Sport Hurling

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Hannon strike keeps epic story rolling on

Ard Scoil Ris 2-21
Thurles CBS 4-15
(After extra-time)

Jackie Cahill

A spontaneous round of applause and a standing ovation from 2,090 spellbound spectators at McDonagh Park in Nenagh on Saturday was richly deserved as holders Nenagh CBS and Ardscoil Ris fought out another epic stalemate.

This time, 80 minutes failed to separate the two teams in the final and Munster Colleges chiefs were locked in talks with both schools last night to finalise a midweek replay.

For the eventual winners comes the glory, but the losers will have to regroup quickly for an All-Ireland quarter-final showdown with Leinster runners-up Kilkenny CBS next Saturday.

It will be a big ask for the Munster runners-up to go again in such a short space of time, as both sides showed desperate determination to get their hands on the coveted silverware on Saturday.

Eleven times they were level, as Declan Hannon's magnificent point at the death secured a second replay for Ardscoil Ris, who are attempting to win this competition for the first time.

Thurles, much changed for the replay, remain in the hunt for back-to-back titles for the first time since 1951 and crucially, they will have centre-forward Aidan McCormack available after suspension for the third encounter.

In contrast, wing-back and fortuitous long-range goalscorer Cathal McInerney will miss out for Ardscoil Ris after he was sent off by match referee David Copps six minutes after half-time.

Ardscoil Ris played the remainder of the second half with 14 players, before returning to a full compliment for extra-time with the re-introduction of Adrian Breen.

The pendulum swung one way and then another in the two extra periods of 10 minutes as both sides netted goals before the magical Michael O'Brien banged over four unanswered points to hand Thurles a one-point lead.

But after John Fitzgibbon had levelled at the end of normal time, just as he had done in the first match, the inspirational Hannon stepped forward to set up another titanic encounter between two superb teams.

And you won't find anybody complaining about the prospect of seeing these two battle it out again.

Once again, it was O'Brien who called the tune for Thurles, despite carrying an injury into the game.

The Clonmel Og marksman, nephew of Tipperary County Board chairman, finished with 10 points while Denis Maher, another pre-match injury concern, bagged two goals in a forward role.

Fitzgibbon and Hannon were again in good form and Fitzgibbon's substitution in the first game has filled him with utter determination, illustrated perfectly by his brilliant score from the left touchline to tie the scores at 1-16 to 3-10 after 60 minutes.

Scorers -- Ardscoil Ris: D Hannon 1-5 (0-4f), J Fitzgibbon 0-8 (0-6f), C McInerney 1-0, S Dowling, N Kennedy, J Shanahan 0-2 each, M Ryan, K Downes 0-1 each. Thurles CBS: M O'Brien 0-10 (0-7f), D Maher 2-0 (1-0 pen), P Ralph 1-2 (1-0f), K Slattery 1-0, T Doyle 0-3.

ARDSCOIL RIS -- PJ Hall; M Carmody, E McCarthy, A Dempsey; C McInerney, S Dowling, M Moroney; S O'Brien, N Kennedy; M Ryan, D Hannon, B O'Connor; J Fitzgibbon, K Downes, A Breen. Subs: J Shanahan for Ryan (39), C Keogh for Breen (55), K Keane for O'Connor (56), A Breen back on for extra time, M Ryan for Keane (75).

THURLES CBS -- A Stakelum; P Dunne, C Carroll, J Bourke; P Looby, J Meagher, C Barrett; S Maher, P Ralph; B Campion, J Bergin, T Doyle; M O'Brien, D Maher, C Hammersly.

Subs: K Slattery for Campion (27), C Treacy for Hammersly (51), N O'Brien for Bergin (58), Hammersly for Treacy (71).

Ref -- D Copps (Cork)

Irish Independent

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