Ardscoil Rís hold off strong John the Baptist challenge to reach Harty Cup semi-final:

By John Keogh Limerick Leader Sport

ARDSCOIL RÍS booked their place in the 2023/24 Harty Cup semi-final with a 0-17 to 0-13 win over John the Baptist CS, Hospital in Kilmallock this afternoon.

The North Circular Road school never relinquished their early lead but were pushed all the way by a gallant effort from John the Baptist.

The Hospital side had brought Ardscoil’s lead to just one point with eight minutes left but two Fintan Fitzgerald scores and one from Eoin Carey saw Ardscoil progress. They play Thurles CBS in the semi-final after their win over St Flannan’s.

Ardscoil made their intentions clear in the opening stages with two quickfire points from Clare All-Ireland winning minor Michael Collins giving them a great start.

An excellent Hugh Flanagan score from play was the reply from John the Baptist but Danny Chaplin’s first free of the afternoon had Ardscoil 0-3 to 0-1 ahead after 10 minutes.

Diarmuid Hurley soon had that back to a one-point advantage with a fine score from play but Liam Cronin’s side then five of the next six scores.

James Finn got the scoring spree going with a well taken stroke from distance, before Collins bagged his third point of an impressive first half.

Two Chaplin frees and a beauty from play from Marc O’Brien then put Ardscoil in a great position. Owen Meany’s placed ball was the reply for John the Baptist.
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They had they better finish to the half with Flanagan proving to be a handful for the Ardscoil defence. He landed two points in the final minutes of the half, while Meany landed his second score. Chaplin and Eoin Begley, however, helped Ardscoil to a 0-10 to 0-6 half time advantage.

Meany got John the Baptist up an running in the second half with his third free of the game but two O’Brien stunning scores kept Ardscoil on the front foot. A Chaplin ’65 then put them five clear.

Cronin’s charges were unable to keep John the Baptist down for long with two Meany strikes and one from Hurley cutting the gap to three after Chaplin’s sixth of the game going into the final quarter.

A long range Meany free and a close range one from Flanagan then had John the Baptist to within a point heading into the final stages of the contest.

Ardscoil kept their cool when Carey benefitted from Daniel Scully’s pinpoint delivery to put two between the sides, before two Fitzgerald scores gave them some breathing space.

Meany came off injured in the final moments but came back on to take a 21-metre free that was stopped on the line. Jack O’Neill followed up the rebound but his ground strike went just wide of the posts and with it went John the Baptist’s hopes of a late comeback.

SCORERS – ARDSCOIL RÍS: Danny Chaplin 0-6 (0-5 frees, 0-1 ‘65), Michael Collins and Marc O’Brien 0-3 each, Fintan Fitzgerald 0-2 (0-1 free), James Finn, Eoin Begley and Eoin Carey 0-1 each.

SCORERS – JOHN THE BAPTIST: Owen Meany 0-6 (0-6 frees), Hugh Flanagan 0-4 (0-2 frees), Diarmuid Hurley 0-2, Griffin McCaffrey 0-1.

ARDSCOIL RÍS: Fionn O’Brien (Bruree); John O’Keeffe (Na Piarsaigh), Sean McMahon (Smith O’Briens), Sean Morrissey (Dromin-Athlacca); James Finn (Na Piarsaigh), Jamie Moylan (Cratloe), Daniel Scully (Dromin-Athlacca); Riain McNamara (Cratloe), Matthew O’Halloran (Sixmilebridge); Marc O’Brien (Cratloe), Fintan Fitzgerald (Mungret St Paul’s), Michael Collins (Clonlara); Danny Chaplin (Sixmilebridge), Daire Neville (Cratloe), Eoin Begley (Clonlara).

SUBS: Darragh Gleeson (Adare) for O’Keeffe (37 mins), Patrick Kearney (Adare) for Neville (47 mins), Eoin Carey (Cratloe) for Chaplin (47 mins), Sean Arthur (Newmarket on Fergus) for O’Brien (55 mins).

JOHN THE BAPTIST CS, HOSPITAL: Lorcan Costelloe (Hospital-Herbertstown); Niall McNamara (Pallasgreen), Shane Treacy (Staker Wallace), Michael Leo (Knockainey); Declan Heavey (Garryspillane), Sean Casey (Bruff), Fionnan Leahy (Knockainey); Owen Meany (Bruff), Griffin McCaffrey (Hospital-Herbertstown); Shane Ryan (Garryspillane), Hugh Flanagan (Garryspillane), Barry Callinan (Bruff); Diarmuid Hurley (Hospital-Herbertstown), Charlie Cronin (Bruff), Hugh Murnane (Caherline).

SUBS: Niall Connaughton (Caherline) for Leahy (28 mins), Jack O’Neill (Bruff) for Callinan (37 mins, inj), Callum Murphy (Ballybricken-Bohermore) for Cronin (55 mins, inj), Aidan Carroll for Meany (58 mins, inj), Meany for Murnane (62 mins).

REFEREE: Jonathan Hayes (St Senan’s).