Pres Athenry’s stunning fightback falters in extra time

Presentation College, Athenry goalkeeper Patrick Rabbitte and defender Ian McGlynn are in the thick of the action with George Murphy of St Kieran's College, Kilkenny during Saturday's All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Senior A hurling final at Semple Stadium. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

St. Kieran’s College   5-19

Pres Athenry 3-17

A valiant Presentation College Athenry came as close as any other Galway school in the last two decades of lifting an elusive Croke Cup when forcing St. Kieran’s College, Kilkenny to extra-time in an absorbing All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Senior ‘A’ hurling final at Semple Stadium last Saturday.

That said, having looked dead and buried – as they also did in the semi-final victory over CBS Kilkenny – Pres. Athenry staged yet another stirring comeback to outscore the victors by 3-6 to five points in the second half to take this exciting decider to extra-time.

Indeed, had they struck for their three goals a little earlier – or if the fixture could have gone on another two minutes in normal time – then the Connacht champions may well have stolen a famous victory and wrote themselves into the history books as only the second Galway school to lift the cup after St. Raphael’s win in 1995.

Unfortunately, time ran out in normal time and when it came to turning the screw on their illustrious opponents in the additional periods, Pres. Athenry had simply nothing left in reserve. They had given it their all over the 60 minutes. The tank, by now, was empty.

It did beg the question, however, why these two schools could not be let replay this All-Ireland final again next week? Granted, the fixtures schedule between club and county is tight but these young men, particularly from Pres. Athenry, deserved another shot at it with fresh legs. It was a hugely disappointing and frustrating way to lose it.

As it was, this game was not short of entertainment. By half-time, St. Kieran’s College led 3-7 to 0-6 after hitting Pres. Athenry for three quick-fire goals between the 21st and 26th minutes through captain Daithí Barron, full-forward Ciaran Brennan and corner forward David O’Carroll.


Full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune