GALWAY GAA: (RESULT AET) – ST. KIERAN’S KILKENNY 5-19 PRES ATHENRY 3-17

GALWAY GAA: (RESULT AET) – ST. KIERAN’S KILKENNY 5-19 PRES ATHENRY 3-17

All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Senior A Hurling Final – Saturday, 31st March

ST. KIERAN’S KILKENNY 5-19 PRESENTATION ATHENRY 3-17 (RESULT AET!)

After saving the game from 12 points down in normal time, Presentation Athenry had nothing left in the tank as St. Kieran’s College, Kilkenny clinched a fourth All-Ireland title in five years.

Trailing 3-12 to 0-12 after three first half goals, Athenry’s race looked run but two Adam Brett goals and a Mark Kennedy major brought this All-Ireland final to extra-time.

But after the teams shared the first four scores, St. Kieran’s got control again as Jamie Young’s goal helped the Kilkenny school go five clear at the extra-time break before Ciaran Brennan got the winning three-pointer on 74 minutes.

Mike Finn’s team recovered from a shaky start to level at 0-6 apiece by the 20th minute and could have had a goal before the Leinster side opened up.

Eoin O’Shea and Daithi Barron gave St. Kieran’s a two-point lead in as many minutes before Mark Kenney got Presentation’s first.

Conor Kelly and Adrian Mullen made it 0-4 to 0-1 on seven minutes but Athenry got back on level terms with Cillian Lawless scoring before Kennedy added two placed balls.

Another on the quarter hour gave Presentation the lead but that was overturned within two minutes as Kelly and Mullen converted for frees for St. Kieran’s.

However, the game swung on a five-minute spell that saw Athenry give their opponents a comfortable margin.  Firstly, Eoin Caulfield got in for a goal chance only for a brave save from Dean Mason.

Kennedy put over the resulting 65 to level at 0-6 apiece but the next three scores all raised green flags and went the way of the Kilkenny school.

Barron got the first on 21 minutes before Ciaran Brennan exploited gaps in the Athenry defence for the second three minutes later.  And within 60 seconds, David O’Carroll capitalised on further St. Kieran’s pressure for the third major.

When Kelly added a point on 28 minutes, St. Kieran’s were 3-7 to 0-6 clear and a fourth Dr. Croke Cup in five seasons is looking good for them.

TJ Brennan pointed for Athenry from the restart but St. Kieran’s looked to continue in cruise control as Barron, Mullen and Kelly made it 3-10 to 0-7 on 34 minutes.

Athenry were pulling players back trying to curtail Kieran’s dominance and the Kilkenny team did have two more goal chances with Eoin Lawless denying Kelly the pick of the stops.

Two Kennedy frees reduced arrears before Brett got this first white flag and Eoin Caulfield saw his effort just shade over the crossbar to leave it 3-10 to 0-11 on 48 minutes.

But they looked to be no more than consolation efforts as two Mullen outscored a Conor Walsh Athenry point making it 3-12 to 0-12 with six minutes remaining.

But two Brett goals either side of a Kennedy major delivered a stunning recovery and forced another 20 minutes of action in Semple Stadium.

TJ Brennan added two Athenry points after the resumption either side of minors for Mullen and Ian Walsh.  But by the switch of ends, St. Kieran’s were 4-16 to 3-14 ahead.

Young’s goal on 69 minutes finally settled the Leinster champions who’d been rattled by Athenry’s comeback but scores for Mullen and a Kelly ’65 gave them a margin.

Kelly added two more in the second period before Kennedy arrested Athenry’s slide on 73 minutes leaving six between them.

But any hopes of another rally from the Connacht champions were ended when Ciaran Brennan made an impact striking 1-1 in two minutes to ensure there was only one winner.

Ian McGlynn and Kennedy got consolation points for Presentation but their efforts ended in vain.  They played their part in a classic final but that proved immaterial at the finish as the wait for a first title must wait another year.

Presentation Athenry: Patrick Rabbitte; Adam Clarke, Conor Lee, Eoin Lawless; Karl Conneely, Conor Walsh, TJ Brennan (0-3); Shane Quirke, Jason Reilly; Eoin O’Donnell, Adam Brett (2-1), Brion Connolly; Mark Kennedy (1-9, six frees, one ’65), Cillian Lawless (0-1), Eoin Caulfield (0-1).  Scoring subs: Ian McGlynn (0-1).

St. Kieran’s Kilkenny: Dean Mason; Tommy Ronan, Conor Murphy, Mark Nolan; Diarmuid Phelan; Jesse Roberts, Luke Murphy; Killian Egan, Adrian Mullen (0-7, both frees); Eoghan Moylan, Eoin O’Shea (0-1), Daithi Barron (1-2); Conor Kelly (0-7, two frees, one ’65), Ciaran Brennan (2-1), David O’Carroll (1-0).  Scoring subs: Jamie Young (1-0), Ian Walsh (0-1).

Referee: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary)

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