DUBLIN NORTH 3-12 CBS KILKENNY 0-18
Dublin North are through to the Top Oil Leinster Schools SHC 'A' final following their exciting semi-final victory over CBS Kilkenny on Saturday in O'Moore Park, Portlaoise.
The Dubs will face St Kieran's in the provincial decider as early goals in each half drove Dublin North to victory.
The combination side rocked CBS Kilkenny with two unstoppable shots to the net in the opening five minutes. And despite falling behind before half time, a third goal immediately after the restart put Dublin North in control again.
The winners – with players from 11 schools in their starting 15 – were the better balanced team and deserved their victory against a CBS Kilkenny side that was over-reliant on free-taker Conor Drennan for scores.
Centre-forward Drennan finished with an impressive tally of 0-13, all but one of which came from frees. He hit 0-8 of their 0-10 tally in the opening 30 minutes and it took a superb save by a Dublin North defender to prevent him adding a goal from a 22 metre free in the 19th minute.
But last year’s beaten finalists struggled in attack against a Dublin North defence which featured sturdy displays from Andrew Dunphy and Kevin Burke in the central positions.
The inclusion of Dublin North & Dublin South in the ‘A’ Championship in recent years has assisted in the development of hurling in the capital and this year is the first year that either of them reached the decider. Previously, a combined Dublin Colleges side were Leinster Champions in 2001 and 2008.
It appeared that Dublin North were intent on raising a green flag as early as possible. Conor Berrigan and Cian Derwin supplied the key scores after determined build-up play from centre forward Lee Gannon on both occasions.
And while Conor Drennan kept CBS Kilkenny in touch from placed balls, Dublin North also had an excellent free-taker in midfielder Michael Murphy, who contributed three points in each half.
But with the wind in their favour, CBS Kilkenny turned a 2-2 to 0-4 deficit after 21 minutes into a 0-10 to 2-3 interval lead. Midfielder Joe Sheehan, with 0-2, was their only other scorer in this period.
Their lead didn’t last long, however, as substitute Billy Ryan made an instant impact for Dublin North with a well-taken goal only seconds after the restart.
They pulled further clear with points from Sean Currie and Conor Berrigan and had built up a six point advantage (3-9 to 0-12) at the three-quarter stage.
CBS Kilkenny didn’t concede defeat and as Drennan continued to raise white flags, they reduced the gap to only three points with six minutes remaining. Scores were then added by Michael Murphy and Billy Ryan for Dublin North, and Drennan and Cillian Timmons for CBS Kilkenny.
However, in a frantic finish, CBS Kilkenny couldn’t break through for the goal they required to force extra-time and so, for only the second time this decade, it won’t be an all-Kilkenny final.
DUBLIN NORTH: John Rooney; Jack Fagan, Andrew Dunphy, Tommy Kinanne; David Phelan, Kevin Burke, Conor Scully; Michael Murphy (0-6, 4f, 1 ’65), Seán Foran; Seán Clerkin, Lee Gannon, Seán Farrelly; Conor Berrigan (1-1), Seán Currie (0-2), Cian Derwin (1-2). Subs: Billy Ryan (1-1) for S Farrelly; Enda O’Donnell for C Scully; Liam Foley for S Foran.
CBS KILKENNY: David McCormack; Mickey Byrne, Barrie Lawlor, Mickey Butler; Luke Hogan, Liam Stynes, Cillian Timmons (0-1); Shane Staunton (0-1), Joe Sheehan (0-3); Oisin Murphy, Conor Drennan (0-13, 12f), Conor Heary; Jamie Ryan, Tadhg Butler, Seán Kenny. Subs: Seán Boyd for S Kenny; James Dwyer for L Hogan.
REF: Anthony Stapleton (Laois).