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St Brendan’s hold off Hammies in extra-time to book spot in all-Kerry Corn Uí Mhuirí final

The Sem manager Cronin: ‘That game will stand to us, I am sure of that – it will be much better for our lads than a one-sided game’

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Dara O'Callaghan of St Brendan's College, Killarney, in action with Gavin Kelliher, Hamilton High School, Bandon, in the Corn Ui Mhuiri semi-final at Mallow GAA Complex on Saturday. Photo by Joe Hanley

Dara O'Callaghan of St Brendan's College, Killarney, in action with Gavin Kelliher, Hamilton High School, Bandon, in the Corn Ui Mhuiri semi-final at Mallow GAA Complex on Saturday. Photo by Joe Hanley

Dara O'Callaghan of St Brendan's College, Killarney, in action with Gavin Kelliher, Hamilton High School, Bandon, in the Corn Ui Mhuiri semi-final at Mallow GAA Complex on Saturday. Photo by Joe Hanley

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CORN UI MHUIRI SEMI-FINAL (Munster Colleges SFC)

St Brendan’s College (Kerry) 1-20

Hamilton High School (Cork) 3-12

(after extra-time)

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A genuine classic – the best way to describe the clash between Kerry’s St Brendan’s College and Cork side Hamilton High School in the TUCS Corn Uí Mhuirí semi-final in Mallow on Saturday evening.

Two sides that just didn’t know when to quit went at it from the off, and while for long periods it looked like the Killarney side were home and hosed, a never say die attitude from the Bandon school meant this one would go on for just under 90 minutes.

As it turned out, St Brendan’s College joined Tralee CBS in the provincial final in a couple of weeks – deservedly so it must be said – but that should in no way take away from the contribution of the Cork school who were in this position for the first time in their history.

Hamilton High School fought back heroically from 10 points down with 15 minutes left to parity on 61 minutes, yet still had to tie the game twice more in injury time. Nobody left this one early.

St Brendan’s manager Kevin Cronin was obviously delighted with the result but for his nerves and voice he would have rather that the game didn’t go all the way.

“To give credit to Bandon they really came back into this one. I am delighted to see that our lads were taken to extra time but still managed to lead at the end of both of the extra time halves. It was not pretty from our side at times but we are still alive and we will take as many positives from that as we can. That game will stand to us, I am sure of that – it will be much better for our lads than a one-sided game,” The Sem’s manager said.

“Having said all that, of course I would rather that we would be able to do it in sixty minutes but we can’t control that. We will take the win, are delighted to be going into an all Kerry final but we have plenty of work to be doing to prepare for that.”

Cronin may well have just seen his side advance but he still had time to compliment the side that had pushed his team all the way.

“I have to take my hat off to the Bandon players. This was a great fight-back from them and this is a great achievement from their school, their first ever semi-final in this competition. I know they were out in the Harty Cup last weekend but today it was great to see football played like that in Cork.”

St Brendan’s may well be top of the honour roll in this competition but according to Cronin that counts for little in the heat of battle.

“That counts for nothing in this competition. How many trophies your school has doesn’t matter at all. It didn’t matter to Hamilton today and it won’t matter the next day. It is up to us, in an all Kerry final, to change that stat (22 wins), add to that stat and hopefully we can do that the next day. It will be a huge day for our school,” he said.

From the off St Brendan’s took this game by the scruff with points from Cian McMahon and William Shine settling down the Killarney boys early.

A point from the influential midfielder Conor Ustianowski got Hammies off and running but five wides in the first 15 minutes didn’t help the Bandon school’s chances of staying with their illustrious opponents – St Brendan’s have claimed this title on 22 previous occasions.

St Brendan’s continued to push forward and further points from Shine and McMahon as well as a brilliant individual goal from the latter on 11 minutes helped the Kerry boys into a comfortable 1-6 to 0-2 lead with one third of the game complete.

Hamilton did have a chance to goal on 20 minutes but some serious pressure meant that Eoin Guinane could only point when a goal looked on. Another point from Shine 15 seconds later and St Brendan’s were cruising to what looked like an unassailable lead at the break 1-9 to 0-3 at the interval.

If Hamilton were to get back into this one they would need to score first and credit to the Cork school they did just that and in some style to boot.

A close in free from Richard O’Sullivan had the gap down to eight before a brilliant finish to the net from Niall Kelly moments later had this one back in something close to a melting pot.

Credit to St Brendan’s, they calmed the game down and a point from Mikey Moriarty and a brace of frees from McMahon restored the damage caused by Kelly’s major.

The Cork school were far from done however, and they continued to push forward and they were again rewarded with a goal from Adam Casey on 47 minutes. A long ball in from Ciaran McCarthy finished to the net with style from Casey. The goal spurred on the Cork side and another late goal, this time from McCarthy along with three of the last four points sent this one into extra-time.

Despite being caught late on St Brendan’s dominated extra-time with Shine and McMahon continuing to notch scores with substitute Aodhán O’Neill adding to the Hamilton woes. St Brendan’s deservedly advanced by 1-20 to 3-12 – Hamilton High School’s first experience at this level of competition will live long in the memory of all those privileged to be there.

ST BRENDAN’S COLLEGE, KILLARNEY: A O’ Sullivan (Legion); H Byrne (Dr Crokes); C Lynch (Glenflesk), D O’Callaghan (Kilcummin); J Kelleher (Glenflesk) 0-1, R Colleran (Fossa), D Fleming (Legion); L Randles (Dr Crokes), K O’Sullivan (Glenflesk) 0-1; L Crowley (Glenflesk), C Foley (Kilcummin), M Moriarty (Beaufort) 0-1; W Shine (Legion) 0-7 (3f), A Hennigan (Dr Crokes) 0-2, C McMahon (Dr Crokes) 1-07 (4f). Subs: C Keating (Dr Crokes) for L Randles (36), M O’Shea (Kilcummin) for M Moriarty (53), A O’Neill (Renard) 0-1 for L Crowley (57), M Mullane (Glenflesk) for Kelleher (67), C Keating (Dr Crokes) for D Fleming (73), L Crowley for C Foley (75).

HAMILTON HIGH SCHOOL BANDON: E McSweeney (Newcestown); M Woods (Valley Rovers), R McCarthy (Bandon), Conor O’Sullivan (Ahán Gaels) 0-1; C Johnson (Valley Rovers), J Kenneally (Valley Rovers), G Kelleher (Newcestown); J O’Driscoll (Valley Rovers), C Ustianowski (Kilbrittain) 0-1; A Casey (Valley Rovers) 1-0, C McCarthy (Valley Rovers) 1-1, O Corcoran (Ahán Gaels) 0-1; E Guinane (Valley Rovers) 0-1, R O’Sullivan (Newcestown) 0-4f, N Kelly (Newcestown) 1-2 (1f). Subs: T Desmond (Bandon) for McCarthy (ht), J Calnan (Bandon) 0-1 for Guinane (ht), H O’Mahony for Casey (48), J Murphy (Valley Rovers) for Kelleher (58), Cormac O’Sullivan (Newcestown) for Conor O’Sullivan (72, injured).

Referee: Jonathon Hayes (Limerick)


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