Dr. Harty Cup Semi-Final – Nenagh CBS 1-11 Ardscoil Rís 2-8

Tenacious Ardscoil still in hunt

Ardscoil Rís 2-8 Nenagh CBS 1-11

By Fintan O’ Toole for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Ardscoil Rís ambitions of claiming a three Harty Cups in-a-row are still intact but those hopes came desperately close to being extinguished in a dramatic semi-final clash in Tipperary Town yesterday afternoon. On a day of difficult underfoot conditions in Sean Treacy Park, a terrific wholehearted contest unfolded with Nenagh CBS producing a brave performance that had them on the cusp of reaching their first decider since 1997, leading by two points as the tie drifted into injury-time. But somehow Ardscoil Rís managed to dig themselves out of a hole.

In the 61st minute, Evan Fitzgerald dispatched a long-range free that fell to wing-forward Jack Kelleher and he shot just over the bar. There was time for Ardscoil Rís to launch one more attack and after an excellent run by Kelleher, the ball was passed inside to substitute Micheál O’Loughlin who displayed brilliant composure to weave past a couple of challenges and pop a precise shot over the bar. The final whistle sounded from the puckout and the relief on Ardscoil Rís manager Liam Cronin’s face was clearly visible. “We got out of jail there,” he said. “Being down in injury-time after missing the goal chance that went over the bar and Jamie missing the 65, it looked gone. But to be fair to the guys, they’ve shown great resolve all year and they believe it’s not over until that final whistle.”

The great escape performed by Ardscoil Rís ensures this tie will head to a replay on Tuesday week, February 14, in Tipperary Town. Nenagh CBS manager Donagh O’Donnell was disappointed victory eluded his team and with the amount of injury-time. “It was a great contest though and I’m absolutely proud of our lads,” he said. “Harty is all about courage and commitment. Every fella gave everything they had out there. I think they got out of jail really. The ref said there was a minute and a half left, and he went on to play two and a bit of injury-time. “The Ardscoil guy was beside me when the ref said it. It’s very hard to take particularly when the first day against Thurles [in the quarter-final], the ref did the same thing. But we’re still in it and we’ll be back.”

After toppling Thurles CBS in the previous round, Nenagh CBS entered the game in a confident mood reflected by their sublime start. Tadhg Gallagher and Jason Forde, who were prominent throughout, raised early white flags before Forde fed Stephen O’Brien, an All-Ireland minor football winner with Tipperary last September, and he clinically finished the ball to the net. Ardscoil Rís were left reeling by that early barrage but recovered admirably. Lukas O’Brien kick-started the revival in the 12th minute with a superb goal and with Ronan Lynch, Jody Hannon and Kevin O’Brien all on target, they only trailed by 1-4 to 1-3 by the 20th minute. By half-time the complexion of the game turned in their favour after Jamie Shanahan finished a penalty to the net and they led 2-3 to 1-5 at the break.

Nenagh CBS emerged for the second half undeterred by the manner of Ardscoil Rís’s comeback. Conor Delaney nearly found the net early in the half but was denied by an outstanding save by David Dempsey. Yet with Donnacha Quinn and Jack Peters in exemplary form in defence, they began to pin their opponents back. Regardless of the angle or distance, Forde converted placed balls and nudged them into a 1-8 to 2-4 advantage. Ardscoil Rís responded courtesy of a brace by Shanahan and another by Kelleher, to move into a narrow 2-6 to 1-8 lead before Nenagh CBS reeled off three excellent points from O’Brien, Forde and Gallagher.

That spell of dominance looked pivotal yet Ardscoil Rís chiselled out a draw with their late rally. The scheduling of the game for Tuesday week rather than next Saturday avoids a fixture clash with Na Piarsaigh’s All-Ireland Club SHC semi-final meeting with Loughiel Shamrocks. “Na Piarsaigh are in the All-Ireland club semi-final and we’ve a lot of guys whose brothers would be playing in that,” revealed Cronin. “They would be our parent club in the school and a lot of us would like to go given it’s not often a Limerick club are at this stage. We’re very grateful that common sense has prevailed and there’s no clash.”

