With a classy performance, Borrisokane Community College won their first All-Ireland C Colleges final when defeating Colaiste na Coiribhe of Galway in a one sided All-Ireland final played at Duggan Park, Ballinasloe last Saturday afternoon.
Coached by Birr and former Offaly hurler, Sean Ryan, the North Tipp College bridged a gap of fourteen years since they were crowned All-Ireland Vocational Schools A champions.
Borrisokane entered this game knowing that Colaiste na Coiribhe were going to be a formidable opposition and when they conceded an opening score to Donal O’Shea from a free after sixty seconds, one felt their fears could come true and it would be a tough day at the office.
However the response from Borrisokane was quick and when Colm Fogarty found the net in the third minute and quickly added two more points by the seventh, one felt there was only one team in it as Borrisokane continued to take the fight to the Galway school and should have had a greater lead by half time but the wides increased to eight by the 20th minute of the half.
Such was their dominance one felt they were never going to be troubled and a late surge in the final five minutes of the half yielded five points mainly thanks to Sean McAdams from frees while Conor Ryan and Neil Connelly pointed from play to put daylight between the teams, 1-11 to 0-3 at half time.
Yes there was a convincing comeback produced by Colaiste na Coiribhe and reaching the 48th minute the margin was cut to seven 1-15 to 0-11 helped by the concession of far too many frees which allowed Donal O’Shea, son of current Tipperary selector Eamon O’Shea, to become the game’s top scorer with 1-7 from placed balls.
However Borris switched McAdams and Matthew Tierney, the team captain, and Tierney in his new position, led by example with two defence splitting runs which forced the Galway opposition to panic and a scoring spree resulted with seven unanswered points arriving between the 51st and 61st minutes with Neil Connelly scoring his seventh before an injury time penalty goal by Na Coiribhe put a better picture on the scoreboard.
Donal O’Shea had the game’s opening score after sixty seconds. However the response from Borrisokane was swift as corner forward Colm Fogarty had the ball in the Galway net when the Lorrha man was quickly on to the rebound after Eoghan McGrath’s shot was saved by goalkeeper Tomas Mahoney. There was more to come as Fogarty added two more points by the seventh minute.
Borrisokane continued to press on but by the tenth minute they had five wides to their record before Sean McAdams pointed his first free in the twelfth minute. Two minutes later Adams doubled his tally but Colaiste na Coiribhe were beginning to find a rhythm especially around the middle sector where the strongly built Colm Cunningham and Jordan Ruflaigh had no difficulty in fielding high ball.
But by now both sides had difficulty in finding the target with McAdams and O’Shea guilty from frees as the wides went eight to five by half time with some of the efforts by the winners somewhat careless.
And while both sides displayed plenty ability to go forward there was much to admire from both defences especially Borrisokane where Mark Carey impressed at full back. Both Conor Culhane and Eamon Hough gave little away in the corners with Hough the busier of the two. Roan Murphy was busy at left wing back and was ably supported by Michael Slattery and Mathew Tierney as the trio cut off all avenues through the middle leaving goalkeeper Paidi Williams rarely troubled.
With McAdams and Matthew Cleary winning the midfield battle Borrisokane began to play with more confidence and as a result they finished the last ten minutes of the half in higher gear as they by outscored the opposition seven points to one as the impressive Conor Ryan and Neil Connelly scored two points each from play while McAdams made up the remainder from placed balls giving Borrisokane a 1-11 to 0-3 half time lead.
Twenty seconds after the after the changeover, Colaiste na Coiribhe were first to score when substitute Diarmuid O’Maolrua sent Jordan Ruflaigh through for a point. Neil Connelly replied with his third before O’Shea (free) and Colm Cunningham (Galway minor with O’Shea 2018) replied with a point each. Another Galway attack was this time curtailed and when Borrisokane turned defence into attack Neil Connolly scored again.
It was a classy point but thoughts of a runaway victory were left soon disappeared as Colaiste na Coiribhe hit back with an improved attack helped by two O’Shea frees and a point from play by Galway minor footballer Cathal Sweeney.
Conor Ryan hit back with a great point only to see Donal O’Shea respond with a free and the point for point continued when Conor Ryan and Donal O’Shea swapped scores as the Galway minor in 2018 picked off his seventh point to make it 1-15 to 0-11 and forty eight minutes gone.
But from there, Borrisokane re-discovered their mojo with McAdams scoring a free in the 51st minute followed by a ‘65’ three minutes later after Matthew Tierney forced goalkeeper Tomas Mahon to make a great save.
Soon it became one way traffic as Michael Tierney, Colm Fogarty (free), and Neil Connelly scored with the full forward increasing his tally to seven when scoring three in a row including one from a free as Oisin Larkin completed the win with another point before Donal O’Shea’s 62nd minute goal from a penalty put a better gloss on the scoreboard. Borrisokane were deserving winners.
SCORERS: Borrisokane CC: S McAdams (0-7, 0-5 frees, 0-2 ‘65s’); N Connelly (0-7, 0-1 free); C Fogarty (1-3, 0-1 free); C Ryan (0-3); Michael Tierney (0-2), Oisin Larkin (0-1).
Colaiste na Coiribhe; D O’Shea (1-7, 0-7 frees, 1-0 pen); C Sweeney (0-2); S Joyce and J Ruffley (0-1 each); A Creane (0-1, free).
BORRISOKANE CC: Paidi Williams (Kilruane MacDonaghs); Conor Culhane (Kiladangan), Mark Carey (Nenagh Eire Og), Eamon Hough (Shannon Rovers); Michael Slattery (Shannon Rovers), Matthew Tierney (Shannon Rovers), Roan Murphy (Borrisokane); Mathew Cleary (Kiladangan), Sean McAdams (Kilruane MacDonaghs); Eoghan McGrath (Kiladangan), John O’Meara (Shannon Rovers), Conor Ryan (Borrisokane); Oisin Larkin (Borrisokane), Neil Connelly (Portumna), Colm Fogarty (Lorrha). Subs: Michael Tierney (Shannon Rovers) (for E McGrath, 39 mins); Michael Egan (Knockshegowna) (for J O’Meara, 58 mins); David O’Sullivan (Kilruane MacDonaghs) (for C Ryan, 61 mins).
COLAISTE NA COIRIBHE: Tomas Mahon (Rahoon/Newcastle); Conor O’Buaigh (Liam Mellows), Ronan McGuiness (Salthill/Knocknacarra), Stephen Feeney (Barn /Furbo); Ian Ruffley (Rahoon/Newcastle), James Smith (Castlegar), Brendan Hammon (Salthill/Knocknacarra); Donal O’Shea (Salthill/Knocknacarra), Colm Cunningham (Moycullen); Brendan Palmer (Salthill/Knocknacarra), Jordan Ruffley (Rahoon/Newcastle), Oisin Gormally (Barna/Furbo); Cathal Sweeney (Salthill/Knocknacarra), Sean Joyce (Moycullen), Aengus Creane (Salthill/Knocknacarra). Subs: Diarmuid O’Maolrua (for B Palmer, half time); Donal Enright (Moycullen) (for Feeney, 47 mins, inj); James McLoughlin (Moycullen) (for Creane, 46 mins).
REFEREE: Johnny Murphy (Limerick).