Future Galway star lights up Tullamore as Raphael's down Castlecomer
St Raphael's College 1-18 Castlecomer CS 1-14
It was a B final but God it was not played at second grade pace.
From the minute Jack Morrissey soared into the Tullamore sky to pluck a raking delivery after 12 seconds, there was always a little bit of cut about this game. The St Pat's Ballyragget club man turned on a sixpence before firing over and we were away.
Castlecomer one up, a great start for the Kilkenny men to get the crowd going. And they'd keep the pressure on for the next few. Jack Buggy, a skilful, dandy operator on the half forward line tapped over a free and Raphael's looked to be in a bit of other.
Some chance of that.
Their defence, admittedly under a bit of pressure in those early stages, roared into it in Tullamore. In the corner, Shane Morgan from the Loughrea club was outstanding, as was Evan Cox out in front of him in the half back line.
Not only were these plucky defenders winning hard earned ball, they were also selfless and hard-working once they got it in their hands. They didn't lamp it without looking to the disadvantage of their forwards, they worked it out of defence sublimely and admirably, often going with the short ball to their midfielders.
In midfield, Alex Connaire from Sarsfields was loving it. He dropped deep and with the ball coming his way, he was able to cause untold problems for the Castlecomer defence, through his route one running and his sharp delivery.
And then they had Adrian Prendergast. The tall, rangy Craughwell club man was out on his own in this one. He clipped over a couple of beauties in the first half, showing pace, guile and craft all the way through.
With that, Comer were being pushed out of the game and by half-time they were down by 1-10 to 0-8, the Raphael's goal a masterclass in both attacking and defending.
Thomas Slaterry, a late inclusion to replace the injured Cooney, leapt into the sky for a 60:40 ball and came out alive and kicking. He bore down on goal only for his swing to be expertly hooked by Colm Kealy from Ballyragget.
Slattery, however, showed great awareness to flick it across for teammate O'Regan to finish.
Comer did rally in the second half, a wonder goal from Bill Dowling getting them going again.
The stuff of dreams for any corner forward. Ciaran Cooney flicking over heads before setting up Bill Dowling for @CastlecomerHigh goal.
3 in it now and we're in for a grandstand finish!
Watch live on TG4 stream pic.twitter.com/qmaeUCKo8E
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) March 30, 2019
From TG4 Live stream.
But Raphael's had too much, that man Prendergast unstoppable and it was his trademark from out near the sideline that had the crowd going wild.
It's no wonder he's been called into the Galway under-20s.
Raphael's kept it going from there, with Darren Shaughnessy coming into it, and they kicked onto win by four.
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) March 30, 2019
St Raphael's College team
1 Cian Warde
2 Shane Morgan
3 Adam Nolan
4 Dean Moran
5 Ryan Keleghan
6 Evan Cox
7 Keith Dervan
12 Tiernan Killeen
9 Alex Connaire (0-2)
10 Sean Connaughton (0-5, 0-3f, 0-1 sideline)
11 Adrian Prendergast (0-6, 0-1f)
14 Aidan Fahy
13 Mark O'Regan (1-2)
15 Darren Shaughnessy (0-2)
18 Conor Slatterry
Subs: Jack Cooney for Ryan Keleghan (55)
Castlecomer CS team
1 Karl Downey
2 Dara Delaney
3 Colm Kealy
4 Conor McMahon
5 Dan Coogan
6 James Brennan (0-1f)
7 Chris Korff
8 Dean Bray
9 Declan Buggy
10 Eoin Cahill (0-1)
11 Thomas Brennan
12 Jack Buggy (0-9, 0-7f, 0-2 65)
13 Ciaran Cooney
14 Jack Morrissey (0-2)
15 Michae Doyle (0-1)
21. Bill Dowling (1-0) for Michael Doyle (HT,) Billy O'Neill for Thomas Brennan (52)