St Patrick's, Maghera impress in Paddy Buggy Cup
Following a hectic weekend of hurling action in the Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Championships, St Patrick's Maghera made it to the final of the Paddy Buggy Cup final with a win over a strong Mitchelstown CBS team on Saturday at DCU.
Despite not having a competitive game since their Mageean Cup win in late October, Maghera were comfortable 2-15 to 1-9 winners and now advance to the final of the Masita GAA All-Ireland ‘B’ Schools hurling series.
The Derry school have to wait to see who their final opponents are. They will lock horns with the winners of Portumna CS and Coláiste Choilm Tullamore.
These two teams meet in the second semi-final on Wednesday (March 14).
Last Saturday it looked for long stages like the Cork side would reach the final. Early in the first half they were three points ahead at one stage but Tiarnan McHugh (2) and Richie Mullan levelled the scores for the Derry side.
And then a red card to Mitchelstown's Mark Keane changed the complexion of the game. Keane is a talented, all-rounded and a highly rated hurlers. Earlier this year he attended AFL trials but on this occasion he was dismissed for a kick on Ruairi Rafferty.
From there Maghera took the reins and with a Fintan Bradley goal, they built up a 1-7 to 0-5 interval lead.
McHugh, Fintan and Dominic Bradley added scores to continue the dominance but James Keating, with a goal, and points from Cathal O'Mahoney pulled the gap back to five points.
The Ulster champions clinched the game with a second goal, this time from Tiarnan McHugh to seal victory and now they look forward to their date in the Buggy Cup final on Saturday, March 31.
Meanwhile, in the Croke Cup (All-Ireland ‘A’ hurling) Kilkenny heavyweights St Kieran's College and Kilkenny CBS remain in the hunt for Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools honours once more.
Following the weekend’s quarter-final fixtures, St Kieran's easily had the better of Gort CC, prevailing by 1-10 to 0-5 in that clash. Their reward is a semi-final meeting with Munster winners Ardscoil Ris of Limerick on Wednesday, March 21.
Meanwhile, Kilkenny CBS had it much harder against beaten Harty Cup finalists Midleton CBS.
Conor Drennan was the main man for the Kilkenny team again. He fired home 0-13 as Kilkenny CBS survived a late scare in an exciting tussle.
It was almost a comeback of epic proportions for the defeated Munster finalists who trailed by 11 points at one stage with the finishing line in sight. In the end their valiant comeback fell short as their opponents clung on for a one-point victory, 0-16 to 2-9.
They were certainly made to sweat as Midleton CBS ran them all the way to the end with a brilliant scoring spree that almost turned the game their way.
When Kilkenny CBS led by eight points up at half-time (0-10 to 0-2) it seemed like the game was as good as over, but Midleton found respite when and tore back into contention when Liam Gosnell hit a 46th minute goal.
More points from Gosnell, Sean O’Leary Hayes, Jamie Landers and Ger Millerick the Cork school quickly narrowed the gap down to four points in injury-time (0-16 to 1-9).
Then Liam O’Shea rattled the net again with a stoppage time free, leaving them just a point behind and Kilkenny CBS on the rack. Still, the Noresiders held on for the final whistle and a narrow win.
Meanwhile, schools specialists of recent seasons, Chorcha Dhuibhne, are back in town.
They are celebrating a fifth Corn Ui Mhuiri success following a six-point win over Tralee CBS in Saturday's Fitzgerald Stadium decider.
After beating holders St Brendan's packing the last four, Eamonn Fitzmaurice's side came through with a 2-13 to 1-10 Munster final win.
It was a keenly contested first-half finished with only a point it in at the break, Tralee trailed 0-6 to 0-5, and the game remained very much in the melting pot as the clock ticked down.
Marc O Se was in the opposite corner to Fitzmaurice on this occasion and his Tralee CBS team received a boost when Fergal O'Brien hit the game's first goal at the start of the second-half.
But Cillian Ó Failbhe cancelled that out shortly after and Sauerland's punched three-pointer signalled the end of the Tralee challenge. Ruaidhrí Ó Beaglaoich top scored for the Dingle school with 0-6 and they will now switch their focus to a Hogan Cup semi-final showdown with the winners of Ulster.