All-Ireland Schools SHC ‘C’ semi-final
Parnell’s GAA Club
Sat 8th March 2014
St. Patrick’s (Downpatrick)………………….1-8
WEXFORD CBS secured their place in the Masita All-Ireland Schools Senior Hurling ‘C’ final when they eventually overcame the stiff challenge of Ulster champions St. Patrick’s Grammar School from Downpatrick (Down) in the magnificent surroundings of Parnell’s GAA Club last Saturday.
The Wexford students lost the toss and had to play into the gale force wind in the opening half. They were rocked in the fifth minute when St. Patrick’s razor sharp corner forward Oisin McManus pounced on a loose ball and bore down on goal before giving Brad Cohen no chance with a stinging shot.
The Ulster side withdrew a forward, Conall Fay, to play as an extra defender in the first half which was a curious decision considering they enjoyed the strong wind. Despite the numerical advantage at the back there was nothing St. Patrick’s could do to stop Stephen Kearney from finding the net for CBS. Sean Stafford’s 65 dropped short due to the wind and Kearney was alert enough to grab it and squeeze it into the net. This together with a nice point from Rob Donnelly was all that the recently crowned Leinster champions could manage in the first half and their defence worked overtime to keep the score down.
McManus was the Down’s teams main source of scores as he converted two frees and nipped in for a point from play but his marker John Hamilton got to grips with him as the half wore on. McManus’s attacking colleagues found life very difficult against the Wexford defence where Joe Redmond, Ciaran Kirwan and Evan Dunbar repelled numerous attacks.
However, the Wexford students retired at the break losing by 1-4 to 1-1 which was the first time all year that they have been trailing at the changeover. The advantage of the strong wind would be significant for CBS in the second half but they still had to chase the game and break down their opponents who played with one and sometimes two extra defenders in the second half.
Sean Stafford got CBS off to an encouraging start with two points (one free) but at the other end it was goalkeeper Brad Cohen who produced a super double save to deny the Down students what would have been the considerable boost of a second goal.
Eoin Roche tapped over his first point moments later and when the hard-working Conor Fenlon was fouled, Sean Stafford split the posts. Oisin McManus had converted two ‘65s so the Mourne men still had the lead entering the final quarter (1-6 to 1-5).
It was at this stage that the CBS students began to make their pressure tell. Conor Fenlon was narrowly wide with an attempt on goal but they took the lead when Stephen Kearney pointed from a tight angle, Sean Stafford pointed a free following a foul on Kearney and wing back Joe McBride scored the first of his two long range points.
CBS got the goal they needed in the 48th minute when Kearney’s shot was saved by the St. Patrick’s keeper Conan Hynds but Ian Moran was first on the rebound and he found the net which gave his side a 2-8 to 1-6 lead.
Back came the Down lads with a point from midfielder Eoin King but CBS turned the screw entering the final ten minutes when the influential Nicky Lawlor passed to Eoin Roche who pointed and Sean Stafford popped over a free after Conor Fenlon earned another free.
A late flurry of points from Joe McBride, Stafford (two) and substitute Richie Cleary sealed the victory for Wexford CBS who progress to the All-Ireland final for the first time in their history.
They will meet the winners of the other semi-final between Munster champions Salesian College of Pallaskenry (Limerick) and the Connacht winners Colaiste Einde (Galway) or St. Mary’s College (Galway).
Wexford CBS: Brad Cohen (St. Martin’s); Daniel Lynch (Faythe Harriers), Evan Dunbar (St. Martin’s), John Hamilton (St. Martin’s); Joe Redmond (Shelmaliers), Ciaran Kirwan (Faythe Harriers), Joe McBride (Volunteers 0-2); Jamie McDonnell (Faythe Harriers Capt.), Nicky Lawlor (Faythe Harriers); Sean Stafford (St. Martin’s 0-7, 5 frees), Eoin Roche (Faythe Harriers 0-2), Conor Fenlon (Glynn-Barntown); Stephen Kearney (Faythe Harriers 1-1), Ian Moran (Glynn-Barntown 1-0), Rob Donnelly (Buffers Alley 0-1).
Subs: Liam Barry (Faythe Harriers) for Dunbar inj., Mikey Coleman (St. Martin’s) for Moran, John Forde (Shelmaliers) for Kearney, Richie Cleary (Clonard 0-1) for McDonnell, Dylan Hynes (Clonard) for Roche.
St. Patrick’s (Downpatrick): Conan Hynds; Niall Smyth, PJ Davidson, Marc Fisher; Jake Carville, Niall Gilmore, Cormac Coulter (0-1 free); Brook Byers, Eoin King (0-1); Sean Hardy, Emmett O’Neill, Ryan Watson; Oisin McManus (1-6 3 frees 2 ‘65s), Daithi Sands, Conall Fay.