Dr. Harty Cup Final – Árd Scoil Ris 3-19 Charleville CBS 0-3

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Match Reports

Another power play from Árd Scoil

Árd Scoil Rís (Limerick) 3-19 Charleville CBS (Cork) 0-3

By Fintan O’Toole for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, February 28, 2011

IT took three epic encounters and herculean performances before Ard Scoil Rís secured a historic first Dr Harty Cup title against Thurles CBS last March. If that victory required painstaking effort, then the Limerick school’s second crown arrived after a leisurely stroll in yesterday’s decider in the Gaelic Grounds. The pre-match suspicions that Árd Scoil Rís had done the hard work in the earlier rounds, particularly when defeating St Flannan’s in the semi-final, came to pass as they crushed Charleville CBS by a whopping 25 points. Árd Scoil Rís were too strong, powerful and slick for Charleville, who endured a chastening experience in their first decider since 1939. In the Árd Scoil Rís camp afterwards there was more satisfaction than elation, yet manager Niall Moran still savoured this triumph.

“The first one is always going to be very special, particularly given the circumstances of winning it after three games. But this is still special. The way today’s game was won was a bit of an anti-climax, but we won the quarter-final and semi-final in enthralling games. We’ve beaten Colman’s, Thurles and Flannan’s along the way, all schools with big history in the Harty. But for a school the size of Charleville to get to an All-Ireland final is an enormous achievement. I just feel sorry for them that they didn’t perform what they are capable to (today).”

Moran revealed afterwards that Árd Scoil Rís had pinpointed the start of the game as a key period as they sought to unnerve an inexperienced Charleville outfit. They succeeded in style by putting the sliothar in the back of the net within 40 seconds. Kevin O’Brien did the spadework as he cut through the defence and offloaded to corner-forward colleague John Fitzgibbon who finished with aplomb. That set the tone and despite Pa O’Callaghan notching a beautiful point to get Charleville off the mark three minutes later, this exceptional Árd Scoil Rís team began to exert their dominance. The foundations were laid by defensive stalwarts Barry O’Connell, Alan Dempsey and Declan Hannon, while Jamie Shanahan buzzed around midfield to good effect. Centre-forward Shane Dowling ruthlessly punished Charleville indiscretions by converting placed balls. Inside their full-forward line of O’Brien, Oisin Hickey and Fitzgibbon were in lethal form with their sharp pace and touch creating plenty scoring opportunities.

The Charleville backline were overwhelmed as Árd Scoil Rís incessantly rained long deliveries down on top of them and by the 29th minute mark, they trailed 1-11 to 0-1. Then Árd Scoil Rís pounced for their second goal of the game with Fitzgibbon lofting a ball in his direction from the wing that O’Brien finished to the net at the second attempt. Indeed Charleville’s situation could have been more perilous but for an outstanding block by goalkeeper TJ Garvey before half-time from Dowling. But the destination of the silverware was already assured by the break when Árd Scoil Rís lead 2-11 to 0-2. The second-half was largely academic although substitute Jack Kelleher had a vibrant cameo by landing 0-2 and Hickey grabbed the goal his performance deserved in the 54th minute. David Reidy and Pa O’Callaghan kept fighting but manager Timmy O’Callaghan accepted that they collided with vastly superior opponents.

“They’re an outstanding hurling team. We knew we’d have to get a good start but unfortunately they hit the ground running. We wish them well and hope they’ll go onto win the All-Ireland. They’re a top-class team and it’ll be very hard for us now to pick it up for the All-Ireland quarter-final.” Árd Scoil Rís are eyeing bigger prizes. They crave glory on the national stage and with 10 of last year’s team, their hopes of achieving that are clearly promising. Yet Moran cautioned against runaway ambitions given the forces from other provinces. “We will have major challenges ahead because there are two very good Kilkenny sides and a Galway side still involved. It’s been 1967 since a Limerick school won an All-Ireland colleges title so it’s going to take a hell of a lot of hard work. We’ll enjoy tonight and we’ll take it from there then.”

Scorers for Árd Scoil Rís: J Fitzgibbon 1-2; S Dowling 0-5 (four frees, one ‘65); O Hickey 1-1; K O’Brien 1-0; J Shanahan 0-3 (two frees); A Dempsey, J Kelleher 0-2 each; M Ryan, D Hannon, M Carmody, B O’Connor 0-1 each.

Scorers for Charleville CBS: P O’Callaghan 0-3 (two frees).

ÁRD SCOIL RÍS: PJ Hall (Adare); K Lynch (Patrickswell), B O’Connell (Kildimo), D Maloney (Meelick); A Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh), D Hannon (Adare), M Moroney (Parteen); M Ryan (Na Piarsaigh), J Shanahan (Sixmilebridge); M Carmody (Patrickswell), S Dowling (Na Piarsaigh), B O’Connor (Croagh); K O’Brien (Patrickswell), O Hickey (Meelick), J Fitzgibbon (Adare).

Subs: C Keogh (Na Piarsaigh) for Dowling (inj) (38), J Kelleher (Patrickswell) for Fitzgibbon (44), J Hannon (Adare) for Lynch (49), C Lynch (Patrickswell) for Carmody (50), F Carey (Crecora) for O’Connor (53).

CHARLEVILLE CBS: TJ Garvey (Ballyhea); S Butler (Charleville), J Madigan (Charleville), J Walsh (Charleville); A Dennehy (Charleville), D Reidy (Dromin/Athlacca), C Twomey (Newtownshandrum); D Sheehy (Effin), M O’Loughlin (Kilmallock); T Rea (Effin), M Kavanagh (Charleville), J Morrissey (Ballyhea); P O’Callaghan (Ballyhea), J O’Brien (Charleville), D Copps (Ballyhea).

