Rice College 2-7 Coláiste an Spiorad Naomh 2-4
Rice College Ennis were crowned Munster Colleges Corn Iognaid Rís champions (under 16½C) at Ballyhea in Cork on Wednesday when they overcame the challenge of Coláiste an Spiorad Naomh from Bishopstown in Cork.
The victory marked the first provincial hurling success by the school since 1979, a gap of 32 years, when they captured the senior B (Corn Phadraig) crown. Former Éire Óg player, Pa Lynch was a member of that side and his son Liam played at wing-forward in this week’s winning outfit. This victory also marked Rice College’s first success in this particular competition.
In a game played in difficult conditions, with a strong wind causing problems for players, the Ennis school led from the start.
Team mentors, Martin Brooks (St Joseph’s) and Martin Ronan (Kilmaley) named an unchanged team from the semi-final for this outing. The winners played with the aid of the breeze in the opening half and led by four points at half-time when the score was 2-2 to 1-1.
Evan McNamara scored Rice College’s first goal, applying a great finish after a good move. A defensive error created the opening for the Ennis school’s second goal, which came from Eanna Barry.
With the assistance of the wind for the second half, the Cork City school fought hard and while Rice College were under a lot of pressure, they never lost the lead. Coláiste an Spiorad Naomh goaled from a penalty to close the gap to the minimum but the winner’s defence held firm, with Lee Brady outstanding at corner-back delivering a man-of-the-match performance. Michael Lyons also did well while the half-backs battled hard throughout.
The new Munster champions had an even share of possession at midfield thanks to the efforts of Ritchie Hennessy, scorer of some excellent points from frees, and Conor O’Brien. In attack, Liam Lynch and Michael O’Malley worked hard throughout while substitute Colm Fitzgerald, introduced at half time, helped set up a number of important scores for the team.
On their way to the final, Rice College beat Kilmallock, St Munchin’s and Pallaskenry before overcoming Cashel in the semi-final.
The game finished in a welter of excitement and both sides were reduced in number in the final minute.
Rice College goalie Conor Harkin and the opposition’s full-forward were dismissed while the Ennis side’s Michael O’Malley picked up a second yellow card, which also resulted in his dismissal.
After the game team captain Fionn O’Carroll was presented with the trophy by the Provincial Colleges Council servicing officer, Tom Collum.
Rice College: Conor Harkin (Ballyea); Lee Brady (Ballyea), Shane McInerney (Inagh-Kilnamona), Michael Lyons (Ruan); Fionn O’Carroll (St Joseph’s), Conor Finnucane (Lissycasey), Conor O’Halloran (Éire Óg); Ritchie Hennessy (Clooney-Quin), Conor O’Brien (St Joseph’s); Nicky Twumasai (Éire Óg), Michael O’Malley (Kilmaley), Liam Lynch (Éire Óg); Paddy O’Malley (Éire Óg), Evan McNamara (Inagh-Kilanamona), Eanna Barry (Clooney-Quin).
Scorers: Ritchie Hennessy (0-5, 4f); Evan McNamara (1-1); Eanna Barry (1-0); Nicky Twumasai (0-1).
Subs: Colm Fitzgerald (Doora-Barefield); Conor McInerney (Doora-Barefield); Cillian Brennan (Ballyea); Seamus Quigley (Bodyke).