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Flannan’s fly into Harty Cup semi-final

St Flannan’s   4-13

St Colman’s   2-10

`THE records will show that St Flannan’s College scored a comfortable win over their great rivals, St Colman’s Fermoy, in the quarter-final of the 2011 Dr Harty Cup, Munster colleges senior A hurling championship but the reality is much different.
A point ahead with six minutes remaining, the Ennis side added 2-2 in the remaining time, which gave them a flattering nine-point margin over the Cork side in a cracking tie played at Charleville on Wednesday afternoon.
In the semi-final, scheduled for the weekend of February 5/6, the Ennis college will play either title holders Árd Scoil Rís or Thurles CBS, whose quarter-final clash goes ahead next Wednesday at Tipperary.
St Flannan’s carried the favourites’ tag into this week’s quarter-final but followers of the Ennis side were somewhat concerned in the lead-up to the game. Games between St Flannan’s and St Colman’s have been close over the years as both schools manage to bring the best out of each other. St Flannan’s record in Harty Cup competition in Charleville isn’t very impressive. They have lost many times at the North Cork venue when they were expected to win
In this week’s game, St Flannan’s started as if they were about to trounce St Colman’s, racing into a four-point lead by the fifth minute but they failed to maintain this early dominance. St Colman’s hit back with a brace of points before Jack Brown had the game’s first goal when he found the net after winning possession from a good Conor O’Gorman delivery.
Colman’s had a great goal chance midway through the half after full-forward Ger Hogan got inside the defence but he delayed his shot and Eoin Enright saved. It was 1-6 to 0-3 in the winner’s favour as half-time approached but the Cork students finished strongly and the Spillane brothers, Colm and team captain Michael, hit 1-2 to leave just two points between the sides at the break.
Two minutes after the break, Michael Spillane struck again when he punished some poor defending by Flannan’s to find the net. Bryan Carroll followed with a point to put his side two clear. Two Conor O’Gorman points at either side of an excellent Tony Kelly score had St Flannan’s back in front by the 10th minute but St Colman’s had drawn level by the three-quarter stage.
A superb piece of individual play by Shane O’Donnell saw the Éire Óg teenager beat three defenders before crashing the ball to the St Colman’s net and when Kelly converted a 70m free, St Flannan’s were four clear.
Three Michael Spillane efforts, two from frees, left one between the teams with nine minutes to play and this was still the position when midfielder Kelly hit another superb effort for the winners.
St Flannan’s got a huge boost three minutes from the end of normal time when an O’Gorman effort from 50m deceived St Colman’s goalkeeper Darragh O’Callaghan and dropped into the net. This score proved a killer blow for the Cork students and Flannan’s went on to finish strongly, adding a point from Peter Duggan, a huge effort from over 100 yards, and a goal from Shane O’Donnell, who pounced when a Tony Kelly delivery caused problems for the Cork school’s defence.
Stephen O’Halloran, Enda Boyce, Tony Kelly, in the second half, Conor O’Gorman and Shane O’Donnell were prominent for St Flannan’s but the overall team performance will have to improve if they are to progress further in the competition.

St Flannan’s: Eoin Enright (Kilmaley); Conor O’Loughlin (Crusheen), Noel Purcell (Sixmilebridge), Seadna Morey (Sixmilebridge); Enda Boyce (Cratloe), Stephen O’Halloran (Clarecastle, capt), Gearóid O’Donnell (Ballyea); Tony Kelly (Ballyea), Jarlath Colleran (Doora-Barefield); Cathal Doohan (Ballyea), Martin O’Leary (Kilmihil), Conor O’Gorman (Clarecastle); Jack Browne (Ballyea), Peter Duggan (Clooney-Quin), Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg).
Sub: Alan O’Neill (Doora-Barefield) for Doohan (55 minutes).
Scorers: Conor O’Gorman (1-4), Shane O’Donnell (2-1), Peter Duggan (0-4), Jack Browne (1-0), Tony Kelly (0-3) and Martin O’Leary (0-1).

St Colman’s: Darragh O’Callaghan; William Walsh, Cian O’Leary, Colm Barry; Pa Roche, Darragh O’Carroll, Brian Carroll; Eoin Maye, Nathan Byrne; Michael Pyne, Colm Spillane, Kieran Morrison; Michael Spillane (capt), Gerard Hogan, Jason Mannix.
Subs: Danie Mangan for Hogan (47 minutes), Kevin O’Neill for Maye (55 minutes) and Michael Wade for Pyne (56 minutes).
Scorers: Michael Spillane (2-7, 3 65s, 2f), Bryan Carroll, Colm Spillane and Kieran Morrison (0-1) each;
Referee: Fergal Horgan, Tipperary.
Two other quarter-final games were played on Wednesday afternoon. Charleville CBS, who pipped St Caimin’s, Shannon on score difference to qualify from the group, booked a semi-final spot with a 1-13 to 2-3 victory over Nenagh. They will have to wait at least another week to learn who their opponents will be after Our Lady’s, Templemore drew with Midleton CBS. The final score there was 1-17 for the Tipperary school to 3-11. The game, refereed by Clare referee Damian Fox, ended in controversy with Midleton getting a goal deep in injury time.

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