Counsel secure fine double
Good Counsel 1-15 St. Kieran's (Kilkenny) 2-7
Good Counsel completed a remarkable double, adding the Dr. Barry Cup, the Top Oil Leinster Schools Juvenile 'A' hurling title, to the equivalent football crown they won in February, in Thomastown.
While this wasn't as dominant on the scoreboard as that success against Scoil Aodháin, it was arguably just as striking as the New Ross school completely dominated against Kilkenny stronghold St. Kieran's.
Five points was the winning margin but Good Counsel would not have been flattered by a double-digit success. They held the aces all over the field, they won the vast majority of the individual battles, and even when St. Kieran's pulled goals back they never panicked.
It started with a fantastic back seven. Goalkeeper Mickey Kirwan radiated confidence and that spread into a defence that was led by the exquisite Conor Foley.
The Kilkenny boys looked like they had the potential to cause problems but almost every time they got into a dangerous position they were soon snuffed out.
When Darby Purcell went off injured in the first-half it threatened to be a big blow for Good Counsel. However, after a period of adjustment, they came back just as strong, showing the strength in depth that they possess.
In attack they worked hard to create chances, running with pace and power at the Kilkenny defence and often fouls resulted. That worked just fine for Good Counsel as they had the unstoppable Jack Redmond taking dead-balls and he just refused to miss.
St. Kieran's started brightly but failed to find their range. At the other end Redmond opened the scoring from Billy Reid's pass and then registered his first free when Cathal Murphy was felled.
Two Harry Shine points helped St. Kieran's back within one after eleven minutes (0-3 to 0-2). Redmond scored his fourth point soon after, coming after Eoin O'Brien was upended, and The Rower-Inistioge club player would be fouled for a further four converted dead-balls in the remainder of the game.
From a Cathal Parker handpass, Billy Reid got himself on the scoresheet. The excellent Naoise Dempsey picked off the first of three he would claim but two more Redmond points made it 0-7 to 0-3 after 21 minutes.
As Good Counsel adjusted to the loss of Purcell, the scoring dried up and neither side added to their tally in the rest of the period.
The New Ross school had the comfort of a helping breeze after the break and they took advantage quickly with two more from Redmond - the second of which came from play after a long, accurate Eoin Whelan pass.
Good Counsel struck a critical blow in the 38th minute. When Conor Foley's long free fell to Danny Glennon, he still had plenty to do. The Tullogher-Rosbercon player took off at goal, worked space for a shot and batted past Dara Mason to the net.
The lead was a huge 1-11 to 0-4 when Foley pointed from the left wing in the 41st minute. St. Kieran's hit back with a couple of points but Eoin O'Brien's score from the right of goal looked to settle any worry that might be rising.
Indeed, Good Counsel could have panicked when Nick Doheny netted in the 51st minute. They didn't, and instead Redmond scored three of the next four points, all for fouls on livewire O'Brien, as Good Counsel went into added time leading by 1-15 to 1-7.
Doheny pulled home a rebound after Shine's 20-metre free was repelled in the 61st minute, but Good Counsel comfortably played out three more minutes of additional time to take the title in style.
Good Counsel: Mickey Kirwan (Glenmore); Gary Porter (Rathgarogue-Cushinstown), Rúaidhrí Delaney (The Rower-Inistioge), Jamie Lennon (Rathnure); Eoin Whelan (Fethard), Conor Foley (Horeswood, 0-1), Alan Kehoe (Horeswood); Billy Reid (Glenmore, capt., 0-1), Darby Purcell (Faythe Harriers); Cathal Parker (Horeswood), Danny Glennon (Tullogher-Rosbercon, 1-0), Cathal Murphy (Clongeen); Eoin O'Brien (The Rower-Inistioge, 0-1), Jack Redmond (Rathnure, 0-12, 10 frees), Charlie Phelan (Glenmore). Subs. - Peter McDonald (Tullogher-Rosbercon) for Purcell, inj. (24), Kyle Rankin (St. Fintan's) for Murphy (50), Adam O'Grady (Fethard) for Phelan (59), also Richie Dunphy (Glenmore), James Murphy (Horeswood), Eoin Kennedy (Tullogher-Rosbercon), David Prendergast (The Rower-Inistioge), Cillian Doyle (Davidstown-Courtnacuddy), Cillian Byrne (Fethard), Cian Connick-Mernagh (Glenmore), Eoghan Doyle (Rathgarogue-Cushinstown), Killian Dungan (Mullinavat), Matthew O'Neill (Adamstown), Michael Moffitt (The Rower-Inistioge), Michael Sheehan (Graiguenamanagh), Richard Liu (Fethard), Seán Laffan (Glynn-Barntown), Lar Murphy (Tullogher-Rosbercon), William Holden (Glenmore), James Quinn (Rathgarogue-Cushinstown), Conor Foley (Taghmon-Camross).
St. Kieran's: Dara Mason; Joe Fitzpatrick, Tommy Phelan (capt.), Seán Fitzpatrick; James Carroll, Jimmy Lennon, Naoise Dempsey (0-3); Pádraig Naddy, Patrick Langton; Pádraig Lennon, Conor Cody, Nick Doheny (2-0); Harry Shine (0-4 frees), Killian Carey, Alex Sheridan. Subs. - Charlie Delahunty for Fitzpatrick (27), Jimmy O'Neill for Langton (31), Ben Whitty for Sheridan (42).
Referee: Ronan Devaney (Laois).
New Ross Standard