Scorers for Ardscoil Rís: J Shanahan 1-2 (1-0 pen, 0-2fs), L O’Brien 1-0, J Kelleher 0-2, R Lynch, J Hannon, K O’Brien, M O’Loughlin 0-1 each.

Scorers for Nenagh CBS: J Forde 0-7 (5fs, 2 65s), S O’Brien 1-1, T Gallagher 0-2, P Fogarty 0-1.

ARDSCOIL RÍS: D Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh); R Kirby (Mungret), PJ Hall (Adare), K McNamara (Na Piarsaigh); E Fitzgerald (Claughaun), B O’Connell (Kildimo), S Fitzgerald (Claughaun); J Shanahan (Sixmilebridge), J Hannon (Adare); W O’Donoghue (Na Piarsaigh), R Lynch (Na Piarsaigh), J Kelleher (Patrickswell); K O’Brien (Patrickswell), C Lynch (Patrickswell), L O’Brien (Adare).

Subs: M O’Loughlin (Clonlara) for O’Donoghue (45), M Foley (Na Piarsaigh) for L O’Brien (59).

NENAGH CBS: W Power (Silvermines); S Cleary (Kilruane McDonaghs), J Flaherty (Burgess), D Quinn (Éire Óg Nenagh); E Hynes (Templederry), J Peters (Kilruane McDonaghs), K Gleeson (Éire Óg Nenagh); J Loughnane (Kildangan), T Gallagher (Kildangan); C Delaney (Toomevara), J Forde (Silvermines), S O’Brien (Ballina); P Shanahan (Toomevara), P Fogarty (Silvermines), J Mackey (Éire Óg Nenagh). Subs: S Geaney (Eire Óg Nenagh) for Mackey (37), K Gubbins (Eire Óg Nenagh) for Gleeson (44).

Referee: David Copps (Cork)


Ardscoil level late

Report from the Irish Times newspaper

Ardscoil Rís 2-8 Nenagh CBS1-11: SUPERSUB MICHEÁL O’Loughlin salvaged a replay for holders Ardscoil Rís with an equalising point in the second minute of stoppage time against Nenagh CBS yesterday. Nenagh led by two points entering stoppage time but Jack Kelleher and O’Loughlin rescued the Limerick side. The teams will meet again at Tipperary venue Seán Treacy Park on February 14th.

Nenagh raced into a 1-2 to 0-0 lead, with Stephen O’Brien netting in the sixth minute. Ardscoil Rís, chasing a third successive Harty crown, responded with a 12th-minute goal from Lukas O’Brien before Jamie Shanahan’s 23rd-minute penalty helped to secure a 2-3 to 1-5 half-time lead.

ARDSCOIL RÍS: D Dempsey; R Kirby, PJ Hall, K McNamara; E Fitzgerald, B O’Connell, S Fitzgerald; J Shanahan (1-2, 1-0 pen, 0-2 frees), J Hannon (0-1); W O’Donoghue, R Lynch (0-1), J Kelleher (0-2); L O’Brien (1-0), K O’Brien (0-1), C Lynch. Subs: M O’Loughlin (0-1) for O’Donoghue (45 mins), M Foley for L O’Brien (60 mins).

NENAGH CBS: W Power; D Quinn, J Flaherty, S Cleary; E Hynes, J Peters, K Gleeson; J Loughnane, T Gallagher (0-2); C Delaney, J Forde (0-7, 0-5 frees, 0-2 65s), S O’Brien (1-1); P Shanahan, P Fogarty (0-1), J Mackey. Subs: S Geaney for Mackey (37 mins), K Gubbins for Gleeson (44 mins).

Referee: D Copps (Cork)