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Our Lady's Templemore claim Harty Cup
Harty Cup Final
Our Ladys Secondary School, Templemore Tipperary 2-22 St Colmans College Cork 1-6
By Jackie Cahill at the Gaelic Grounds, Limerick
For the first time in 39 years, Our Ladys Secondary School, Templemore, are Dr. Harty Cup champions.
Our Ladys were known simply as Templemore CBS back in 1978 when Martin Bourke captained the team to glory, but the long wait finally ended in front of 4,924 spectators at Limericks Gaelic Grounds this afternoon.
To make it even better, Our Ladys delivered a big performance on the big day to rout nine-time champions St Colmans by 19 points.
It was a display worthy of champions and after losing finals in 2000, 2002, 2013 and last year, Our Ladys ended the famine in style.
Eight players who started the 2016 final loss to Ardscoil Rs lined out again as Our Ladys made no mistake when this latest opportunity presented itself.
Brian McGrath, captain of the Tipperary team that captured All-Ireland minor glory last year, scored 1-7 from centre forward but Our Ladys had heroes all over the field.
Jerry Kelly was superb at wing forward with five points and midfielder Stevie Nolan, who went off bloodied in stoppage time, contributed four points in a power-packed performance.
Skipper Paddy Cadell, another All-Ireland minor winner last year, marshalled a rock-solid rearguard as, from the off, Our Ladys made their intentions clear, racing into a 0-5 to 0-0 lead within nine minutes.
McGrath got the ball rolling with a free before Nolan, Kelly, McGrath again and Andrew Ormonde pointed from play.
St Colmans, in their first Harty final in 14 years, finally got off the mark when wing-back Eoin Roche put over a ninth-minute point but in the opening half, none of their forwards managed to score from play.
Niall OLeary also contributed from the half-back line while midfielder Diarmuid Lenihan scored two frees.
In contrast, Our Ladys would finish the first half with five of their six forwards on target, while Nolan contributed three points from midfield.
Ahead to 0-6 to 0-2, Our Ladys struck for goal in the 17th minute and it was a brilliant Andrew Ormonde effort as he left Kieran Neville trailing in his wake before crashing a shot into the far top corner.
Our Ladys were almost in for a second goal three minutes before half-time but Ray McCormacks shot was blocked by St Colmans goalkeeper Eoin Davis.
In first half stoppage time, Our Ladys managed three points to open up a 1-12 to 0-4 interval lead.
They were full value for that 11-point margin, too, and other scores were left out there as Our Ladys registered eight wides before the break, compared to just two for St Colmans.
Our Ladys were too hot to handle, as McGrath played the link man role brilliantly from centre forward.
A 24th-minute score vividly illustrated how tuned in Our Ladys were, as Nolan and McGrath played a one-two before Nolan arrowed over a classy score.
David Lardner pointed from play early in the second half as St Colmans forward finally got on the scoresheet but that was the sum total of the attacking sextets efforts.
OLeary was the best St Colmans player on view and after he was shoved into attack, the Castlelyons starlet bagged a 49th-minute goal.
But within a minute, McGrath had cancelled that out at the other end and when he added a free, Our Ladys were 2-20 to 1-5 ahead.
It was a day when a far superior Our Ladys outfit would respond to whatever was thrown at them and their commitment to the cause was summed up in stoppage time when Nolan threw his head in the way of Lardners shot and was taken off with blood streaming from his face.
Colmans will now regroup for an All-Ireland quarter-final clash with St Brigids of Loughrea, with Our Ladys safely through to a Croke Cup semi-final on 11 March.
Scorers for Our Ladys: Brian McGrath 1-7 2fs, 265s, Jerry Kelly 0-5, Stevie Nolan 0-4, Andrew Ormonde 1-1, Lyndon Fairbrother 0-4 3fs, David OShea 0-1.
Scorers for St Colmans: Niall OLeary 1-1, Diarmuid Lenihan 0-3 2fs, Eoin Roche and David Lardner 0-1 each.
Our Ladys Secondary School, Templemore: Eoin Collins Drom & Inch; Sean Ryan Templederry Kenyons, Paraic Campion Drom & Inch, Eoghan Ryan Loughmore-Castleiney; Neil Quinlan JK Brackens, Paddy Cadell JK Brackens, Capt, Aidan OMeara Drom & Inch; Diarmaid Ryan Clonakenny, Stevie Nolan Drom & Inch; David OShea JK Brackens, Brian McGrath Loughmore/Castleiney, Jerry Kelly Borris-Ileigh; Andrew Ormonde JK Brackens, Ray McCormack Borris-Ileigh, Lyndon Fairbrother JK Brackens.