By Seamus Hayes
St. Josephs, Tulla 0-12 Colaiste Chriost Ri, Cork 0-10
St. Josephs Tulla edged a step closer to the Munster colleges senior B hurling title when they accounted for Colaiste Chriost Ri, Cork in this semi-final replay at Ballyagran on Saturday afternoon.
In much improved weather conditions from the previous week, the Clare side deserved their narrow win but the result was in doubt right to the final whistle.
While Chriost Ri were first to score, Tulla enjoyed the better of the early exchanges and deservingly led by four points, 0-5 to 0-1, after twenty minutes. They failed to build on this, however and when the half time whistle sounded the margin was down to the minimum with Tulla 0-5 to 0-4 in front.
Chriost Ri continued to pile on the pressure on the resumption and pointed twice inside five minutes to move one clear.
At this stage, Tulla introduced Stephen Conway who returned to action following a hand injury which had kept him out since last November and his presence together with improved form from a number of the side, saw the East Clare outfit regain the upperhand and they hit the next six points to lead 0-11 to 0-6 with five minutes remaining.
The Cork side now moved Alan O’Callaghan to the attack and they piled on the pressure. Tulla full back and captain Evan McMahon suffered a facial injury eight minutes from time when a rasping shot from Sean Good struck him in the face and deflected over the bar. The injury ended McMahon’s involvement in the game and resulted in the switch of Martin Daly, who had started at full forward, to full back.
Three more points left the Cork side just one adrift as the game entered injury time but try as they did, they just could not get the leveller and Tulla had the final say when the impressive Brian Fahy converted a 20m free for his seventh point in the third minute of added time.
From the resumption of play Chriost Ri won a free in their own half back line. Ian O’Callaghan’s effort dropped into the goalmouth where an overhead strike by one of his team mates went inches wide and with it went their last chance. The final whistle followed the puck out and left Tulla safely through to the final where they will meet another Cork side, Colaiste an Spiorad Naomh or CBC who have yet to play their semi-final.
Killian Nugent, Evan McMahon, Con Smyth, Shane Hunt, Brian Fahy, Darren Chaplin and Gary Cooney impressed for the winners.
St. Josephs, Tulla–; Killian Nugent (O’C. Mills); Gavin O’Brien (Crusheen), Evan McMahon (Feakle) Captain, Eoin Donnellan (Broadford); Matthew Troy (Broadford), Con Smyth (Feakle), Shane Hunt (Tulla); Brian Fahy (Tulla) 0-7, 4 frees, Enda Noonan (Feakle); Diarmuid O’Brien (Broadford), Darren Chaplin (Broadford), Conor Henry (O’C.Mills); Gary Cooney (O’C.Mills) 0-4 Martin Daly (Feakle), Matthew Culloo (Tulla)
Subs—Stephen Conway (Feakle) 0-1 for Culloo; Pa Duggan (Newmarket) for McMahon (inj)