LISNAGRY National School have won the Limerick Leader Cup for the first time.
The Limerick Leader Cup is contested by the 15-a-side A champions of each of the four Cumann na mBunscol Divisions in Limerick.
Lisnagry NS overcame west Limerick champions Mahoonagh NS in the final at Mick Neville Park in Rathkeale in a closely contested final to claim the trophy for the first time.
Lisnagry NS previously contested the final in 2005 when injury caused current Limerick star Dan Morrissey to miss out on the final which was won by Scoil Iosaf, Adare who included Declan Hannon in their ranks.
The competition has been dominated in recent years by Doon CBS who were winners on four consecutive occasions from 2015 to 2018.
In the final Cathal O'Mara was lethal from placed balls for Lisnagry NS while Tomás Roche matched him from play and frees for Mahoonagh NS. Conor Ryan, who had scored two goals in the semi-final, was tightly marked by tenacious Mahoonagh defenders who denied him space and time. Lisnagry NS just about edged matters and led by two points at half-time - Lisnagry NS 0-5 Mahoonagh NS 0-3.
Cathal O'Mara opened the scoring after the break with a long range free and Tomás Roche replied for Mahoonagh NS. O'Mara pointed another free for Lisnagry and Roche responded for Mahoonagh NS. The game was turning into a shoot-out between two boys who have worn the Limerick jersey in the Primary Game in 2019.
Centre back Jack Cosgrave took over long-range free-taking duties for Lisnagry NS and he was unerring with two efforts from distance. Tomás Roche scored another fine point from a placed ball but two further frees from Cathal O'Mara sealed victory for the boys from Lisnagry on a final score; 0-12 to 0-5.
After the final, Joe Lyons,Chairman of Allianz Cumann na mBuscol presented the Limerick Leader Cup to Lisnagry NS captain James Rennison and his delighted teammates.
Mr Lyons thanked the teachers, mentors and parents who had worked so hard to give the young players the opportunity to play and to fulfil their potential. He thanked referees Seán Hartnett and Mike O'Flaherty for their efficient stewardship of the games. He also thanked Noel Hartigan, Games Manager Limerick GAA and especially Brother James Dormer, Rúnaí of Allianz Cumann na mBunscol Luimnigh, who ensured all competitions ran so smoothly from last September to this, the final day of the season.
Former Principal of Lisnagry NS Paul Kennedy was in attendance and was delighted with the victory which had eluded the school for so long. Players such as Ollie, Niall and James Moran, Seán O'Connor and Tom and Dan Morrissey learned their hurling in the school colours under Paul’s tutelage. This tradition has been carried on by current Principal Michael Feeney and his fellow coach Kevin Raftery while former Tipperary star Shane McGrath contributed greatly during his years in the school.
Lisnagry NS panel: Cian O Leary, Harry Clohessy, John O Connor, Cathal O Mara, , James O Malley, Eoin Coughlan, Ben Fogarty, Cian Power, Seán Roche, Jack Cosgrave, Owen Clifford, Seán Lucey, Sam Hourigan, Liam Óg Glynn, John O’ Brien, Conor Ryan, James Rennison (capt), Ronan Butler, Eoin Murrihy, Liam Connolly, Anton Donohoe. Coaches: Michael Feeney and Kevin Raftery.
Lisnagry NS 2-10, Scoil Dean Cussen, Bruff 1-5 and Mahoonagh NS 4-8. Milford NS 6-1.
Lisnagry NS had to battle to overcome South champions Scoil Dean Cussen in the semi final which was in the balance from start to finish.
Lisnagry NS led by a goal at half-time on a scoreline of 1-4 to 0-4, having played against the wind. Lisnagry’s goal was scored by corner forward Conor Ryan who added a second goal in the dying minutes to seal a hard fought victory over a dogged and skilful Bruff outfit. Charlie Cronin was unerring from frees and play and emerged as the top scorer for Scoil Dean Cussen for whom Primary Game player Mikey Quaid and goalkeeper Mark Purtill were impressive throughout.
West champions Mahoonagh NS defeated City champions Milford NS in the other semi final to book their place in the decider. In a high scoring game, Milford NS full forward Matthew Fitzgerald scored SIX goals and still ended up on the losing side. Milford enjoyed wind advantage in the opening half and their tactic of providing Matthew Fitzgerald with good possession saw him raise no fewer than five white flags. He also added a point from a free for good measure. However, it was not all one way traffic and goals from Pat Cagney and two from Tomás Roche ensured that Alan Kelly’s charges were well in contention when the sides changed ends at half-time with Milford NS leading by 5-1 to 3-4.
Fitzgerald began the second half as he had ended the first by scoring another fine goal but Mahoonagh NS with Tomás Roche in lethal form, ably assisted by Fionn Meehan, tacked on scores steadily to win by the narrowest of margins.
An interested spectator was former Limerick great Eamon Cregan whose grandson Aaron was prominent for the city side.