An exquisite performance by centre-forward Pádraig Puirséil lit up the DCU Sportsgrounds last Thursday afternoon, as Coláiste Eoin secured the Dublin Schools Juvenile Football 'A' title with all of 23 points to spare over St Fintan's HS of Sutton.
Full-forward Seamas ó Fiachna did finish the game with a hat-trick of goals to his name, but in an eye-catching display, that included multiple scores with both feet, the outstanding Puirséil contributed an individual tally of 2-8.
Following an opening score by half-forward Donncha ó Ciardha, Puirséil grabbed a quick-fire brace to move the gaelscoil into an early three-point lead.
The Fintan's attack had to survive off scraps initially, but during a ten-minute barren spell for Eoin, the Sutton outfit really kicked into gear. Full-forward Adeola Abass restored parity with a superb goal eight minutes in, and he was also on hand to finish off a goal-mouth scramble after full-back Liam Dunne had twice been denied by Eoin's Cormac ó Braonáin.
This threw a major curve ball in the direction of the Stillorgan boys, but with Dunne opting to follow the roving ó Fiachna out the field rather than providing cover in front of his own goals, there certainly was space for Coláiste Eoin to exploit.
The increasingly-influential Puirséil kept his composure to registering his side's first goal of the game in the 13th minute, and thanks to a subsequent 0-2 salvo from the ace marksman, as well as a hard-earned éamon Mac Giobúin point, they had restored their three-point cushion.
John Sammon's score from a placed-ball kept Fintan's in contention, before a barnstorming conclusion to the half left Eoin in pole position for victory. The magnificent Puirséil raised another green flag six minutes prior to the interval, and after adding three points that the likes of Colm Cooper and Diarmuid Connolly would be proud of, Eoin held a 2-9 to 2-1 buffer heading into the second period.
Given the goal threat that they possessed in the opening half, this wasn't an insurmountable deficit for Fintan's to deal with. However, any chance they had of forcing their way back into the reckoning was effectively relinquished when ó Fiachna fired past Steven Evans from close range just one minute after the restart.
Another Sammon free did briefly halt Eoin's momentum, only for ó Fiachna goals in the 36th and 41st minutes to create even greater daylight between the teams.
This scoring burst placed the outcome beyond any doubt, and even though strong defensive work was required to prevent Abass from sealing his own hat-trick, Fintan's couldn't add to their total in the closing 20 minutes.
Eoin did ease off to a degree late on, but with substitute Tomás ó Neill kicking 0-3 from play, and the terrific Puirséil converting his only score of the half, they brought the curtain down on a memorable day for the school.
Scorers - Coláiste Eoin: P Puirséil 2-8, S ó Fiachna 3-0, T ó Neill 0-3, E Mac Giobúin 0-2, C ó Catháin (f), T ó hEachthigheirn, D ó Ciardha 0-1 each. ST FINTAN'S HS: A Abass 2-0, J Sammon 0-2 (2f).
coláiste Eoin: C ó Braonáin; T Stakelum, N Moynihan O Bradaigh, C Mac Giolla Phádraig; I ó hEithir, C Mac Dáibhéid, R O Cinnéide; S ó Cinseallaigh, T ó hEachthigheirn; D ó Ciardha, P Puirséil, D ó Ronáin; C ó Catháin, S ó Fiachna, E Mac Giobúin. Subs: T O Neill for Mac Giobúin (40), E ó Ceallacháin for Stakelum (47), S ó Ceallaigh for ó Fiachna (49), P Mac Domhnaill for ó hEithir (58).
St Fintan's HS: S Evans; S O'Brien, L Dunne, E Hart; L Cunningham, N O'Halloran, J Moylan; K Byrne, S Cleary; C Mulligan, J Sammon, J Kelly; E Forbes, A Abass, E Bridgeman. Subs: R Byrne for Hart (37), A O'Kane for Cleary (43), A Keogan for Cunningham (57), S McGuinness-Doran for Dunne (59), C Grassick for Moylan (60).
REFEREE: D Feeney (Parnell's).