Pobalscoil dethrone champions

Corn Uí Mhuirí semi-final: PS Corcha Dhuibhne 3-11 - St Brendans Killarney 3-8

Patrick D'Arcy, St Brendan's College, gets away from Geared Ó Leidhim, Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne, in their Corn Uí Mhuiri semi-final at Fitzgerald Stadium. Photo by Michelle Cooper Galvin
Patrick D'Arcy, St Brendan's College, gets away from Geared Ó Leidhim, Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne, in their Corn Uí Mhuiri semi-final at Fitzgerald Stadium. Photo by Michelle Cooper Galvin

Jason O'Connor Fitzgerald Stadium

The ending of a great run by one of the county's most successful footballing nurseries, The Sem, by one of its more recent success stories (Pobalscoil) was the order of the day in Fitzgerald Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The West Kerry side brought the Sem's run of success to a halt much like the Killarney outfit did two years earlier in calling time on Pobalscoil's ground-breaking success from 2012 to 2015.

Much was expected of the game in advance and while it wasn't quite rip-roaring in its nature throughout it did provide some exciting fare with the game's winning and losing arguably coming in the final 10 minutes of the first-half. The game got off to a fast start, Dylan Ó Géibheannaigh finding All-Ireland Minor All-Star goalkeeper Deividas Uosis operating at full-forward for the opening goal after three and a half minutes.

The Sem responded instantly through Paul O'Shea at the other however as he scored their first goal and despite losing Evan Cosgrave to injury, The Sem could justifiably be happy to take a lead of 1-6 to 1-2 after 18 minutes.

Pobalscoil reinvigorated themselves however to take a lead they would not surrender in registering 2-3 without reply. Niall Ó Géibheannaigh finished off a patient move for their second goal in the 20th minute before their third goal also came from the full-forward berth two minutes later.

Midfielder Seamus Ághas was stationed there when Sem goalkeeper Robert Osborne bungled a ball into his path and Ághas gladly fisted the ball into the net to put them 3-3 to 1-6 ahead. Cillian Ó Failbhe continued to show his impressive promise on Sunday in putting over two points before the break as the Sem could only add a Niall McCarthy free before the break in trailing by 3-6 to 1-7 at half-time.

The longer it took the defending champions to score in the second-half, the more obvious it became that Pobalscoil would win as it was not until the 54th minute that the Sem would score again. Eamonn Fitzmaurice's side were happy to keep it ticking over for themselves with four further points up to the three-quarter mark giving them a nine point lead.

The Sem gave it one final burst however in trying to salvage matters as a foul on substitute Josh Fleming led to a penalty that another All-Ireland Minor All-Star in Cian Gammell stepped up to take. The Sem captain's spot-kick was initially saved by Eoin Ó Brosnacháin but Gammell reacted quickest to the rebound in keeping the Sem's faint hopes alive.

Franz Sauerland put over one final point for Pobalscoil and its benefit might not have been realised until the final whistle as the Sem would manage to leave one solitary score between the sides at the end.

With two minutes of normal time left Ciaran Flynn powered into the net to bring it back to four before a quickly taken '45' saw Paul O'Shea leave only three between the sides entering injury time.

With nothing to lose at that stage they went all out for a goal that would have ensured extra-time. They squandered one dead ball opportunity to create panic however as Pobalscoil held firm in ensuring their School would contest a first Corn Uí Mhuirí decider since 2015.

That year was also significant to the final result for the Sem as it was the last time they lost a match in the event until last Sunday, the 2015 semi-final to Rochestown, but for now their run of dominance is at an end.

With the promise of their Frewen Cup side at present you sense they won't be down for long but the focus is now on the side they are trying to replicate at that level in becoming All-Ireland Junior Schools champions.

Pobalscoil's clash with the Green in the decider will attract interest for matters on the sideline between Eamonn Fitzmaurice, Tommy Griffin and Marc Ó Sé as much as the field itself but it's an interesting prospect between last year's Runners-Up and a renewed Pobalscoil come three weeks time.

PS Corcha Dhuibhne: Eoin Ó Brosnacháin; Conchúir Ó Flannúra, Tomás Ó Dubháin, Sean Óg Ó Mórain; Colm Ó Muircheartaigh, Gearóid Ó Leidhinn, Padraig Ó Cathalláin; Franz Sauerland (0-1), Seamus Aghás (1-0); Niall Ó Géibheannaigh (1-0), Cillian Ó Failbhe (0-2), Deividas Uosis (1-1); Dylan Ó Géibheannaigh (0-3), Cathal Firtéar, Ruaidhrí Ó Beaglaoich (0-4, 3f). Subs: Stiofan Ó Conchúir for Ághas, Colin Ó Muircheartaigh for Ó Mórain, Aodhan Ó Dubhain for Firtéar and Cathal Firtéar for Ó Failbhe

St Brendans: Robert Osborne; Sean O'Doherty, Lorcan MacMonagle, Darren Looney; Mark Fitzgerald, C Gammell (1-0, 1p), Evan Cosgrave; Jake Flynn, Darragh Lyne; Niall McCarthy (0-5, 4f), Patrick D'Arcy, Michéal Devlin; Barry Keane, Paul O'Shea (1-1), Ciaran Flynn (1-2). Subs: Darragh Donohoe for Cosgrave, Michael Lenihan for D'Arcy, Gary O'Connor for O'Doherty, Cian O'Shea for Keane and Josh Fleming for Donohoe

Referee: Michael Meade (Limerick)