By Jackie Cahill © Independent.ie
ecstatic Ardscoil Ris captured the title for the first time with a comprehensive victory over defending champions Thurles CBS at McDonagh Park, Nenagh, yesterday
As Ardscoil Ris celebrate after becoming the first Limerick team since the Sexton Street CBS in 1993 to win the trophy, Thurles must regroup quickly for next Monday's All-Ireland quarter-final showdown with Kilkenny CBS.
After two epic encounters finished level, another big crowd arrived in Nenagh for part three, with an official attendance of 1,733 as U-16s were admitted free.
Ardscoil Ris got off to a flyer when Niall Kennedy's speculative long-range shot found its way into the net in the third minute and they held that lead all the way to the end.
The Limerick lads physically dominated their opponents, who were flat on the day, although Aidan McCormack's return from suspension had a positive impact as he landed three points from play and caught some great ball.
Michael O'Brien was again the top scorer for Thurles, but this time the Clonmel Óg star was more subdued, landing just a point from play.
Pat Ralph slotted over three points from midfield for the Tipperary outfit but, while they had scoring contributions from six players, no fewer than nine Ardscoil Ris stars were on target.
Declan Hannon was a tower of strength at centre half-back and led a stirring display, while, in attack, Brendan O'Connor picked off 1-2 and Mark Ryan landed 1-1.
In the 24th minute, O'Connor struck to hand his team a nine-point advantage, 2-7 to 0-4, and Thurles looked down and out.
But CBS came roaring back with a run of four unanswered points before half-time to cut the interval lead to 0-8 to 2-7, with the wind advantage to come.
Nine minutes after the restart, the deficit was down to three points -- 0-11 to 2-8 -- but Mark Ryan's 42nd-minute goal killed the Thurles resistance. His class solo effort opened up a 3-10 to 0-12 advantage and sealed the deal for Ris.
This is a massive boost for Lime-rick hurling at a time when the senior set-up is ravaged by crisis.
Scorers -- Ardscoil Ris: B O'Connor 1-2, M Ryan 1-1, N Kennedy 1-0, J Fitzgibbon (0-2f), D Hannon (0-3f), 0-3 each, J Shanahan , K Downes 0-2 each, S Dowling, A Breen 0-1 each. Thurles CBS: M O'Brien 0-5 (0-4f), A McCormack,P Ralph 0-3 each, P Looby, D Maher, T Doyle 0-1 each.
ARDSCOIL Ris -- PJ Hall; M Carmody, E McCarthy, A Dempsey; J Shanahan, S Dowling, M Moroney; S O'Brien, N Kennedy; M Ryan, D Hannon, B O'Connor; J Fitzgibbon, K Downes, A Breen. Subs: C Keogh for Dowling (60), K Keane for Breen (60), D Sheppard for Hall (inj, 60+4).
THURLES CBS -- A Stakelum; S Maher, C Carroll, P Looby; C Barrett, J Meagher, P Dunne; J Bergin, P Ralph; D Maher, A McCormack, M O'Brien; K Slattery, D Ferncombe, T Doyle.
Subs: C Hammersley for Bergin (30), C Treacy for Ferncombe (44), D Devane for Hammersley (inj 60+4).
Ref -- D Kirwan (Cork).
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