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Rís show their 'bottle' to edge into decider

THE comeback kids have struck again. Or as they might say on Griffith Avenue, Arís, Arís agus Arís! The blue and white flags adorn the Ardscoil Rís premises.

And there will be extra bunting put up as the famed Dublin academy now have an All-Ireland final to prepare for.

They beat St Attracta's CS of Tubbercurry in Ardagh, Longford, on Saturday, in the All-Ireland Colleges Senior 'B' Football Championship semi-final.

Ardscoil overcame the Sligo school by 1-9 to 1-7, and, as is their custom, they did it the hard way.

"We trailed by a point with 10 minutes to go but we scored the last three points of the game to come through," relates teacher Alan O'Connor. The managerial duo of Fiachra Colgan and Ronan Coone got the very last drop of sweat from their side, who battled back against the odds.

"The bottle of this team has to be seen to be believed," adds Alan. "They just do not know when they are beaten.

"Greg Murphy and Cormac Costello were struggling with illness all week, yet they ran themselves to a standstill, while losing our midfielder, Craig Brennan, with a shoulder injury so early in the match was a serious blow."

Last week, Ardscoil secured their first Leinster title of any description since 1991, when they recovered to beat Portlaoise CBS.

And they displayed they same courage in the Dublin semi-final against Scoil Caitríona, and in the final against Coláiste éanna.

On Saturday, Conor Dolan hit the Rís goal in the first half. The sides were level at the turn, but brave hearts were needed late on.

"To a man, when it mattered most, they stood up to the plate. When there was a place in the All-Ireland final at stake in the last 10 minutes, our fellas gave their all to grab it from a very talented side," explains Alan.

Murphy levelled the tussle before Costello's free edged Ardscoil ahead on 56 minutes. Then a sweet Seán Heaney point on the hour confirmed Ardscoil's ticket.

Their large travelling army went into a rhapsody of blue . . . and white. And with good reason.

"This group of young men have made us so proud. They have brought so much distinction to the school, and they have taken us on a journey that we will never forget," states Alan.

Now, it's a case of one more small step for Marino . . . and a giant leap for Dublin -- they face Armagh's St Paul's of Bessbrook in the final.

"We're only here to see the chalice, here to see the chalice," the Ardscoil Rís supporters humourously chanted on Saturday, but a victory in the final would see them capture something even more priceless.