Athenry revel in three-in-a-row as sharpshooter Niland steals show
Pres Athenry 2-17 Gort CS 1-16
Presentation Athenry manager Joe Kelly was thrilled with his side after they secured their third provincial schools hurling crown in a row with a hard-earned victory over Gort Community School at Pearse Stadium on Saturday.
An impressive Pres side must now go back to the training ground and prepare for a clash with the Munster champions or the Leinster losers in the All-Ireland semi-final on Saturday, March 12.
With nine of the Galway minors that beat Tipperary in last year's All-Ireland final to call upon, the Athenry outfit had all of the experience required here, even after they fell behind to an 11th-minute Brian Mullins goal.
In stark contrast, Gort only had centre-back Cianan Fahy from the victorious minor contingent on show and they were unable to maintain their early momentum.
Athenry hit back with first-half goals from last year's Galway minor captain Sean Loftus and fellow county star Brian Concannon to lead 2-10 to 1-8 at half-time.
And with Tribesmen sharpshooter Evan Niland deadly accurate from the placed ball despite the difficult conditions- he shot 12 points - Pres were on their way to another crown.
"We are delighted with the victory, we always knew coming into the game that it was going to be a hard fought encounter," said Kelly.
"We played them earlier on in the year and they came out on top on that occasion.
"Over the last two years we have played them and both games have ended in a draw. So we knew there was going to be much in it there," he added.
SCORERS - Pres College Athenry: E Niland 0-12 (10f, 1 '65, 0-1 pen); S Loftus 1-2; B Concannon 1-1; L Forde, C McDaid 0-1 each. Gort Community School: C Noonan 0-8 (0-8f); B Mullins 1-1; E Fahy 0-4; E Egan 0-3.
Pres College Athenry: M Fahy; S Bannon, I O'Shea, F Garvey; A Greaney, J Fitzpatrick, C McDaid; S Parr, S Loftus; P Foley, R Hardiman, C Walsh; E Niland, B Concannon, L Forde. Subs: C Salmon for Walsh (39), O Connolly for Garvey (49), W Corcoran for Parr (54), A Martyn for McDaid (61), M Kennedy for Forde (63).
Gort CS: L Byrne; D Fahy, S Cosgrave, B Burke; S Fahy, C Fahy, S Murtagh; J Prendergast, J Cronin-Rodgers; M Lynskey, C Noonan, B Mullins; M Caulfield, E Fahy, E Egan. Sub: C O'Shea for Caulfield (37).
Ref - J Keane (Galway).