Subs: G Kelleher (Charleville) for Butler (half-time), J McCarthy (Ballyhea) for Morrissey (half-time).

Referee: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary)


Awesome Ardscoil storm to Harty title

Ardscoil Ris 3-19 Charleville 0-3

Dr Harty Cup Final

From the Irish Independent newspaper

Monday February 28 2011

Going into this game, Ardscoil Rís were 1/4 with the bookies, the odds largely framed on their semi-final performance against St Flannan’s College in one of the best colleges games of the last 10 years. Apart from the insidious threat of complacency, it was pretty clear that if Ardscoil Rís hit a similar standard again, Charleville wouldn’t be able to live with them. If anything, the bookies had been generous, because Ardscoil were in a different stratosphere. Ten of their starting team were part of the side which agonisingly lost to St Kieran’s in last year’s All-Ireland final and this is a really serious outfit now. Superbly coached, well drilled, loaded with pace and class, they also have a worldliness about them which reflects their experience. Six of the side were Limerick minors last year, two of whom — Declan Hannon and Shane Dowling — were Limerick U-21s. Jamie Shanahan, one of the best young prospects in Clare, also played in last year’s All-Ireland minor final.

This group of players has effectively been on a crusade over the last two years. They won their first Harty Cup title last season and this campaign appears to be about more than just atonement for last year’s All-Ireland final disappointment; they are consistently seeking to hit a new standard in an attempt to finally grasp what they feel is their destiny — an All-Ireland title. A significant number of new schools are now competing in the Dr Harty Cup, but what Ardscoil have achieved in recent years is phenomenal. Historically, the school was always a rugby stronghold, but hurling has gained real momentum in the last five years. They are still the only Limerick school competing at top-level hurling and rugby, but hurling is now a huge part of the school’s culture. They have a hurling module for transition year students, and they stage a sixth-class blitz for incoming first years. It’s no surprise that they also won last year’s Rice Cup U-14 competition.

The hurling teams share their only pitch with the rugby sides, but this team has become such a positive emblem for Limerick hurling that many of the city clubs, and Limerick IT, consistently make their facilities available. The squad has been in training since last August and their schedule often includes early morning sessions and weekend training camps. In terms of mentality and outlook, this group think and act like elite athletes. Having watched De La Salle win a Harty title for the first time in 2007, and then go on to win successive All-Irelands, Ardscoil closely studied the professional template they had set down. De La Salle had raised the bar and Ardscoil knew they would have to raise it again if they were going to be as competitive. Given the standard of the St Flannan’s team they beat in the semi-final, Ardscoil have certainly hit that level.

In terms of physicality and athleticism, there was no comparison between the sides, but Charleville were a hugely inexperienced side who were competing in their first Harty final in 73 years. Working off numbers of just 260 students, their last real dalliance with success at this level came in 1994 when they lost a Harty quarter-final to a North Monastery side that went on to win the All-Ireland. They had defied all the odds to reach this stage, but they never laid a glove on Ardscoil and the game was over as a contest after the first quarter.

Ardscoil have made a name for themselves as a scoring machine and they added to that reputation in front of 3,120 supporters. They’d been averaging 2-19 in their four matches, against big-name sides — St Flannan’s, Thurles CBS, St Colman’s, Waterford Colleges — and their tally of 3-19 could have been greater if they hadn’t taken their foot off the gas. In all, 10 of their players scored from play. In the early stages, Charleville did everything possible to try and discomfit the centre of Ardscoil’s defence with off-the-ball movement, but Ardscoil just alternated Declan Hannon and Barry O’Connell as their extra man and once they settled down, their diamond touch, fluent style, sharper mindset and precision striking just carved Charleville apart. They were ahead by 1-4 to 0-1 after the first quarter and they’d extended that lead to 2-11 to 0-2 at the break. In his victory speech, joint-captain Dowling alluded to the fact that, in the last three years, Ardscoil have now won their first Dean Ryan title (Munster U-16 and a half), their first Harty title and now their first Harty two-in-a-row. In their minds, there is still only one outstanding first to be completed.

Scorers — Ardscoil Rís: S Dowling 0-5 (4f, 1 ’65’), J Fitzgibbon 1-2, O Hickey 1-1, K O’Brien 1-0, J Shanahan 0-3 (2f), A Dempsey, J Kelleher 0-2 each, M Carmody, B O’Connor, D Hannon, M Ryan 0-1 each. Charleville CBS: P O’Callaghan 0-3 (2f).

ArdScoil Rís — PJ Hall; K Lynch, B O’Connell, D Maloney; A Dempsey, D Hannon, M Moroney; M Ryan, J Shanahan; M Carmody, S Dowling, B O’Connor; K O’Brien, O Hickey, J Fitzgibbon. Subs: C Keogh for Dowling (37), J Kelleher for Fitzgibbon (41), C Lynch for Carmody (50), F Carey for O’Connor (55).

Charleville CBS — TJ Garvey; S Butler, J Madigan, J Walsh; C Twomey, D Reidy, A Dennehy; D Sheehy, M O’Loughlin; T Rae, M Kavanagh, J Morrissey; D Copps, J O’Brien, P O’Callaghan. Subs: G Kelleher for Butler (h-t), J McCarthy for Morrissey (h-t).

Ref — F Horgan (Tipperary)