by 0-11 to 0-10. St Colmans then faced CBC in the Harty quarter-final in Blackrock. Aided by the wind in the first half Colmans took control and goals by Barry Murphy, Brian Roche and Conleith Ryan helped them to an interval lead 3-7 to 0-1.
CBC did well on the resumption but there was no denying St Colmans their place in the semi final. In that semi final they faced the winners of the replay between Midleton CBS and Ard Scoil Ris. Midleton came out on top making it an all Cork semi final before a very large attendance in Mallow.
The game was tense all through with both defences were tight. In a low scoring first half the sides were level 0-3 each at the break. The winners goal came from Brian Roche early in the second half.
Colmans led for the rest of the game and had four points to spare in the end. Today's final is hard to predict the outcome.
There is no doubt that Templemore enter as favourites on the basis of their results and the balance of their team.
Colmans can be relied upon to battle to the end. It promises to be a great contest.