Ard Scoil overcome inconsistent Flannans challenge
Harty Cup semi final
ARD SCOIL RIS.......2-19
By Michael O Connor.
Champions by their nature hate to lose their crown and challengers are often nervous to take the chances to snatch the honours. This could in some way describe an entertaining hard fought game in solid conditions at the Gaelic grounds, Limerick as Ard Scoil continue their hoodoo over many time winners St Flannans. The pace and skill allied to smart play by the Limerick school's forwards caused untold trouble for Flannans as they could never consistently dominate the game as Ard Scoil Ris looked more comfortable in the scoring stakes.
St Flannans over the summer had been buoyed by repeat students including a number of high profile clare minors returning to study giving hope of an extended run in the Harty cup. Ard Scoil Ris possessed a number of the key men that had brought them to the All Ireland final last year and the bookies from early season had the Harty Champions at short odds to reach a second harty final in a row.
Tony Kelly who was the key player over the hour for the Ennis side opened the scoring with a converted free in the first minute. Shane Dowling threw down the gauntlet to a sluggish Flannans rearguard racing clear to score Ard Scoil Ris's first score Flannans rode their luck when Kevin O Brien's effort for a goal cannoned off Eoin Enright's crossbar after three minutes. Brendan O Connor, John Fitzgibbon, Shane Dowling and Mark Carmody with the first of three first half points had Flannans chasing shadows racing four clear after seven minutes.
Tony Kelly showed why Ballyea can be looking forward to a rising star as he dragged Flannans into the game with three scores in three minutes allied to a single effort from midfield partner Jarlath Colleran as the sides were level on (0-05) apiece at the end of the first quarter. Indeed it was a proud moment for Ballyea as they possessed one third of the St Flannans side. Shane Dowling (3) restored a shortlived two point lead either side of Conor O Gormans opening score after an astute pass from Alan O Neill.
The competitive nature of St Flannans improved considerably as they traded score for score with Ard Scoil in the second quarter to retire a point clear at the break on a (0-12) to (0-11) scoreline. Dowling (5) in the second quarter and Mark Carmody were the champions point scorers as O Gorman (2), Kelly (3) and O Leary were the Flannans sharpshooters. St Flannans never really looked like scoring a goal and depended almost exclusively on Tony Kelly and to a lesser extent O Gorman in the first half for scores.
With no wind to factor into either sides performance it was on an even footing that the second half commenced and when Tony Kelly was on target straight after the throw in it appeared as if Ard Scoil might be forced on the back foot. The intervening five minutes witnessed (1-5) materialise in scores with the Limerick school hitting all bar a point of this. Shane Dowling (1-2) with the goal coming from a 21 yard free. Mark Carmody and John Fitzgibbon added points to a solitary response from Kelly. Stephen O Halloran and Seadna Morey were struggling to dominate as were the forwards with Ard Scoil Ris definitely the more complete side. (1-1) in a minute from Meelicks Oisin Hickey effectively appeared to end Flannans challenge as they were eight points behind entering the final fifteen minutes.
The key passage of play that allowed the last ten minutes to be so exciting was created by Shane O Donnell who struck three points in three minutes with Tony Kelly adding two frees as three points was now the Ard Scoil lead with six minutes of normal time. Ard Scoild Ris were living dangerously and saw Peter Duggan and especially Alan O Neill go within inches of scoring the all important goal. Tony Kelly (3) and Jack Kelleher hit points to leave two points in the game before Ard Scoil full forward John Fitzgibbon secured safety and a place in the harty final with a late late point.
The winners has solid displays from P.J Hall, Barry O Connell, Declan Hannon, Ciaran Keogh, mark Carmody, Shane Dowling, John Fitzgibbon and Oisin Hickey. St Flannans will be bitterly disappointed as they played well within themselves with key players below par and yet were only one score away at the end without ever hitting the Ard Scoil net. Their lack of game enhancing subs was evident and costly. Their best were Tony Kelly, Conor O Gorman, Gearoid O Connell, Martin O Leary, Shane O Donnell and Enda Boyce.
ARD SCOIL RIS: P.J Hall, Martin Lynch, Barry O Connell, Damian Moloney (Meelick), Alan Dempsey, Declan Hannon, Ciaran Keogh, Jamie Shanahan (Sixmilebridge), Martin Moroney (Parteen), Mark Carmody (0-3), Shane Dowling (1-10), Brendan O Connor (0-1), Kevin O Brien, John Fitzgibbon (0-3), Oisin Hickey (1-1). Subs: Jack Kelleher (0-1)
ST FLANNANS: Eoin Enright (Kilmaley), Seadna Morey (Sixmilebridge), Gearoid O Connell (Ballyea). Conor O Loughlin (Crusheen), Enda Boyce (Cratloe), Stephen O Halloran (Clarecastle), Cathal Doohan (Ballyea) Tony Kelly (Ballyea)(0-14), Jarlath Colleran (Doora-Barefield)(0-1), Conor O Gorman (Clarecastle)(0-3), Martin O Leary (Ballyea)(0-1), Peter Duggan (Clooney/Quin), Shane O Donnell (Eire-og)(0-3), Alan O Neill (St Josephs), Jack Browne (Ballyea). Subs: Noel Purcell (Sixmilebridge) for O Loughlin, David Barry (Clooney/Quin) for O Neill,
REFEREE; Noel Cosgrove (Tipperary).
