Purcell strike sinks Thurles
De La Salle sub Danny Purcell shot a wonderful long range 60th-minute point to give the Waterford school back-to-back Croke Cup titles in this All-Ireland Colleges A final replay at Nowlan Park, Kilkenny yesterday.
There was an unruly start with far too many off-the-ball incidents but the defending champions settled first with right full-forward Stephen Power scoring the game's opening 1-3, the goal being a crashing drive from a close-range free on 11 minutes.
On 23 minutes the Waterford school looked to have a strong grip when Jake Dillon set up left full-forward Pauric Mahony for a fine goal which put them 2-3 to 0-2 ahead.
But this Thurles side is not one to fold. And the Tipperary lads, favoured by the wind, fought back commendably and were greatly boosted by a well-taken goal on 28 minutes from full forward Kieran Morris, a score which had them back in the game 2-3 to 1-2.
By half time the defending champions led 2-4 to 1-3 and looked well set for victory with wind advantage to come.
But Thurles turned the game on its head in the third quarter and gained the initiative. With Kieran Morris and John O'Neill acting as a two-man full-forward line the DLS full-back line became a little disrupted. It was Morris who reached high to grab the sliotar and crash home a 44th-minute goal which put the Tipperary school ahead for the first time 2-5 to 2-4.
De La Salle regained the lead but with captain Kevin O'Gorman, James Barry, Rory Ryan, Patrick O'Brien, Kieran Morris and John O'Neill playing out of their skins Thurles levelled. Paurice Mahony and Kieran Morris, who finished with 2-5, traded points, and with extra time beckoning up popped Mooncoin man Purcell to shoot the winning point and keep the Croke Cup in the Deise.
Scorers -- De La Salle: P Mahony, S Power (1-1f, 65) 1-3 each, D Purcell 0-2, P McCarthy 0-1. Thurles CBS: K Morris 2-5 (3f), R Ryan, C Shelley, A McComrack 0-1 each.
De La Salle: S O'Keeffe; R Cunningham, B Coughlan, O Keevers; N Connors, P Mahony, S Daniels; K Fitzgerald, E Barrett; J Dillon, N Clifford, P McCarthy; S Power, B O'Sullivan, P Mahony. Subs: D Purcell for Cunningham (32), D Smith for Cliffrord (45), I Power for O'Sullivan (59)
Thurles CBS: B McCormack; S Maher, K O'Gorman, P Ryan; M Doyle, J Barry, R Ryan; D Maher, P O'Brien; C Shelley, M Russel, C Ryan; D Butler, K Morris, J O'Neill. Subs: A McCormack for Butler (47), M Green for Russell (59)
Referee: J Owens (Wexford)