FOR the second year in a row Ardscoil Ris have suffered semi-final heartbreak in the Dr Harty Cup - losing to Our Ladys College Templemore, 1-13 to 0-14.
Champions in 2010 and 2011 the North Circular Road secondary have lost out in the last two years after replays in the last four of the Munster senior A colleges hurling championship.
Just like the drawn game a week earlier, Ardscoil Ris weren’t at their best in this encounter but still could have booked a final spot against Dungarvan Colleges.
It was one of those days when the ball certainly didn’t bounce right for the Limerick men and they never managed to built up any period of sustained dominance.
The foundation for the Templemore win was laid in midfield and regardless of the combinations they tried, Ardscoil could not curb the excellent John McGrath and colleagues.
Ardscoil had Mark Buckley, Ronan Lynch, William O’Donoghue and Cian Lynch in fine form but management were forced to make numerous positional switches throughout the game in an effort to kick-start their challenge.
This was a semi-final, where Ardscoil were pretty much always playing catch-up to Templemore.
The Tipperary side started in fine fashion and points inside the opening three minutes were to be their cushion throughout.
That said, the sides were back level at 0-3 each at the end of the opening quarter.
After the shaky start, O’Donoghue and two efforts from placed balls from Cian O’Brien and Ronan Lynch tied up the game.
But already McGrath and his Templemore colleagues were on top in key areas, forcing Ardscoil to move Ronan Lynch from centre back to midfield and send Michael Foley in the opposite direction.
The tide was stemmed midway through the half when and O’Brien (free) and a fine Cian Lynch point had Ardscoil Ris 0-5 to 0-4 ahead.
Indeed the lead could have been greater but for a fine save by the Templemore goalkeeper after a fine shot by Cian Lynch.
Guerins in the Tipp goal was to deny Lynch twice in the opening half and this was to prove crucial in the final analysis.
Three successive points from McGrath snatched back the lead for Templemore at 0-7 to 0-5 with seven minutes to half time.
A great effort from Ronan Lynch and a Colin Crehan score levelled for the fourth time in the half but it was the eventual winners that finished the half on top with McGrath’s fifth free and a second John Joe Ryan point securing a 0-9 to 0-7 interval lead for the men in maroon.
Ardscoil needed to settle early in the second half but what transpired was quite the opposite with John McGrath crashing an unstoppable shot to the net after some hesitant defending.
Just 35-seconds had lapsed in the half when McGrath goaled and Ardscoil now found themselves 1-9 to 0-7 in arrears.
Two Ronan Lynch frees came in reply but with 19-minutes to play they still trailed 1-10 to 0-9.
Then came a purple patch for the Limerick city men.
Ronan Lynch and Michael O’Loughlin firing over superb points to reduce the lead to one point with 10-minutes to play 1-10 to 0-12.
But two errors handed two points to Templemore and time was running out for Ardscoil. Two more Lynch frees cut the gap once more, 1-12 to 0-14. But try as they did the goal never came with a late David Dempsey flick coming back off the cross bar.
SCORERS - Ardscoil Ris: Ronan Lynch 0-8 (5frees, ‘65), Cian O’Brien 0-2 (2frees), William O’Donoghue, Cian Lynch, Colin Crehan, Micheal O’Loughlin 0-1 each. Our Ladys College Templemore: John McGrath 1-7 (0-6frees), John Joe Ryan 0-3, James Bergin, Brian Kennedy, Tommy Nolan 0-1 each.
ARDSCOIL RIS - Conor Houlihan (Na Piarsaigh); Barry Fitzpatrick (Sixmilebridge), Mark Buckley (Na Piarsaigh), Josh O’Halloran (Na Piarsaigh); Eoghan Costelloe (Adare), Ronan Lynch (Na Piarsaigh), Andrew Carroll (Patrickswell); Michael Foley (Na Piarsaigh), William O’Donoghue, capt (Na Piarsaigh); Thomas Grimes (Na Piarsaigh), Eoin Keogh (Na Piarsaigh), David Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh); Cian O’Brien (Mungret), Cian Lynch (Patrickswell), Colin Crehan (O’Callaghans Mills). Subs: Michael Casey (Na Piarsaigh) for Fitzpatrick (h-t), Michael O’Loughlin (Clonlara) for Keogh (37mins), Ian Galvin (Clonlara) for O’Brien (41mins), Jack English (Adare) for Crehan (55mins).
OUR LADYS COLLEGE TEMPLEMORE - Sean Patrick Guerins; Denis Breeton, Jason Ryan, James Bergin; Padraig Hogan, Joseph Nyland, Michael Campion; Colin O’Riordan, John McGrath; Dylan Carey, Brian Kennedy, Tommy Nolan; Jamie Bergin, John Joe Ryan, Tommy Maher. Subs: Tommy Brett for Hogan (47mins), Dean McEntee for Maher (56mins).
REFEREE - Johnny Ryan (Tipperary).