Michael O Connor
Gaelic games officer
Árd Scoil Rís show class of champions
Árd Scoil Rís 2-19 St Flannan's (Ennis) 0-22
By Fintan O'Toole
Monday, February 07, 2011
DEFENDING champions Árd Scoil Rís get a stab at retaining their Dr Harty Cup title after prevailing against St Flannan's in a thrilling semi-final at the Gaelic Grounds yesterday. There was plenty anticipation before this tie after the splendid form both teams had shown in the quarter-finals and the standard of hurling matched those expectations. Emerging from a tight clash firmly establishes the Limerick school's credentials to claim silverware and they will enter the final later this month emboldened.
After a closely contested first-half where the teams traded points relentlessly, Árd Scoil Rís made a decisive burst in the third quarter. They outscored their Clare opponents by 2-6 to 0-3 and managing to plunder the only two goals of the game crucially swung matters in their direction. The first arrived in the 38th minute when Shane Dowling rocketed a 20-yard free to the net after John Fitzgibbon had been bundled to the ground. Árd Scoil Rís maintained the momentum and in the 45th minute a lengthy clearance from Declan Hannon evaded the St Flannan's rearguard, allowing Oisín Hickey to sprint clear and confidently crash the ball past goalkeeper Eoin Enright. St Flannan's conjured up a spirited revival in the closing stages that almost saw them steal the honours. The switch of the outstanding Tony Kelly to attack aided their cause while corner-forward Shane O'Donnell burst into the game as the Árd Scoil Rís defence struggled to cope with his tricky and incisive play. O'Donnell reeled off three lovely points and when he was hauled down in the 54th minute, Kelly banged over the free to leave it 2-17 to 0-20 in favour of Árd Scoil Rís.
The finale was frenetic as St Flannan's pounded the Árd Scoil Rís rearguard and they did manage to create goal opportunities. But crucially they failed to raise a green flag from either opening. Árd Scoil Rís netminder PJ Hall diverted a close-range whip by Alan O'Neill out for a '65 in the 55th minute and then three minutes later O'Neill flicked the ball towards the net in a crowded goalmouth but the ball rolled inches past the post. Árd Scoil Rís had established an adequate cushion on the scoreboard to survive while the composure of substitute Jack Kelleher and Fitzgibbon was important as they landed late points. The game was illuminated by two exceptional individual scoring returns. Dowling contributed a dazzling tally of 1-10 to the Árd Scoil Rís cause while Kelly racked up a wonderful total of 0-14 for St Flannan's.
St Flannan's were grateful for Kelly's brilliance at the start as they struggled to stifle Árd Scoil Rís in plenty other sectors. The Limerick team sprinted 0-5 to 0-1 clear by the 8th minute with Fitzgibbon and Mark Carmody both illustrating their offensive capabilities. Kelly managed to ignite St Flannan's challenge with a series of accurate shots from play and frees, and the teams were level at 0-5 apiece by the 12th minute. From there until the break, the hurling was of an extremely high standard with Kelly and Dowling leading the way for their respective teams. Clarecastle attacker Conor O'Gorman did emerge as a potent force for St Flannan's at wing-forward as he weighed in with three first-half points. Scores by centre-forward Martin O'Leary, Kelly with a brace and O'Gorman altered the complexion of the match approaching the interval as St Flannan's moved from 0-8 to 0-6 down to be ahead by 0-10 to 0-8.
Árd Scoil Rís responded courtesy of Dowling and Carmody to regain the lead by 0-11 to 0-10 but it was St Flannan's who closed out the half in style with points by Kelly and O'Gorman edging them in front by 0-12 to 0-11. St Flannan's did open the second-half in a positive fashion but they were unnerved by the third quarter scoring burst by Árd Scoil Rís, and particularly the goals that Dowling and Hickey registered. Despite a rousing comeback, the Limerick school deservedly advanced to a final meeting with Charleville CBS.
Scorers for Árd Scoil Rís: S Dowling 1-10 (1-7 frees, one '65); O Hickey 1-1; M Carmody, J Fitzgibbon 0-3 each; B O'Connor, J Kelleher 0-1 each.
Scorers for St Flannan's: T Kelly 0-14 (nine frees, one '65); C O'Gorman, S O'Donnell 0-3 each; M O'Leary, J Colleran 0-1 each.
ARD SCOIL RÍS: PJ Hall; K Lynch, B O'Connell, D Moloney; A Dempsey, D Hannon, C Keogh; J Shanahan, M Carmody; M Moroney, S Dowling, B O'Connor; K O'Brien, J Fitzgibbon, O Hickey.
Subs: C Lynch for O'Connor (51), J Kelleher for Keogh (55).
ST FLANNAN'S: E Enright; S Morey, G O'Connell, C O'Loughlin; E Boyce, S O'Halloran, C Doohan; T Kelly, J Colleran; P Duggan, M O'Leary, C O'Gorman; S O'Donnell, A O'Neill, J Browne.
Subs: N Purcell for O'Loughlin (50), R O'Loughlin for Browne (56), D Barry for O'Neill (60).
Referee: Noel Cosgrave (Tipperary)
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