Coláiste Eoin shooting for the stars
By Damian Lawlor
An overnight success? Not likely.
Following a decade of hard work Coláiste Eoin recently broke through Leinster for the first time with a win over giants St Kieran’s in the provincial final.
A goal from centre forward Dara Puirséil as the game entered injury time gave the all-Irish Dublin college a dramatic but fully merited victory over the All-Ireland holders.
“Just to get over the line was huge,” says team mentor Cathal Pleimann.
“We had worked hard for a long time – maybe since 2009 with various teams, like the one Danny Sutcliffe was on, emerging.
“But no matter how well we did or how good we performed, beating St Kieran’s or Kilkenny CBS in a final was a bridge too far.
“Last year we beat Kilkenny CBS in the Leinster semi-final but fell in the final.
“So it’s really satisfying for all the lads to win and have a Croke Cup semi-final to look forward to at the end of the month.“
The sides were level a total of nine times over the course of the Leinster final and the lead changed hands numerous times, but the Dublin lads showed huge character.
“They have been showing that all year,” says Pleimann.
“To be fair to the clubs, and we draw from Kilmacud Crokes, Cuala, Ballinteer, Faughs, Commercials as far as Fingallians and those clubs help prioritise the school games at this time of year so we are very grateful to them.
“There are minor and adult leagues going on but they know what we are trying to achieve here and we get every help.
“The work has been ongoing. The school has been huge into hurling since its formation, but as I said we just couldn’t get over the Kilkenny teams in finals.”
There is a fierce determination and hunger in the Coláiste Eoin side.
Many of the players have experience with the Dublin under 20 panel and three of them are on the Dublin minor squad also. Players like Brian Mac Sithigh is a giant at full-back. Ian O hEithir is a top centre back while midfielder Odhrán Mac Gerailt is a born leader. Centre forward Purséil takes a lot of watching while full-forward Breandán O Scanláin is a lethal free-taker too.
Most of the team are dual players.
“I would say 11 in total between the senior hurling and football teams,” Pleimann says.
“We work it well here at the school and the most important thing is to balance their sport with their schoolwork too.
“They can get a good balance, though, and hopefully it makes the school experience very rewarding.
“On top of that a lot of the lads have gained really good experience with their clubs, winning minor titles at A, B, and C levels and that does help us in these big games.
“We are in the hunt now for a serious national hurling title but we have worked hard to be here and it’s great that the lads are getting recognition for their hard work.
”Hopefully the journey has a bit to go yet.”
The Stillorgan outfit tackle Presentation Athenry in the Croke Cup semi-final at Tullamore next Monday.