Power the driving force as St Kieran's late surge proves crucial
St Kieran's College 3-7
Castlecomer CS 0-7
Leinster Colleges SHC 'A'
Deadly attacker John Power, brother of Kilkenny star Richie, was the hero of the hour when St Kieran's College retained the title at Nowlan Park yesterday.
Power scored a magnificent 2-6 as the current All-Ireland champions repeated their Leinster League final win over Kilkenny rivals, Castlecomer Community School to snatch their 52nd provincial title.
Kieran's were made battle for the honours by dogged opponents, who were a mere two points behind 12 minutes from the end after dragging themselves back into contention (1-6 to 0-7).
However, within minutes it was all over and Kieran's were on their way into the All-Ireland semi-finals. In the 51st minute Power got to the end of a lovely through- ball from Diarmuid Cody and from 10 metres flicked the sliotar into the net over the head of the advancing 'keeper.
Within a minute, the duo repeated the act, but this time Cody applied an expert finish when he flicked the ball into the net. All of a sudden 'Comer found themselves 0-7 to 3-7 down and the game was more or less gone from them.
The losers earned a penalty minutes later, but Charles Dwyer's expertly struck effort was saved and the ball was cleared. The losers quality for the All-Ireland quarter-finals.
Early on the exchanges were even and twice the scores were level. John Power shot his first goal in the 15th minute when he punished hesitancy in the losers defence to put Kieran's in front,
1-2 to 0-2.
The winners dominated midfield and with the half-back line of Cathal O'Neill, Pat O'Carroll and Enda Morrissey also in top form they kept the opposition on a tight rein. By half-time Kieran's were leaders by
1-5 to 0-3, with Power having contributed 1-4.
Castlecomer dug in after the turn, and with Charlie Dwyer picking off points when rare opportunities presented themselves, they looked set to put the squeeze on the opposition when they pulled the difference back to 0-7 to 1-6.
Enter Power again and with a touch of genius he as good as decided the issue.
Scorers -- St Kieran's College: J Power 2-6 (6f), D Cody 1-0, C Buckley 0-1. Castlecomer CS: C Dwyer 0-6 (5f), B Brophy 0-1.
St Kieran's College -- S Johnson; L Hickey, W Phelan, R O'Hanrahan; C O'Neill, P O'Carroll, E Morrissey; P Butler, C O'Shea; J Power, A Cleere, C Buckley; J Nolan, M Brennan, D Cody. Subs: R Reid for Nolan (23), P Kennelly for A Cleere (48), T O'Hanrahan for Buckley (56), M Donnelly for Reid (57).
Castlecomer CS -- D Breen; K Delaney, R Healy, N Callinan; R Kinsella, B Cahill, D Dunne; P Keating, D Moran; E Brennan, R Moran, C Dwyer; S Daly, B Brophy, L Maher Subs: A Carron for R Moran (inj) 40, E Bergin for B Brophy 45
REF -- P O'Dwyer (Carlow)