Proud march ends at final hurdle for Rís

Daire Walsh

It has been a long and eventful season, but Ardscoil Rís ultimately left Kingspan Breffni Park last Saturday in disappointment, as St Paul's, Bessbrook of Armagh got the better of the Griffith Avenue school in the All-Ireland Colleges Senior 'B' Football decider on a scoreline of 0-20 to 1-3.

However, despite what the final outcome would suggest, Ardscoil were well in this contest during the opening period (they led by two points at the midway point) and, as the Ardscoil Rís management team stated, they felt that they had a good chance of winning if the game was tight heading into the second period, though they are still extremely proud of the way they performed throughout this year's campaign.

"Yeah (it was disappointing), we were two points up at half-time. We knew if we were anyway close at half-time, two points up or two points down, we had a chance of winning it, but it didn't turn out that way," said a Rís representative.

"We're very proud of the lads, and what they have achieved. That's the first match they lost all year. Even in the Dublin semi-final, I think we were down. In a tight game, we came through. In the Dublin final, we came through against Coláiste éanna after extra-time. Last week against Tubercurry, another tight game, we came through as well. We thought if it was another tight game we might come out on the right side, but unfortunately we didn't."


Looking at the way St Paul's (who have former Orchard County stars John Rafferty and Martin O'Rourke in their coaching set-up) took control of the game after the resumption, it wasn't easy to put a finger on what exactly went wrong for the Dublin champions, though a blood injury to goal-scorer Greg Murphy did certainly rob them of some momentum at a vital juncture.

"It's hard to point a finger at it, but anything we did plan, didn't go according to plan. Greg played very well for us on the day, but he had been suffering from tonsilitis the week before. He got a nose bleed. Someone from Bessbrook hit him a shoulder," the Ardscoil coach stated.

"We were trying to get him (back) on the pitch, and it really upset us because our key men went off in that period. We were only a point down, or level, when he got the injury, and it took us ten minutes to stop his nose bleed and get him on the pitch. I suppose that was one of the minor factors that let St Paul's back into the game."

Regardless of what happened in Cavan last weekend, though, there is certainly a healthy future for Ardscoil, especially if they can continue to produce the likes of Murphy, as well as Dublin minors Cormac Costello (pictured) and Shane Barrett, which is something that the Ardscoil supremo is greatly aware of.

"Ardscoil Rís has really picked up over the last few years, and I think there is only five Leaving Certs off that team that won't be around next year to play.

"We'll have a good chance of competing again next year in maybe Leinster. So, we'll take it one step at a time," he added.