A STRONG final quarter paid dividends for Knockbeg College at Silver Park last Thursday, when defending champions Coláiste Eoin suffered a four-point reversal (1-17 to 1-13) in the semi-final of the South Leinster Schools Senior Football 'A' League.
Diarmuid ó Seasnáin and Micheal Ó Cróinín were in fine scoring form for the gaelscoil, but with the dynamic duo of Glen Pullen and Mark Glynn contributing a combined tally of 1-8, the Carlow school ultimately emerged with the spoils.
Having secured both the South Leinster League and Leinster Championship titles last term, expectations are understandably high for Coláiste Eoin as they aim to record a back-to-back success in the latter.
Their preparation for this penultimate-round encounter was somewhat restricted by the club championships, however, and with several new additions to the team this term, they are still trying to find their feet.
The early loss of midfielder Conor ó Núaláin to injury didn't help their cause either, but thanks to a well-taken goal from ó Seasnáin, as well as some fine scores by Ó Cróinín, they were posing plenty of questions for their midland opponents.
However, with centre-forward Pullen registering a crucial three-pointer, Knockbeg (who are coached by former Laois footballer Chris Conway) held a slender 1-7 to 1-5 interval lead.
A series of unanswered points upon the resumption placed the visitors in pole position for a final spot, but spurred on by powerful displays from Matthew ó Ciarnain and Cillian Mac Gearailt, Eoin restored parity mid-way through the second period.
Unfortunately for the holders, this was as close as they came to reining in the 2005 All-Ireland winners, who responded to this purple patch from Eoin with decisive contributions from midfielder Daniel O'Reilly, Pullen, Glynn and free-taker Darren Lunny.
As a result of this defeat, Coláiste Eoin's focus will now switch to the provincial series, where they have received a bye into the second round.