The Our Lady's Templemore team which beat Thurles CBS in the quarter-finals.
The hurling people of Mid Tipperary are preparing this week to descend on Páirc na nGael in Limerick to support Our Lady's Templemore in their valiant quest to win the Dr Harty Cup back for the first time since 1978 - Our Lady’s face St Colman’s Fermoy in the provincial senior A colleges final on Saturday, February 18th at 2pm.
Since 1978 Our Lady’s Templemore lost the decider in 2000 (St Flannan’s), 2002 (St Colman’s) and 2013 (Waterford Colleges) before suffering a heart-breaking defeat at the hands of Árdscoil Rís, Limerick in the 2016 final.
Our Lady’s, however, appear well-equipped to mount a huge challenge against final favourites St Colman’s on Saturday - in the first round Our Lady’s beat St Flannan’s (1-23 to 1-12) before seeing off Árdscoil Uí Urmaltaigh, Bandon with forty-two points to spare (6-27 to 0-3). In the quarter-finals Templemore got the better of Thurles CBS (3-14 to 1-10) before seeing off a resolute Nenagh CBS team in the last four (1-15 to 0-14).
The Our Lady’s Templemore team are carefully managed by Noel Fogarty and Tom Byrnes and feature some terrific players, namely captain Paddy Cadell, 2016 county minor captain Brian McGrath, Andrew Ormonde, Jerry Kelly, Lyndon Fairbrother, Diarmuid Ryan, Ray McCormack and David O'Shea.
ST COLMAN'S FERMOY
Our Lady’s, however, face a St Colman’s College, Fermoy team who enjoy a tradition of breaking the hearts of Tipperary men. St Colman’s are nine-time champions of the competition (1948, 1949, 1977, 1992, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002 & 2003). And, in three of those deciders St Colman’s have beaten Tipperary opposition - Nenagh CBS in 1996 & 1997 and Our Lady’s in 2002.
This year St Colman’s are chasing a prestigious double - earlier this season St Colman’s beat Thurles CBS after a replay (2-12 to 1-13) in the Dean Ryan Cup final (under-16.5A colleges hurling championship).
Interestingly 13 years had passed since St Colman’s last won the Dean Ryan Cup - ominously the Fermoy college won both the Dean Ryan and Harty Cups in 2003. Boarding students were phased out at St Colman’s in 2003 and Fermoy have not progressed to a Harty Cup final since even though the Cork school had placed three titles back-to-back from 2001 to 2003. Indeed, since then St Colman’s have had to change how they do their business, utterly. In 2002, for example, St Colman’s beat Our Lady’s Templemore 2-18 to 0-6 with a team featuring Limerick captain Maurice O’Brien, Waterford’s Stephen Molumphy and, of course, Limerick star Andrew O’Shaughnessy.
Now St Colman’s have a team of eleven teachers in the school working to develop the talent which passes through the doors. The team is managed by Flannan Cleary and the management team also features Bill O’Flynn, Noel Crowley, Shane Roche and Thurles man Michael Collins.
During their charge to the final St Colman’s beat Christian Brothers College, Cork (3-12 to 1-12) and St Flannan’s (4-22 to 2-19 aet), but, and significantly, Fermoy beat CBS Midleton twice (2-15 to 1-14 in the opening round and 1-8 to 0-7 in the semi-final).
CBS Midleton won the 2014 and 2015 Dean Ryan Cups which duly installed the east Cork school as favourites to win the Dr Harty Cup outright. St Colman’s, however, had other ideas and a brace of wins over CBS Midleton suggests that this Fermoy team is one of real pedigree. CBS Midleton, of course, also dethroned Árdscoil Rís, the defending champions, in the last eight.
Full-forward Brian Roche fired home the key goal against CBS Midleton while Barry Murphy represents a powerful presence at centre-forward. Up front Jamie Sheehan is also worth keeping a close eye on. Centre-back Niall O’Leary is a key influence on the St Colman’s defence, Conleth Ryan and Diarmuid Lenihan are also outstanding players while goalkeeper Eoin Davis is destined for great things.
Don't miss this week's six-page preview of the 2017 Dr Harty Cup final in the Tipperary Star which features interviews with Our Lady's captain Paddy Cadell, Templemore joint-managers Tom Byrnes and Noel Fogarty. Noel Dundon chats with St Colman's selector and Thurles man Michael Collins while Toomevara's Benny Dunne chats to the Tipperary Star about his memories of winning the Dr Harty Cup with St Flannan's in 1999.
POTENTIAL HARTY CUP FINAL STARTING TEAMS
Our Lady’s Templemore: Eoin Collins (Drom & Inch), Seán Ryan (Templederry Kenyons), Páraic Campion (Drom & Inch), Eoghan Ryan (Loughmore-Castleiney), Neil Quinlan (JK Bracken’s), Paddy Cadell (JK Bracken’s, captain), Aidan O’Meara (Drom & Inch), Diarmuid Ryan (Clonakenny), Stevie Nolan (Drom & Inch), David O’Shea (JK Bracken’s), Brian McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney), Jerry Kelly (Borris-Ileigh), Andrew Ormonde (JK Bracken’s), Ray McCormack (Borris-Ileigh), Lydon Fairbrother (JK Bracken’s).
St Colman’s Fermoy: Eoin Davis (St Catherine’s), Eoin Wallace (St Catherine’s), Jamie O’Leary (Castlelyons), Kieran Neville (St Catherine’s), Seán McCarthy (Fermoy), Niall O’Leary (Castlelyons), Eoin Roche (Bride Rovers), Shane O’Connor (Bride Rovers), Diarmuid Lenihan (Ballyhooley), Jamie Sheehan (Kilworth), Barry Murphy (Castlelyons), David Lardner (Fermoy), Conleith Ryan (Bride Rovers), Brian Roche (Bride Rovers), Adam Creed (Fermoy).
ROUTES TO THE FINAL
Our Lady's Templemore 1-15 Nenagh CBS 0-14
St Colman’s Fermoy 1-8 Midleton CBS 0-7
Our Lady’s Templemore 3-14 Thurles CBS 1-10
St Colman’s Fermoy 3-12 Christian Brothers College, Cork 1-12
Our Lady’s Templemore 6-27 Árdscoil Uí Urmaltaigh, Bandon 0-3
St Colman’s Fermoy 4-22 St Flannan’s 2-19 (aet)
Our Lady’s Templemore 1-23 St Flannan’s 1-12
St Colman’s Fermoy 2-15 CBS Midleton 1-14
Pictured above are the Our Lady's Templemore team which beat Thurles CBS in the quarter-finals of the Dr Harty Cup - back from left: Eoghan Ryan, Gerry Kelly, Pauric Campion, Diarmuid Ryan, Lyndon Fairbrother, Owen Collins, David O'Shea & Ray McCormack. Front from left: De Lacy Byrne, Paddy Cadell (captain), Brian McGrath, Andrew Ormond, Neil Quinlan, Stephen Nolan & Aidan O'Meara.