Coláiste Eoin produced an impressive team performance in accounting for a disappointing Coláiste Íosagáin, Portarlington by 2-12 to 2-4 in their Leinster SF 'A' second-round encounter at Belfield yesterday afternoon.
Having received a bye in the first round, Coláiste Eoin showed signs of rustiness throughout, spilling possession on numerous occasions, but their greater strength and talent saw them through comfortably against a Coláiste Íosagáin side which was high on effort but lacked composure and direction over the hour.
Despite only conceding six scores in a disciplined defensive display, the Stillorgan side's rearguard was sloppy at times, kicking possession away cheaply and regularly over-elaborating, with the honourable exception of Aran Ó Murchú who gave a classy performance from the pivotal position of centre-back.
The midfield of Donal Sutcliffe and Jack Mac Suibhne worked hard throughout and won sufficient primary possession to feed a lively attack in which corner-forward Brian Ó Murchú and Colm Mac Gearailt were particularly prominent.
Portarlington, who accounted for Gormanstown in the opening round, enjoyed some promising moments, most notably from full-forward Shane McCauley, but these periods were few and far between, and in truth the concession of 1-3 in the opening 10 minutes ultimately proved their downfall.
The opening score arrived inside two minutes when Brian Ó Murchú was on hand to finish to the net from close range after Conall Ó Deá's effort had been bravely repelled by Pádraig Bannon in the Íosagáin goal.
When Ó Murchú showed his predatory instincts two minutes later, availing of Seán Mac Craith's knockdown to punch over the bar, the portents looked ominous for the visitors, whose defence was being run ragged by a vibrant Coláiste Eoin side.
Two points from Mac Craith, one from play, had Coláiste Eoin six points to the good and, with their half-back line of Ó Murchú, Grahame Ó Fógartaigh and Jack Mac Cionnaith sweeping up to great effect, it was one-way traffic at this juncture.
With both sides struggling to adapt to the lively surface of the all-weather pitch, a scrappy period of play ensued prior to McCauley finally registering Coláiste Íosagáin's first score of the game in the 16th minute with a nicely taken free, and within three minutes they were right back in contention through a Rory Galvin goal.
It arrived in a slightly fortuitous manner as Peter Cunningham's delivery from distance was misjudged by Sutcliffe and Galvin showed razor-sharp reflexes to flick to the net past a helpless Daniel Ó Caoimh and leave just two points between the sides.
The introduction of Dublin minor Mark Schutte helped settle the Dublin school and after a free-flowing move on 24 minutes Mac Gearailt finished sublimely to the top corner of Bannon's net, with the talented wing-forward adding a smart point minutes later to restore Coláiste's six-point advantage.
A Cunningham penalty on 29 minutes halved Coláiste Íosagáin's deficit but on the stroke of half-time Aran Ó Murchú kicked a cracking point after a trademark driving run to leave his side four points (2-5 to 2-1) ahead at the interval.
A glorious McCauley point immediately upon the resumption brought Coláiste Íosagáin fresh hope, but scores from Mac Gearailt and Schutte, sandwiched by a Mac Craith penalty miss, helped regain the initiative for the Gaelscoil as they assumed dominance around the middle third, nullifying their increasingly desperate opponents at source.
Two further scores from the same pair midway through the half stretched Coláiste Eoin's lead to seven points, and although Galvin and Graham Walsh responded for Coláiste Íosagáin, it proved insufficient in clawing themselves back into the game.
Sutcliffe gained reward for his tireless efforts with a well-taken point on 28 minutes, and it was fitting that the ubiquitous Aran Ó Murchú should play a central role in his side's final point, laying on the scoring pass to his namesake Brian Ó Murchú as Coláiste Eoin cruised to a merited eight-point winning margin at the final whistle.
Scorers -- Coláiste Eoin: C Mac Gearailt 1-4 (0-2f), B Ó Murchú 1-2, S Mac Craith (1f), M Schutte 0-2, A Ó Murchú, D Sutcliffe 0-1. Coláiste Íosagáin, Portarlington: R Galvin 1-1 (0-1f), P Cunningham 1-0 (pen), S McCauley 0-2 (1f), G Walsh 0-1.
Coláiste Eoin: Daniel Ó Caoimh; Dara ÓhAodha, Eoin Ó Loinsigh, Stiofán Ó Seasnáin; Grahame Ó Fógartaigh, Aran Ó Murchú, Jack Mac Cionnaith; Donal Sutcliffe, Jude Mac Suibhne; Colm Mac Gearailt, Pádraig Ó Dálaigh, Conall Ó Deá; Brian Ó Murchú, Seán Mac Craith, Pól Ó Fógartaigh. Subs: Mark Schutte for Ó Dea (22 mins).
Coláiste Íosagáin, Portarlington: Padraig Bannon; Martin O'Reilly, Evan Lyons, Stephen Hoey; Bobby Sweeney, Brian Crombie, Richie Reynolds; Keith Bracken, Kevin McGrath; Rory Galvin, Peter Cunningham, Graham Walsh; Colm Mulhall, Shane McCauley, Sean McMahon. Subs: Ciaran McManus for Hoey (half-time), Ross Doyle for McMahon (47 mins), Eoin Finlay for Mulhall (52 mins).
Referee: Alan Lagrue (Naas).