CORNER-FORWARD John Walsh was the hero in the DCU Sportsgrounds yesterday afternoon, as his 51st-minute goal ensured that Ardscoil Rís overcame a strong challenge from a Gavin King-inspired St Aidan's CBS in the final Dublin Post-Primary School Junior Hurling 'A' competition.
ARDSCOIL RíS 3-9
ST AIDAN'S CBS 1-11
With King leading the way from centre-field, Aidan's had forced their way back into the reckoning with a strong three-quarter display, but with Walsh and Colin Currie leading the charge in attack, Ardscoil remarkably secured their fourth consecutive success at this grade.
Because of their impressive performance against Coláiste éanna during their semi-final victory, the Griffith Avenue school were in a confident mood ahead of this encounter and they started the game in bright fashion.
Colin Currie recorded a brace in the opening moments and this was swiftly followed by a terrific individual goal by centre-forward Ben McHugh eight minutes in.
Aidan's were fighting against a strong breeze in the opening period and as a result were struggling to settle into their usually crisp patterns of play.
Ardscoil, on the other hand, were posing a number of questions for the opposition rearguard and when a clinically finished three-pointer from close-range by the diminutive Walsh was added to by another routine Currie free, they had increased their advantage to nine with just 11 minutes gone.
Aidan's needed a score just to settle into the proceedings, but just two minutes after Currie's third point, they finally got themselves into the reckoning. Dylan Curtis struck a ferocious shot past Ardscoil netminder Daragh Levins from a tight left-hand angle on this occasion and with King (two) and Daniel Byrne later adding fine points from play, they had suddenly reduced their deficit to three points as the interval beckoned.
Indeed, the increasingly influential King added a further brace just before the midway point, but with Walsh and Currie also finding the target in the closing stages of the half, Ardscoil were still in the ascendancy (2-5 to 1-5) as the action restarted.
Upon the resumption, Aidan's were hoping to take advantage of the elements in the same way that their rivals had done before the break and they did manage to cut the gap even further courtesy of a magnificent placed ball effort from halfway by the excellent King.
The dynamic Currie did ease Ardscoil's nerves with points in the 37th and 38th minutes, but an increase in tempo from the Whitehall outfit ensured that parity was restored to the tie 10 minutes later. Scores from King (two), Curtis and Tony O'Sullivan had reined in Ardscoil during this juncture, and when King comfortably registered his eighth point of the day just a minute later, it looked like Aidan's were set to secure a Senior and Junior 'A' Hurling double for 2013.
However, Ardscoil were able to find an extra gear when required and after Currie split the posts on the 50-minute mark, the pacey Walsh was on hand to strike past Ronan Murray for the pivotal score of the game. They had to endure some tense moments in defence during the dying stages of this showpiece, but Currie's successful 40-metre free four minutes from the end ultimately sealed a hard-earned triumph for Rís.
Scorers – Ardscoil Rís: C Currie 0-8 (6f, 1 '65'); J Walsh 2-1; B McHugh 1-0. St Aidan's CBS: G King 0-8 (3f); D Curtis 1-1; T O'Sullivan, D Byrne 0-1.
ARDSCOIL RíS: D Levins; E O'Sullivan, C Ryan, S Baxter; R Maher, M O'Keeffe, B Davis; J Higgins, T O'Flaherty; E O'Neill, B McHugh, M Colfer; R Clerkin, C Currie, J Walsh. Subs: C Cummins for O'Neill (half-time), L Murphy for Clerkin (47).
ST AIDAN'S CBS: R Murray; R Kerins, D Ryan, E Dunne; M Cullen, L McCarth, D Constantine; G King, T O'Sullivan; C O'Brien, D Gray, D Byrne; O Sheridan, D Curtis, M Noonan. Subs: C O'Connor for Sheridan (38), D Bergin for O'Brien (43).
Referee: E Mullarkey (Lucan Sarsfields).