GAA Top Oil Leinster Schools Senior Hurling 'A' Championship: St Kieran's 3-17 St Peter's 0-12
St Peter's came up well short of a talented St. Kieran's (Kilkenny) side in the Top Oil Leinster Post-Primary Schools Senior hurling 'A' championship in the Halo Tiles and Bathrooms Ferns Centre of Excellence on Wednesday.
There was a bit of a buzz about the Summerhill boys after their routine victory over Borris in the previous round, but their hopes here were badly hindered by a trio of injuries and they struggled as a result.
Much like there was no way to determine how good St. Peter's were after their opening success, nothing has changed after this defeat. Competing at St. Kieran's level and losing Conall Clancy and Jake Nobbs is more than challenging, but missing Ross Banville too is almost impossible to overcome.
That's three starting forwards, arguably their three best attackers, who combined for 0-11 last time out. This wasn't set up to be a fair fight. That said, there are no hard-luck stories engraved on the Corn Uí Dhúill.
What St. Peter's do have is another chance. They slide into the quarter-finals after this loss, will get their second chance on January 30, and will hope their injury woes have cleared up a little to give them a fighter's chance.
The Wexford boys were pushed to the pin of their collar to keep in this game in the first-half. They were 0-8 to 0-5 down after 27 minutes on a breathless day at the county training grounds, right in the game.
But they were throwing haymakers while Kieran's were just looking to spar, at least for a while. David Codd - a substitute against Borris that impressed here and probably did enough to keep his place - opened the Peter's account.
Patrick O'Connor, who ended with ten of his side's twelve points, scored the next four. In there were some classy strikes from play, with the Blackwater clubman leading by example throughout the contest.
Three points down at the break would have been fine for St. Peter's in the circumstances. They had kept star man Conor Kelly quiet and defended very well individually and as a team, only for a flashpoint at the other end of the field to rise a slumbering giant.
Netminder Dean Mason was given a straight red card for an off-the-ball strike on Tomás Murphy. Advantage St. Peter's, one might think. Instead St. Kieran's turned on the afterburners and won the match in the five minutes either side of half-time.
After a block down, Eoin Cody drilled high to the net from an acute angle in first-half added time to make it 1-8 to 0-5 at the interval. Within three minutes of the resumption, Aaron Brennan hit the rigging twice as the lead swelled to twelve.
As inspired moves go, shifting Brennan inside was pretty impressive. His two goals not only ended the game as a contest, it also gave Kelly the room he needed to get going and he registered all six of his points in the second-half.
St. Peter's never looked like they believed they had a chance in the second-half.
They battled away, as Codd scored their only point from play in that period while O'Connor flighted over six dead-balls, but the deficit never closed into single digits as St. Kieran's motored into the semi-finals.
St. Peter's: David Pettit (Our Lady's Island); Feidhlim Roche (Blackwater), Ben Stafford (St. Martin's, capt.), Ryan Furlong (Faythe Harriers); Aaron Doyle (Shelmaliers), Billy Dunne (Oulart-The Ballagh), Conor Mahoney (Glynn-Barntown); Zac Firman (St. Martin's), Cillian Gahan (Faythe Harriers); Peter Rowley (Oylegate-Glenbrien), David Codd (St. Martin's, 0-2), Patrick O'Connor (Blackwater, 0-10, 7 frees); Tomás Murphy (Blackwater), Conor Kelly (St. Martin's), Conall O Crualaoich (Faythe Harriers). Subs. - Jack Fortune (Crossabeg-Ballymurn) for Furlong (41), David Cantwell (St. Martin's) for Rowley (55).
St. Kieran's: Dean Mason; David Fogarty, Pádraig O'Neill, Darragh O'Keeffe; Darragh Corcoran, Conor Murphy (capt.), Killian Egan; Martin O'Connell (0-1), David Blanchfield (0-2); Eoin Moylan, Eoin Cody (1-6, 0-4 frees), Aaron Brennan (2-1); Ciarán Brennan, Conor Hoban, Conor Kelly (0-6). Subs. - Stephen Keoghan for Moylan (30+2), Jamie Young for D. Corcoran (48), Dacel Fwamba (0-1) for C. Brennan (51), Darragh Maher for A. Brennan (56), Jack Brennan for Hoban (58).
Referee: Pat Moran (Laois).