TOM KEANE and Pat Flaherty were hat-trick heroes in Naomh Olaf GAA Club yesterday afternoon, as St Benildus College enjoyed a comfortable 8-10 to 3-7 triumph against a spirited but ultimately overwhelmed Ardscoil Rís at the penultimate stage of the Dublin Schools Juvenile Football 'A' competition.
Playing with the aid of a strong breeze in the opening period, Benildus got their first major of the contest with just two minutes gone.
Midfielder Eoin Foley was the architect for this score, as his incisive run through the heart of the Ardscoil rearguard opened up the space for corner-forward Keane to finish clinically to the net past the stranded Calum Atkinson.
Centre-back Luke Dolan soon followed up with a well-taken point from play, before Flaherty secured his opening goal of the afternoon with a low drive from close in on six minutes.
Ardscoil were struggling to progress beyond their own half in the early stages, but they finally got their account up and running with a well-worked point from Shane Murphy after 13 minutes.
Benildus were not planning to rest on their laurels though, and they moved into a 15-point cushion by the 22nd minute thanks to goals from full-forward Flaherty and Adam Kelly, along with Keane's third point of the tie.
Ardscoil put up an admirable resistance until the end of the half -- and Atkinson pulled off a couple of fine stops from point-blank range -- but Glenn Soraghan was on hand to kick home Benildus' fifth goal on the half-hour, giving his side an unassailable mid-way lead (5-6 to 0-1) in the process.
It was a case of damage limitation for Ardscoil upon the resumption, but Benildus were showing no signs of dropping their intensity levels as 2-3 without reply (the goals coming from dynamic inside duo Keane and Flaherty) moved the Upper Kimacud Road outfit into an incredible 29-point advantage with 20 minutes left to play.
Ardscoil did hit back with a three-pointer from substitute Eoin O'Neill after fellow replacement John Walsh's shot had dropped short, but this was immediately cancelled out by Keane's third goal of the encounter.
However, credit must go to Ardscoil, as their defence remained unbreached for the next 15 minutes, during which time they registered 2-4 without reply.
Ciaran Kyne, Conor Burke and O'Neill chipped in with points during this passage, which supplemented a 2-1 salvo from lively corner-forward Cian O'Brien, whose second goal was from the penalty spot on 54 minutes after O'Neill had been fouled inside the large parallelogram.
Benildus were always in a comfortable position, however, and Flaherty's final point two minutes later offered them plenty of breathing space, despite two late points for Ardscoil from industrious midfielder Tom O'Flaherty.
SCORERS -- St Benildus College: T Keane 3-4 (0-1f); P Flaherty 3-2; A Kelly, Glenn Soraghan 1-0; J McGuire, L Dolan, A Bradshaw, J Rafferty 0-1 each. Ardscoil Rís: C O'Brien 2-1 (1-0 pen, 0-1f); E O'Neill 1-1; T O'Flaherty 0-2; C Kyne, S Murphy, C Burke 0-1 each.
ST BENILDUS COLLEGE: A O'Callaghan; Gavin Soraghan, D Dagg, S Mulvanney; J McGuire, L Dolan, K Ryan; A Bradshaw, E Foley; B Carr, J Rafferty, A Kelly; Glenn Soraghan, P Flaherty, T Keane. Subs: O Donnelly for Gavin Soraghan (54), T Cordial for Kelly (56), S O'Brien for Mulvanney (58).
ARDSCOIL RíS: C Atkinson; J Higgins, S Collins, C O'Donoghue; D Levins, B McHugh, D Keogh; T O'Flaherty, C Kyne; A Giblin, S Murphy, J Thewlis; C Burke, E Ruddell, C O'Brien. Subs: E O'Neill for Giblin (21), J Walsh for Ruddell (34), R O'Sullivan for Levins (40).
Referee: C Curtis (Ballyboden/St Enda's).