Thurles eyeing All-Ireland repeat after latest success
Thurles CBS 2-12 Rochestown1-12
THURLES CBS mentor Niall Cahill turned his attentions towards the All-Ireland series following Saturday's Munster Post-Primary Schools SHC final victory over St Francis College, Rochestown.
When Thurles previously won the Harty Cup in 2009, they went on to claim Croke Cup glory later in spring.
And Cahill has described the prospect of a repeat performance as "a big, big opportunity." Cahill paid tribute to his Thurles side, who battled from a point down with 11 minutes remaining to claim an eighth Harty Cup crown in Mallow.
And he said: "They trained over Christmas, they trained mid-term, if you asked them to train in the middle of the night, they'd come in.
"Their parents would bring them in and back them to the hilt. We couldn't thank the parents enough for the effort they've made.
"They were just so, so good all year. And they deserve it. They worked so hard. "Rochestown were brilliant as well, in fairness to them. It's so hard to get across the line and thankfully we did on this occasion.
"There was a huge crowd of Thurles people and they just live for it. They live for the competition."
Thurles were certainly well-represented in the 1931 attendance at the impressive Mallow complex.
But first-time Harty finalists Rochestown, who will now focus on football and next Saturday's Corn Uí Mhuirí decider, gave a good account of themselves and looked likely winners in the second half.
First-half goals from Kevin Duggan and outstanding midfielder Billy McCarthy helped Thurles to recover from the concession of Ciaran Cormack's 10th-minute goal, to lead at half time by 2-7 to 1-6.
But Rochestown were a point clear before McCarthy (two), Duggan and sub Michael Connors hit unanswered Thurles scores down the home straight.
Thurles lost free-taker Niall Heffernan to a second yellow card in the final minute as the wing-forward 'took one for the team', hauling down a Rochestown opponent in midfield as the Cork boys chased an equalising goal.
Cahill added: "In four weeks' time we're out again - I think we're playing the losers of Leinster or the losers of Connacht.
"It's a big, big opportunity and Ronan Heffernan will be coming back into the mix."
Shane Kingston and Cormack were very much to the fore for Rochestown, particularly in the first half as they bagged 1-5 between them.
Cormack scorched through for a sensational goal as Rochestown, playing with the breeze, led by 1-3 to 0-2 but Thurles were level at 1-4 each when Duggan netted in the 16th minute.
In a tie that was level five times, the sides were deadlocked at 1-6 each before Robbie Long's point was followed up by McCarthy's goal, whipped home at Andrew Cullinane's near post after captain Robbie Teehan supplied the diagonal ball.
Rochestown hit the opening four scores of the second half to draw level but Thurles would eventually prevail.
Scorers - Thurles CBS: B McCarthy 1-2, K Duggan 1-1, N Heffernan 0-4f, R Long 0-2, P Kennedy, R Teehan & M Connors 0-1 each. Rochestown: C Cormack 1-6 (0-5f), S Kingston 0-4, S Powter and D Meaney 0-1 each.
THURLES CBS: W Tierney; D Quirke, E Heffernan, J Derby; T Hayes, J Skehan, C McCullagh; B McCarthy, C Moloney; N Heffernan, K Duggan, P Kennedy; J Butler, R Teehan, R Long. Subs: M Connors for Butler (54), R Purcell for Moloney (56)
ROCHESTOWN: A Cullinane; D Murphy, J Cashman, N Walsh; D Kelliher, D Griffin, C Sheehan; E O'Brien, J O'Sullivan; C Cormack, D O'Mahony, S Kington; D Meaney, S Powter, L O'Sullivan. Subs: K O'Donovan for Sheehan (30), M McAuliffe for L O'Sullivan (33), J Holland for O'Mahony (37), L Dineen for O'Brien (60)
Ref - D Fox (Clare)