Ardscoil Ris draw Harty Cup semi-final

Ardscoil Ris must play Our Lady’s of Templemore again in the Harty Cup semi-final after the sides finished level on Sunday afternoon. The final score was Ardscoil Ris 1-11 Our Lady’s 0-14.

Ardscoil Ris must play Our Lady’s of Templemore again in the Harty Cup semi-final after the sides finished level on Sunday afternoon. The final score was Ardscoil Ris 1-11 Our Lady’s 0-14.

AN afternoon of mixed emotions. While it was Our Lady’s Templemore who dramatically came from behind to force a replay in injury time in this Dr Harty Cup semi-final at MacDonagh Park, Nenagh, the over-riding emotion among the Ardscoil Ris’ management team at the full-time whistle was one of relief.

Our Lady’s, Templemore, inspired by midfielders Colin O’Riordan and John McGrath, held the upperhand for the majority of this fiercely competitive fixture played on an understandably heavy pitch, given all the recent rain.

Trailing by five points at half-time, but with wind advantage to come in the second period, 2010 and 2011 champions Ardscoil looked in a strong position to reel in the Tipperary side.

Templemore’s 0-9 to 0-4 advantage interval lead would have been significantly greater but for some wayward shooting, with the wind-assisted Tipp students racking up seven wides in the opening 12 minutes alone. At the other end, Ardscoil failed to record a single score for the 16 minutes between the eighth and 24th minutes.

When the expected Ardscoil Ris rally failed to materialise in the third quarter and with Our Lady’s maintaining their five-point advantage with 15 minutes remaining, Ardscoil looked in serious trouble.

The North Circular Road side had moved hard-working Cian Lynch to midfield for the second half in a bid to curb the influence McGrath and O’Riordan were having there for the Templemore side.

However, the crucial score of the game arrived in the 46th minute when David Dempsey set up Colin Crehan with an exquisitely-placed pass and the O’Callaghan Mills’ clubman showed terrific composure to rifle the ball to the back of the Tipp side’s net.

It was the score Ardscoil had craved and the quality of their hurling improved significantly as a result.

While the likes of Cian and the excellent Ronan Lynch – who struck a sweet point from a sideline cut in the third quarter – goalscorer Crehan, Cian O’Brien, and defenders Josh O’Halloran and Mark Buckley had been especially to that point for the Limerick side, the team as a whole upped its performance level several notches over the remainder of the game. Topscorer Cian O’Brien brought Ardscoil level with his fifth pointed free in the 50th minute. Both sides traded further points – Ronan Lynch firing over for Ardscoil – before O’Brien pointed the Limerick side in front in the 60th minute from a free.

However, the drama wasn’t done yet. Our Lady’s drew level in the second minute of stoppage time when John McGrath found Man of the Match Colin O’Riordan with a quickly taken free and the midfielder landed the equaliser, his fifth point from play.

A draw was the fairest outcome, with both sides hoping to learn valuable lessons in time for next weekend’s replay. Ardscoil will be confident they have the greater room for improvement. They will need to up the work rate and intensity in their play to overcome a determined Our Lady’s side. It is always an encouraging sign for a side when it is not performing to their full potential, but can still salvage a positive result.

The winners of the replay will face Dungarvan Colleges in the Dr Harty Cup final on February 24.

Niall Crowe, joint-manager of Ardscoil Ris side, along with fellow teacher Victor Leyden, said: “I feel relief, to be honest. I think until we got the goal, Templemore were the better side.

“We were pretty fortunate to get a draw even though we didn’t think it was a free at the end. We are looking forward to next weekend already.” The replay takes place next Saturday at 2.30pm in Nenagh again.

SCORERS – Ardscoil Ris: Cian O’Brien (0-6, all frees), Colin Crehan (1-1), Ronan Lynch (0-3, 0-1 free, 0-1 sideline cut), Michael O’Loughlin (0-1).Our Lady’s: John McGrath (0-7, 0-5 frees), Colin O’Riordan (0-5), Dylan Carey, Brian Kennedy (0-1) each.

ARDSCOIL RIS – Conor Houlihan (Na Piarsaigh); Barry Fitzpatrick (Sixmilebridge), Mark Buckley (Na Piarsaigh, Josh O’Halloran (Na Piarsaigh); Michael Casey (Na Piarsaigh), Ronan Lynch (Na Piarsaigh), Andrew Carroll (Patrickswell); Michael Foley (Na Piarsaigh), William O’Donoghue (Na Piarsaigh) (Capt); Cian O’Brien (Mungret), Cian Lynch (Patrickswell), David Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh); Colin Crehan (O’Callaghan Mills), Eoin Keogh (Na Piarsaigh), Michael O’Loughlin (Crecora). Subs: Eoghan Costelloe (Adare), for Casey (38 mins), Kieran Daly (Na Piarsaigh) for O’Loughlin (54 mins).

OUR LADY’S – Sean Patrick Guerins; James Bergin, Jason Ryan, Denis Brereton, Michael Campion, Joseph Nyland, Padraig Hogan; Colin O’Riordan, John McGrath; Tommy Nolan, Dylan Carey, Brian Kennedy; Dean McEnroe, Tommy Maher, John Joe Ryan. Subs: Bill O’Connell for Ryan (25 mins), Jamie Bergin for McEnroe (half-time), Tommy Brett for Maher (37 mins), Jack Fogarty for Carey (55 mins).

REFEREE – Ger O’Connell (Cork)