St Josephs, Tulla................1-16 CBC, Cork................1-14
By Michael O Connor.
History in the competition and St Josephs, Tulla go hand in hand. Success was achieved the hard way with a semi final replay and extra time in a hard fought final in Ballyagran. The beauty of a small country school is the ease with which connections with the past can be maintained and this was evident with the number of ex pupils who were on the last winning side of 1981 were present as well as 1981 winning coach and retired teacher John Stack.
Ballyagran has became a home from home for St Josephs as on Saturday it housed the third game in a row for the East Clare school and this time it was a final against a traditional rugby school that has developed a solid hurling base over the last two decades. CBC opened the scoring with the very impressive Michael O Halloran in the first minute before Tulla's Brian Fahy responded with a well taken score from 50 metre after three minutes. Conditions were cold with rain and ensuring sticky underfoot going for all concerned. St Joseph's were against the wind in the first half as O Halloran and Stephen Horgan added minors by the 6th minute. A kicked goal from Horgan put distance between the sides as now St Joseph's needed to come out and play and more importantly stem the scoring spree of their Cork opponents.
Brian Fahy with scores in the 9th, 11th and 13th minutes, all from frees and great work by Diarmuid O Brien and Darren Chaplin dragged St Joseph's back into the game to be (1-3) to (0-4) in arrears at the end of the first quarter. Two further scores from Chaplin and Fahy drew the sides level by the 20th minute as the early onslaught from CBC has subsided and now the two sides settled down to slug it out over every ball for the remainder of the game.
Martin Daly evaded his marker but his powerful effort hit the side netting before Robbie O Flynn and Michael O Halloran with a score from play and placed ball respectively restored a two point CBC leading entering the final five minutes of the first half. Brian Fahy from play and Stephen Horgan were the final scorers of the half to leave St Joseph's (1-6) to (0-7) in arrears but in a happy place as they had the skill to secure the title but just required a succession of scores to build up a lead.
Gary Cooney was becoming more and more the go to man for the East Clare side as he began to roam around the field. Both sides were introducing replacements from the 20th minute onwards. An amazing 16 minutes elapsed in the second half before the notebooks acknowledged another score courtesy of a Brian Fahy free in the 46th minute. The wind, rain and intense tackling of both sides led to an enthralling if score shy middle third of the game. CBC sub James Taylor and Diarmuid O Brien exchanged scores by the 51st minute as one of the loudest cheers of the day and of sheer relief came from the large St Joseph's support when Gary Cooney fired over the equaliser from 65 yards after winning the ball in his own half back line. The 16 year old as good as repeated the feat from a similar distance three minutes later to give his side the lead for the first time in the game. CBC rallied with huge gusto and their sharpshooter Michael O Halloran aided by Stephen Sheedy, Billy Hennessy and Stephen Horgan dragged their side back from the brink of defeat.
O Halloran grabbed the equaliser from a free as extra time loomed. This spectre was suspended when what can only be describing as widely speculative from Darren Chaplin all of 90 yards out went high into the sky and dropped over Colin Looney's CBC crossbar. St Joseph's were back in front but the drama was only unfolding as a series of injury time attacks by CBC ended with a free that O Halloran slotted over to force extra time. Full time: St Joseph's 0-14 CBC 1-11.
The feeling was there that Tulla chances of success required a goal of any shape or form. They controlled the first half of extra time and outscored CBC (4-1) with Brian Fahy (2), Enda Noonan and a storming effort from Cooney the Tulla scores as Robert Downey responded for the Cork school to leave St Josephs tentative (0-16) to (1-10) ahead facing into the second half of extra time.
CBC applied tremendous pressure for the opening five minutes of the second half of extra time but managed just two Michael O Halloran free. Hugh Woulfe levelled matters with three minutes left in extra time and a replay loomed on the horizon. With all his kinfolk from Feakle viewing the action Martin Daly decided to end this cold war in Ballyagran and burst through with the ball, losing in and winning it back before deftly flicking it past Chris O Looney with two minutes left on the clock. Try as they might CBC fought back but had to settle for a solitary Michael O Halloran free before Richard Moloney sounded the long whistle and the East Clare voice was heard to at its most emotive in South Limerick.
Best for St Joseph's were Killian Nugent, Evan McMahon, Con Smyth, Brian Fahy who kept Tulla in the game, Diarmuid O Brien in the first half, Darren Chaplin who lead with power throughout, Martin Daly up front and the extra bit of class from Gary Cooney when the side required it. CBC gave all they had with the superior strength keeping them in the contest when St Joseph's gained the upperhand. Best for the Cork men were Michael O Halloran, Stephen Horgan top scorer from play, Hugh Woulfe, Stephen Sheedy, Robbie O Flynn, Billy Hennessy and Colin Looney.
ST JOSEPHS: Killian Nugent (O C Mills), Gavin O Brien (Crusheen), Evan McMahon (Feakle), Eoin Donnellan (Broadford), Matthew Troy (Broadford), Con Smyth (Feakle), Shane Hunt (Tulla), Brian Fahy (Tulla)(0-9, 7 frees), Evan Noonan (Feakle)(0-1) Diarmuid O Brien (Broadford)(0-1), Darren Chaplin (Broadford)(0-2), Conor Henry (O C Mills), Gary Cooney ( O C Mills) (0-3), Martin Daly (Feakle) (1-0), Stephen Conway (Feakle). Subs: Padraig Duggan (Newmarket) for Hunt, Matthew Culloo (Tulla) for Troy, Tadgh Shanahan (Clooney/Quin) for Conway
CBC: Colin O Looney, Kevin Green, Stephen Sheedy, Darragh O Callaghan, Hugh Woulfe (0-1), Billy Hennessy, Killian Doyle, Ray Murphy, Eoin Moloney, Kieran Moloney, Cathal McNamara, Robbie O Flynn (0-1), Michael O Halloran (0-8, 6fs), Peter Blake, Stephen Horgan (1-2). Subs: James Taylor (0-1) for E Moloney, Kevin Crowley for Woulfe, Robert Downey (0-1) for Murphy.
REFEREE: Richard Moloney (Limerick).
After the game Robert Frost, Chairperson of the Munster council presented the Tom Collum Memorial cup alongwith representatives of the Collum family to a delighted St Josephs captain Evan McMahon as they now play Cross and Passion in the All Ireland semi final on March 21st.