Thurles CBS v Good Counsel Match Report

O’Brien key as Thurles refuse to be denied

By Cliona Foley

Tuesday April 14 2009

IT’S not often that a Kilkenny hurler finds himself on a losing side these days, but not even the handful of young kittens amongst Good Counsel’s (New Ross) side could stop Thurles CBS from making some fabulous hurling history yesterday.

The local side, whose hearts were broken by De La Salle in last year’s replayed All-Ireland final, were simply not to be denied a second time.

They won their first Harty Cup (Munster) in 53 years this season, but yesterday became only the second Tipperary school to win the coveted Croke Cup.

And if this was a day when the school from the ‘home of hurling’ came of age, it was also one that announced young Michael O’Brien on the national stage.

The diminutive Clonmel Og corner-forward proved the difference between the sides, scoring 1-5 in a dazzling display of speed and skill. Yet he was not Thurles’ only lethal marksman, with Kieran Morris, John O’Neill and Diarmuid Fogarty also on song.

By half-time, Thurles led by three points and all of their 1-11 had come from play. In fact, only two of their subsequent scores came from placed balls.

Their lead was also achieved without star captain, James Barry, whose long-running injury only saw him introduced at corner-back at half-time.

Their New Ross opponents missed a penalty just before half-time but goaled first, when Walter Walsh, whose first shot was cleared off the line by Sean Harty, put away the rebound after just 12 minutes.

Thurles responded immediately with three points on the run and the game was finely balanced for a long time. But when Denis Maher’s huge long-range attempt came off the upright after 22 minutes, O’Brien was on hand to scramble it across the goal line.

Yet there was still more first-half drama to come, when Walsh again bore down on the Thurles’ goal and Michael Doyle conceded a penalty.

However, Ger Aylward failed to rise it cleanly and Thurles were able to smother it out and go in 1-11 to 1-8 ahead.


On resumption, Thurles pulled five points clear but Good Counsel — led by Alan Nolan, Matthew O’Hanlon, Lyng, Walsh and free-taker James Cassin (by then at full-forward) — dug deep, scoring five points to two, with a fantastic Matt Crowdle score cutting the deficit to just two points turning into injury-time.

The Wexford school got a last-gasp chance to steal it when a tough ‘travelling’ call on Denis Maher yielded a 20- metre free for Aylward and though he couldn’t keep it low enough, he still left a point between them. But Thurles’ victory was then sealed by a Kieran Morris’ ’65’ just before the final whistle.

Scorers — Thurles CBS: M O’Brien 1-5, D Fogarty, J O’Neill, K Morris
(0-1 ’65) 0-3 each, D Butler, J Meagher, D Maher (0-1f) 0-1 each. Good
Counsel: J Cassin 0-7 (0-5f, 0-1 ’65’), W Walsh 1-0, G Aylward 0-3 (0-1f), A Nolan, I Duggan, M Crowdle, D Murphy, M O’Hanlon 0-1 each.

Thurles CBS — P Ryan; S Harty, R O’Shea, M Doyle; P Molloy, D Maher, J Meagher; D Butler, M Bracken; K Morris, M Russell, J O’Neill; M O’Brien, A McCormack, D Fogarty. Subs: J Barry for Harty (half-time), P Ralph for McCormack (44), P Greene for Russell (58), P Looby for Bracken (60).

Good Counsel — K Kehoe; M Cody, J Breen, M Furlong; J Lyng, M O’Hanlon, I Duggan; A Nolan, L French; M Crowdle, J Cassin, G Aylward; D Murphy, W Walsh, M O’Hanlon. Subs: C Foran for French (53), G Foley for O’Hanlon (56), S Barron for Duggan (62).

Ref — A Kelly (Galway).

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