Ardscoil Ris through to All Ireland final

Jerome O’Connell

Reporter:

Jerome O’Connell

ARDSCOIL Ris are back in the All-Ireland senior A colleges hurling championship final and they have revenge on their minds as they will meet Kilkenny kingpins St Kierans College in the final in Semple Stadium on April 2.

ARDSCOIL Ris are back in the All-Ireland senior A colleges hurling championship final and they have revenge on their minds as they will meet Kilkenny kingpins St Kierans College in the final in Semple Stadium on April 2.

ARDSCOIL Ris are back in the All-Ireland senior A colleges hurling championship final and they have revenge on their minds as they will meet Kilkenny kingpins St Kierans College in the final in Semple Stadium on April 2.

Ardscoil lost last year’s decider to Kieran’s but the sides will renew rivalaries with the Limerick city hoping to make amends for last year’s defeat.

After cruising past Charleville CBS in the Munster final, this All-Ireland semi-final again proved to be largely one-sided in favour of the North Circular Road secondary school.

“It was tough at times in the first half – we had the wind and there was 15-minutes gone and we were only up by three or four points and we felt at that stage that we would need a more substantial lead but maybe it was easier than we expected in the end,” recalled Ardscoil Ris manager Niall Moran.

After playing with the wind the Limerick side led 2-8 to 0-1 at half-time.

“We said at half time that we needed for the first 10 minutes of the second half to keep our lead and to try and put down the challenge of Castlecomer and we did it and maybe in the last 15-minutes with the introduction of some of our subs we were clincial,” explained Moran.

Ardscoil did concede five successive points on the change of ends, but steadied the ship to cruise towards the final whistle.

“We know that we have a major challenge ahead of us in two weeks time and there will be 60-minutes of hell ahead of us, but hopefully we will be ready for it. When we came back at the start of the year the goal was to get back to an All-Ireland final and we are in that position now. The goal was to get back into it but this time we want to come out with All-Ireland medals,” said Moran.

After a somewhat unconinving start, Ardscoil Ris thundered into the game in the 12th minute when Brendan O’Connor crashed home a superb goal.

Ardscoil had two points on the board at that stage but had hit three wides and looked tentative.

But when O’Connor was played into position with an overlap up the right, the Croagh-Kilfinny man crashed across the goal to the top right corner.

All of a sudden the Ardscoil confidence of old returned.

Oisin Hickey and Shane Dowling added points and they were 1-4 clear.

It was the 17th minute before Castlecomer were to open their account when Luke Maher pointed.

Castlecomer retreated a corner forward into midfield, but the one way traffic still continued towards half-time.

Damien Moloney and Martin Moroney were tops in defence, while Mark Carmody and Oisin Hickey were the pick of the attack.

Carmody pointed after the Maher score and then Dowling added another two frees.

At 1-7 to 0-1 Ardscoil were in control but better was to come when Hickey found the net in the 26th minute.

The speedy attacker finished calmly when flicking to the net past the advancing keeper. Ardscoil hit six wides in the half but another O’Connor point helped them to a 13-point interval lead.

Twelve months ago in the same ground against Kilkenny CBS in the semi-final Ardscoil also held an early advantage. The half time team-talk warned of a fightback and sure enough it materialised.

O’Connor increased their lead within 30-seconds of the change of ends, but then Castlecomer hit five successive points.Three came from play and two from frees as Ardscoil lost focus amid a spirited period from the Leinster runners-up.

But soon normal service resumed.When this Ardscoil side need leaders they appear and so it was again.

Dowling pointed from distance and then Carmody finished with some aplomb from the right wing. Dowling added a free and the lead was back to 12-points, 2-12 to 0-6 entering the final quarter.

Ardscoil were then in a position to introduce five substitues. Proving that there is much competition for places, two of those new faces put scores on the board, Patrickswell youngsters, Jack Kelliher and Cian Lynch firing over.