Scoil Mhuire Abbeyleix withstod the formidable challenge of St Paul’s CBS from Portlaoise in a cracking Boys Division 1 final last Thursday afternoon.
This game got the 2013 Cumann na mBunscol hurling finals up and running, and what a game it was to whet the appetite.
There were some wonderful displays by players on both teams, with Abbeyleix just shading it in the end after a ding-dong battle.
The impressive Ciaran Byrne had opened the scoring for the game in the opening minute, when he cut in from the left wing and fired to the net. Portlaoise responded with a point from Cormac Rigney, but Abbeyleix, and Byrne in particular, were on fire early on. Two points from Byrne had Abbeyleix 1-2 to 0-1 up after seven minutes.
Portlaoise would dominate the res tof the half, however, and points from Eoin O’Connor and two 65s from Cormack Rigney got them within one. With confidence building, Cathal Duggan then struck for two goals in five minutes as St Paul’s lead 2-4 to -12 at half time.
With a fierce wind blowing down the field (it blew over the goalposts at one stage), Abbeyleix would now have it to their advantage and they made it count early with a goal from Aaron Brennan.
Soon after, another goal from Lee Maher and two points from Ciaran Byrne put them three up, but Portlaoise came back. Cormac Rigney pointed two more 65s, two very impressive scores considering they were into the wind, but Byrne then struck again for another goal after a jinking run to make to 4-4 to 2-6.
Portlaoise weren’t about to throw in the the towel though, and a Jack Coss goal had them within one going into the final minutes, but a late point from Ciaran Byrne settled it in Abeyleixs favour.
At the end of a great game, credit must go to Ciaran Byrne, Stephen Thompson and Aaron Brennan for Abbeyleix, while for St Paul’s, Cormac Rigney, Cathal Duggan and Shane Buggie tried hardest.
SCORERS – Abbeyleix: Ciaran Byrne 2-5 (0-2 frees), Lee Maher, Aaron Brennan 1-0 each; St Paul’s: Cathal Duggan 2-0, Cormac Rigney 0-5 (0-4 65s), Jack Coss 1-0, Eoin O’Connor 0-1
ST PAUL’S: Diarmuid Brosnan; Shane Buggie, Ben Conroy; Rian O’Connell, Damon Larkin; Cian Dowling Byrne, Eoin O’Connor; Jack Coss, Cormac Rigney; Cathal Duggan, Niall Carey. Subs: Cillian Duff for Carey
ABBEYLEIX: Pauric Peacock; Adam Dooley, Cian Purcell; Brian Whitty, Stephen Thompson; Aaron Brennan, Lee Maher; Lee Maher, Ciaran Byrne; Fionan Mahoney, Ben Freeman. Subs: Robert Corkish for Mahoney