Colaiste Eoin 2-12 St. Peter's 3-4
The proud reign of St. Peter's (Wexford) as Top Oil Leinster Schools Senior football 'A' champions came to an end at the quarter-final stage in Páirc Uí Shíocháin, Gorey, on Friday, but they certainly didn't surrender without one hell of a fight.
Indeed, it took a very capable team to beat them, as a Coláiste Eoin (Stillorgan) outfit drawing heavily on players from the top clubs on Dublin's southside needed to dig very deep before securing a last four clash with Naas C.B.S.
The game's key moment arrived with ten minutes left when the sides were deadlocked (3-3 to 1-9).
Diarmuid O Floinn and Conor Cinseallach of Coláiste Eoin combined to pop the ball inside to lively substitute Eoin O Ceallacháin, and he was fouled by Michael Codd before he could get a shot away.
Codd had been booked already for a late frontal charge on Tomás O hEachthigheirn in the 20th minute, so there was a double blow for Peter's as he was dismissed on a second yellow before Conor Cinseallach coolly slotted the spot kick beyond David Pettit's reach.
The holders were in trouble thereafter, although it must be said that their opponents were slightly superior for the most part and deserved to advance.
The fact that Peter's didn't score from play in the second-half, only managing a meagre two points from Michael Carroll frees, underlined the struggles they endured in trying to break down a strong rival defence.
They did have a half-chance of an immediate response to that penalty goal when a Ben Maddock delivery broke kindly for Dylan Lyne who turned and shot with his left in one swift movement, but netminder Stiofan O Mathúna parried the effort on his near post at the expense of a fruitless '45.
A kick-out that went wrong nearly led to a third Coláiste Eoin goal in the 54th minute, but Ross Banville got a vital touch on the ball to cut out Fionn O Ceallaigh's handpass to an unmarked Eoin O Ceallacháin.
The outstanding O Ceallaigh - not a tall targetman but physically powerful - gave his side a four-point edge before a foul on Aaron Breen, who had moved to full-forward, led to Michael Carroll registering the first Peter's score for ten minutes (2-10 to 3-4).
Adam Cantwell kicked the last two of their nine wides before the end, and the Dubliners made sure of success as O Ceallaigh earned and converted a free prior to a second penalty award deep in added time.
Once again influential substitute Eoin O Ceallacháin was taken down, this time by netminder David Pettit who was black-carded, but replacement Jake Clancy wasn't tested as Conor Cinseallach was content to drive over an insurance point.
St. Peter's only fielded six of the 19 players who featured in the 0-18 to 0-10 All-Ireland final loss to St. Brendan's (Killarney) last April: Ben Maddock, Brian Deeny, and the four substitutes used on that occasion, Michael Codd, Dylan Lyne, Jack Devereux and Aaron Breen.
And they were quickly on the back foot, as Fionn O Ceallaigh showed he was in the mood to do damage immediately with a point before Conor Cinseallach played in centre-forward Tomás O hEachthigheirn for a clinically-finished solo goal.
The standard was high from the off, and Peter's hit back in style when Jack Devereux and Dylan Lyne combined to pick out Adam Cantwell who rattled the roof of the net (1-1 to 1-0).
A Tomás O Néill point was followed by a second goal at the other end, with Diarmuid Barry sliding the ball low under the body of Stiofan O Mathúna after good approach play by Michael Carroll and Lyne.
Aaron Breen added what proved to be the sole Peter's point from play in the 13th minute, and it wasn't too far away from dropping into the corner of the net rather than clearing the crossbar.
A bright spell for Coláiste Eoin yielded three points from Tomás O Néill and Fionn O Ceallaigh (two, one free), before Carroll equalised from a free (2-2 to 1-5).
And the third goal followed in the 24th minute after Diarmuid Barry was pushed in the back from a Dylan Lyne pass, with Ben Maddock coming forward to finish from the penalty spot.
Coláiste Eoin hit the last two points of the half from their two best players, Conor Cinseallach and Fionn O Ceallaigh (free), with the former very influential on the re-start after moving from right half-back to left half-forward.
Michael Codd had swapped places with Ben Maddock in a bid to curb O Ceallaigh, and the latter then went from corner-back to midfield near the end of the third quarter.
It was 1-9 to 3-2 for Coláiste Eoin by that stage after points from two O Ceallaigh frees, while Peter's had kicked three wides and a head-high Adam Cantwell drive was kept out by netminder O Mathúna.
Michael Carroll levelled with the first of just two second-half points for his team in the 47th minute, but that decisive penalty goal for Coláiste Eoin was just around the corner and they drove on from there.
The focus now turns back to hurling for St. Peter's, with eleven of the starting football 15 likely to feature from the off in the Leinster quarter-final against Borris Vocational School next Saturday.
St. Peter's: David Pettit (Our Lady's Island); Ross Banville (Shelmaliers), Ben Maddock (St. Martin's, 1-0 pen.), Michael Codd (St. Martin's); Philip Dempsey (St. Martin's), Cian Meyler (Our Lady's Island), Conall Clancy (Sarsfields); Aaron Breen (Glynn-Barntown, 0-1), Brian Deeny (Volunteers, capt.); Michael Carroll (Glynn-Barntown, 0-3 frees), Adam Cantwell (St. Martin's, 1-0), Jack Devereux (St. Martin's); Diarmuid Barry (St. Martin's, 1-0), Liam O'Connor (St. Mary's, Rosslare), Dylan Lyne (Glynn-Barntown). Subs. - Ryan Furlong (Sarsfields) for Barry (43), Jake Clancy (Sarsfields) for Pettit, black card (60+2).
Coláiste Eoin: Stiofan O Mathúna; Colm Mac Giolla Phádraig, Fiachra Potts, Micheál Mac Eoin; Conor Cinseallach (1-2, 1-1 pens.), Diarmuid O Floinn, Naoise Moynihan-O Brádaigh; Jack O Tuama, Peadar O Cofaigh-Byrne (capt.); Antaine O Cuinn, Tomás O hEachthigheirn (1-0), Des O Dúgáin; Pádraig Puirséil, Fionn O Ceallaigh (0-8, 5 frees), Tomás O Néill (0-2). Subs. - Cian Mac Dáibhéad for O Dúgáin (HT), Eoin O Ceallacháin for O Néill (47), Séamus O Fiachna for O hEachthigheirn (56), Daire O Ceallacháin for Mac Giolla Phádraig (60+2).
Referee: John Hickey (Carlow).