Munster title for St Mary’s, Newport
Munster Colleges Senior 'C' Final
St. Mary's Newport 1-14
Colaiste an Chroi Naofa, Carrignavar 2-10
by Nenagh Guardian.
Team mentor Hugh Flavin hailed his young heroes after St Mary’s Newport defeated Coláiste an Chroí Naofa, Carrignavar, in last Wednesday’s entertaining Corn Mhic Ruairí Munster Senior ‘C’ schools hurling final. Darragh McGrath, younger brother of Tipperary senior hurling team captain Shane, scored two cracking second half points as he captained St Mary’s to victory. But St Mary’s had key players all over the pitch as Conor Floyd, son of County Board Secretary Tim, produced a storming performance from centre back on a decent afternoon for hurling. Floyd’s Newport clubmate Aidan Moloney was another standout player at wing-forward, as five of St Mary’s starting six forwards got on the scoresheet. And Conor Byrnes scored two crucial points after coming off the bench to replace brother Cillian in the second half.
Newport had to recover from a poor start as Carrignavar corner forward Brendan Murphy pounced from close range for the game’s opening goal in the first minute. Evan O’Connell’s booming long-range delivery caused problems for Newport goalkeeper Adam O’Brien and Murphy reacted quickest to touch home the loose ball. Carrignavar led by 1-3 to 0-1 early on but Patrick Ryan’s fine solo goal in the 12th minute hauled Newport back into contention and at half-time, they led by 1-5 to 1-4. Moloney was exceptionally good in that opening half, firing over three points from play, with the impressive O’Connell leading the charge for Carrignavar with three pointed frees. A one-point half-time advantage for Newport was a wholly acceptable result, after they had fallen five points behind early on. It took them a while to settle but after Ryan evaded a number of would-be tacklers before slotting home a super goal, Newport were much improved. Sub Brian O’Regan leveled the game at 1-5 apiece with the opening score of the second half but Newport hit the front again when Paul O’Halloran pointed and after that score, they led all the way to the finish.
Kevin Mulcahy and impressive sub Conor Byrnes added points as Newport moved three clear before McGrath scored the first of his longrange points in the 41st minute. It was a quite outrageous score from the Ballinahinch starlet as his dummy-solo foxed his opponent on the left touchline before McGrath sliced over a glorious effort from a tight angle. James Forde hit back with a Carrignavar point, their first of the second half, before an O’Connell free cut the gap back to two points, 1-7 to 1-10. Byrnes struck again but John Forde’s point with ten minutes remaining kept Cork opponents Carrignavar very much in touch, as they trailed by two points again. McGrath stepped forward with another longrange beauty and when midfielder Mulcahy added a brace of frees, Newport had real daylight, leading by 1-13 to 1-8. But Carrignavar had another kick left in them as David Dooling’s marauding run set up O’Connell for a closerange goal with three minutes left.
In a breathless finish, Newport replied through Mulcahy but sub Aaron Collins brought Carrignavar within touching distance again, as they trailed by 2-9 to 1-14 deep in stoppage time. There was time for one final potential twist as Carrignavar had the chance to snatch a winning goal deep in stoppage time. Corner back Joe O’Connell stepped over a 20m-free but his blistering drive whistled inches over Adam O’Brien’s crossbar and Newport were safe. When Shane McGrath was a pupil at St Mary’s, they won an U15 title and the wheel had come full circle as brother Darragh lifted senior silverware.
A delighted Hugh Flavin said: “The attitude was top class. We didn’t contemplate losing that game for one second. We had a tactic coming here; they 100 percent applied that tactic and stuck to their guns. They got their reward at the end of it.” Flavin admitted that St Mary’s got off to a “shaky start” but the response of his players pleased him. He said: “It took us ten minutes to get to grips with it but when we did, we played ourselves back into the game. “This is huge – most of my guys are under 16 and nearly all underage for another two years. We needed a win like that – it’s the first time since Conor O’Mahony and Shane McGrath that we were in a Munster final. Small steps but we got there today,” he said.
St Mary’s will play in the Munster Senior ‘B’ Corn Phádraig competition next season. And with a talented group of players to call upon, hopes are high that
Newport can make an impact in the higher grade. Floyd, Mulcahy, Moloney, McGrath and full-forward David Gleeson are players of rich potential and with careful nurturing, they could go on to become top class minor, U21 and senior players. And there’s plenty of character in this St Mary’s team too, as shown by their refusal to wilt in the face of fierce early pressure from Carrignavar. The concession of such a soft goal in the first minute would have knocked the stuffing out of other teams but St Mary’s stuck to their task, remained patient and reaped the ultimate reward.
Laoch and Cluiche: Conor Floyd (St Mary’s)
Scorers - St Mary’s: Kevin Mulcahy 0-4, 3 frees; Aidan Moloney 0-3; Patrick Ryan 1-0; Darragh McGrath, Conor Byrnes 0-2 each; Paul O’Halloran, Brian McAuliffe, David Gleeson 0-1 each. Carrignavar: Evan O’Connell 1-4, 0-4 frees; Brendan Murphy 1-0; James Forde, John Forde, Sean O’Sullivan, Aaron Collins, Brian O’Regan 0-1 each; Joe O’Donnell 0-1 free. St Mary’s, Tulach Sheasta: Adam O’Brien (Ahane); Matthew Connelly (Newport), Robert Houlihan (Newport), Brian Carey (Sean Treacys); Liam Duffy (Newport), Conor Floyd (Newport), Jason Ryan (Ballinahinch); Paul O’Halloran (Ahane), Kevin Mulcahy (Ballinahinch); Aidan Moloney (Newport), Darragh McGrath (Ballinahinch), Brian McAuliffe (Newport); Patrick Ryan (Newport), David Gleeson (Ballinahinch, Cillian Byrnes (Murroe-Boher). SUBS: Conor Byrnes (Murroe-Boher) for C Byrnes (37); Daniel Carew (Newport) for McAuliffe (53).
Colaíste an Chroí Noofa, Carrignavar: Ger O’Callaghan; Joe O’Donnell, Colm Cooney, Paul Hayes; David Dooling, Ian Burke, James Forde; Peter O’Sullivan, John Forde; James Meehan, Sean O’Sullivan, Evan O’Connell; Brendan Murphy, Jack Murphy, Killian Ryan. SUBS: Brian O’Regan for J Murphy (ht); Aaron Collins for Ryan (37). Reiteoir: Noel Cosgrave (Marlfield)
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