DUBLIN SCHOOLS SHC A FINAL
WALSH HERO FOR ARDSCOIL
Marino boys hold off Eanna to capture back-to-back titles
AN outstanding performance from John Walsh aided Ardscoil Ris’ cause at the DCU Sportsgrounds last Friday afternoon, when the Griffith Avenue school held off a gallant display from Colaiste Eanna to secure back-to-back Dublin Schools’ SHC ‘A’ titles.
Ardscoil claimed the 2014 crown by defeating St Declan’s College in the same venue 13 months earlier, but they had reason to be wary of the challenge posed by their Ballyroan counterparts, who overcame Ardscoil in the 2012 decider.
Eanna were denied a third successive victory by St Aidan’s CBS two years ago, though, and by the end of the first-quarter in the blustery Ballymun Road venue, they were facing into a nine-point deficit.
Ardscoil half-forward Ben McHugh (who scored 2-0 in last year’s final) broke the deadlock with a well-taken second-minute goal, and after he was hauled down inside the square just three minutes later, full-forward Colin Currie brilliantly dispatched a penalty beyond the reach of Eanna netminder Oisin Carolan.
This was a major set-back for Eanna, and with a strong wind advantage at their disposal, Ardscoil increased their cushion with unanswered points from centre-back Mark O’Keeffe, Walsh and Colin Currie (free). However, the southsiders’ challenge was galvanised on the stroke of 15 minutes, when Ben Kelly pulled home from close-range after Shane Kennedy’s free had dropped short.
This was the morale-boost that Eanna were searching for, and although the increasingly-prominent Walsh added a 0-2 salvo for Ardscoil, three expertly-converted frees from Kennedy reduced Eanna’s arrears to five points (2-5 to 1-3) by the mid-way stage.
Paul Conway’s charges were certainly well in contention after the restart, but when a successful 30-metre Colin Currie free was supplemented by an instinctive Walsh three-pointer just five minutes into the second period, Eanna were left with a mountain to climb once again.
Sean Currie joined his brother Colin on the scoresheet by recording a 41st minute point, and despite conceding a score to Eanna centre-forward Luke O’Donoghue, a majestic strike on the run by the outstanding Walsh ensured that Ardscoil were ten points to the good (3-8 to 1-4) moving into the final-quarter.
However, scoring chances were a rarity for Fiachra Colgan’s side during this juncture, and with a routine free increasing Kennedy’s personal tally 13 minutes from time, Eanna were priming themselves for a late fightback.
Substitute Eoghan Monahan also added an extra dimension to the Eanna play when he was introduced, and his exceptional catch from a long-delivery provided the platform for Kennedy’s 58th minute goal.
This was a warning to Ardscoil that the game wasn’t out of sight just yet, but after a major scuffle broke out on the hour mark, Eanna captain Sean McDonnell received a straight red-card.
Tempers did threaten to boil over at this point, but at the end of an otherwise incident-free game, Ardscoil Ris ultimately bagged the silverware on offer.
Scorers – Ardscoil Ris: J Walsh 1-4, C Currie 1-2 (1-0 pen, 0-2f), B McHugh 1-0, M O’Keeffe, S Currie 0-1 each. Colaiste Eanna: S Kennedy 1-4 (0-4f), B Kelly 1-0, L O’Donoghue 0-1.
ARDSCOIL RIS: L Dumbrell; L Stacey, C Ryan, S Baxter; B Davis, M O’Keeffe, D Levins; J Higgins, R O’Sullivan; B McHugh, C Burke, T O’Flaherty; J Walsh, C Currie, S Currie. Subs: C Cummins for O’Flaherty (57), R Clerkin for Walsh (57), S Collins for Levins (58), E O’Sullivan for Baxter (58).
COLAISTE EANNA: O Carolan; H Kelly, J Holland, A O’Neill; K Lalor, L Corcoran, D O’Riordan; S McDonnell, M O’Brien; S Kennedy, L O’Donoghue, C Ryan; B Kelly, A Mellett, C Fallon. Subs: T Glynn for O’Riordan (h-t), R Donohue for H Kelly (41), E Monahan for Fallon (46).
REF: J Dunning (St Brigid’s).