Good Counsel Complete Historic Double
Masita GAA All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Niall McInerney Cup Final - Satruday 29th November
Good Counsel College New Ross 0-22
Midleton CBS 0-15
by Noel Holohan
Hurling has the habit of throwing up classics many times during the year but on the final weekend of November anyone who was in WIT Sports Campus in Carriganore was treated to another memorable contest as Good Counsel College saw off Midleton CBS after extra time on an ideal day for hurling, in the Masita All Ireland Post Primary Schools Niall McInerney Cup Final.
Good Counsel are now the holders of both the hurling and football Junior national titles as this skillful bunch of men from Wexford and Kilkenny combined again for glory. With a minute remaining in normal time it looked like Midleton CBS, inspired by high scoring forward Liam Gosnell, were on their way to victory before Richard Hennessy powered up from corner back to land an eighty yard leveller in the 61st minute of normal time and that magical moment set up an extra twenty minutes.
Extra time proved a step to far for the Cork men as Good Counsel who were more physical in the middle third of the field made their superior fitness count and once they got on a scoring role in extra time they were not going to be stopped claiming the Niall McInerney Cup for the first time in their history.
With two packed stands and fantastic singing and noise from both sets of supporters the skill on the field matched the excitement in the stands as free takers Liam Gosnell and Luke Sinnott got their respective sides off the mark in the opening five minutes from dead balls.
Liam Gosnell a talented, lightning fast corner forward raced clear to fire over Midleton CBS second point of the contest, but Good Counsel began to show more dominance winning more ball in midfield where Sean Nolan and Thomas O’Connor held the edge. This area of the field set up three quick fire points for the New Ross School as Nolan pointed and then balls into the inside corner forwards yielded points from Rory Higgins and Sam Wall.Chris Coughlan and Sean O’Leary Hayes were making life very difficult for the Good Counsel forwards and their heroics in defence set up Liam Gosnell for his third point of the game. Wing forward Jim Ryan and impressive Rory Higgins were next to point for Good Counsel as the men in blue and white moved 0-6 to 0-3 in front after 17 minutes.
The game was fast and open and score were not hard to come by with the brilliant under foot conditions and Midleton CBS closed the gap to one point when Liam Gosnell added two more pointed frees for his side. Not to be out done by Gosnell, Good Counsel free taker Luke Sinnott added another for his side but fantastic scores on the 24th and 25th minutes from Daire Crotty and Liam Gosnell tied up the scores at seven points apiece.The Wexford School had the final say in the opening half as Luke Sinnott and Rory Higgins converted fine scoring chances to send Good Counsel in front by 0-9 to 0-7 at half time.
Good Counsel added to their total immediately after the restart when Jim Ryan found space to point before the men in red from Midleton CBS hit back with superb points from Daire Crotty and Liam O’Shea.Powerful midfielder Thomas O’Connor was next on the score board for Good Counsel when he was rewarded for some fine fielding in midfield. The real thorn in the Good Counsel side was Liam Gosnell but when he pointed again for Midleton CBS it was cancelled out by a pointed free by Luke Sinnott, leaving the scores at 0-12 to 0-10 in Good Counsel’s favour as the game moved into the final quarter.
The Cork men drew level soon however as Liam Gosnell and second half substitute Padraig O’Brien pointed on the run. Parity did not last long however at Midleton pushed two points clear and it was that man again Liam Gosnell as he added his ninth and tenth points of the game.Good Counsel roared on by their huge support did not panic however and with three minutes remaining they tied the scores up at 0-14 to 0-14 with a Luke Sinnott 21 yard free and a point from Sean Nolan making sure of an exciting finish.
It was no surprise when Liam Gosnell got a sniff of another point for Midleton he dually obliged and looked to have sealed the win. But it was to be an incredible long range effort by Good Counsel corner back Richard Hennessy that saw his 80 yard strike sail over the bar to send the game to extra time as the final score after sixty minutes read 0-15 apiece.
A ten minute break in the dressing room seemed to work wonders for Good Counsel as they showed great composure for the first extra period, despite missing some early scoring chances they eventually hit the front as Darragh Hartley, Jimmy Sutton and Luke Sinnott pointed superbly. The defence of Good Counsel was immense in extra time with corner backs Cathal O’Connor and Jamie Myler sniffing out the threat in the corner while Jack Walsh and Richard Gill both oozed confidence under any high balls.
Good Counsel Goalkeeper Jack Byrne Doyle made some vital saves as Midleton began to look for a goal, and right before half time in extra time Good Counsel moved 0-19 to 0-15 in front as Luke Sinnott pointing for the sixth time in the game.
Midleton’s race was run and they had nothing left to give as Good Counsel snuffed out several scoring chances and with a sweeper employed in the second half of extra time any balls sent in by the Cork men were dealt with by Good Counsel.
Sam Wall, Jim Ryan and Mark O’Neill added three more points for good measure to put a gloss on Good Counsel’s win. It was not a fair reflection of the effort of a brilliant Midleton side, but the greater physicality and fitness won through in the end as the Good Counsel players were engulfed by a tide of running supporters when referee John O’Brien from Tipperary blew his full time whistle at the end of extra time.
Good Counsel College
Jack Byrne Doyle, Cathal O’Connor, Jack Walsh, Richard Hennessy (0-1), Jamie Myler, Eoin Porter, Richard Gill, Sean Nolan (0-2), Thomas O’Connor (0-1), Luke Sinnott (0-7 all frees), Mark O’Neill, Jim Ryan (0-3), Rory Higgins (0-3), Jimmy Sutton (0-1), Sam Wall (0-2) substitutes Darragh Hartley for Walsh (blood), Darragh Hartley for Nolan (injury), Michael Galvin for Wall.
Ross Walsh, Adam Daly, Sean O’Leary Hayes, Ed Leahy, Sean O’Meara, Jack McDonnell, Brendan Twomey, Daire Crotty (0-2), Chris Coughlan, Charlie Terry, Andrew Leahy, Liam O’Shea (0-1), Chris Power, Conor Keegan, Liam Gosnell (0-11 (0-4 frees)) substitutes Padraig O’Brien (0-1) for Power, Kalen O’Donoghue for O’Shea, Ryan McConville for O’Meara, Brendan Twomey for Keegan.
Referee John O’Brien Tipperary