OMAGH CBS 4-14 NAAS CBS 0-8
The unprecedented run of success fashioned by Naas CBS came to a juddering halt, hopefully a temporary one, as the reigning All Ireland Champions ran into a highly accomplished Omagh CBS side at St Tiarnach’s Park in Clones on Saturday afternoon in a one-sided Masita All Ireland Post Primary Schools Senior A semi-final. Nobody can take away their provincial title, their fourth from five successive finals but, on this occasion, they were simply outgunned by a far superior Omagh, who led from first minute to last.
The Tyrone side, whose only previous appearance in the Hogan Cup decider was a winning one in 2007, took command from the first minute when Ruairí McCullagh pointed from the left wing, and they had further scores on the board from Conor Owens and corner back Nathan Ferry before a free from Carl Lennox registered what turned out to be Naas CBS’ only score of a miserable first half.
Omagh were playing with the aid of the stiffish breeze and took full advantage in the second quarter as they blew Naas apart, scoring 2-7 with no reply from the Kildare side. Goals from corner forwards McCullagh and Liam Óg Mossey in the 23rd and 25th minutes franked their superiority and really there was no way back for the disappointing Leinster champions at that point.
It’s not that Naas were missing chances, more a case of not having the possession with which to fashion them. Lennox was their only player to threaten the Omagh goal in the opening half, bouncing one point attempt off the crossbar early on and dropping another short just before the welcome reprieve of half-time.
At that stage Omagh CBS were leading 2-10 to 0-1 with 2-6 of their total coming from a rampant inside forward line of McCullagh, Owens and Mossey and any hopes of a miracle for Naas were quashed when the free-flowing Ulster side turned the screw with two further goals from Owens and wing back Caolan Donnelly in the fourth and fifth minutes after the break with the Naas defence falling apart at the seams. That’s not to downplay the fine movement of the Omagh forwards nr the quality of their finishing, although goalkeeper Fintan Quinn was unlucky to not prevent Donnelly’s effort from scrambling over the line.
Those goals left twenty-one points between the sides and although Cian Boran and Ryan Sinkey registered Naas CBS’ first two points from play shortly afterwards, it was not enough to trigger a resurgence, with the half descending into a low-key affair with both sides emptying their benches.
Sinkey brought his tally from play to three with two fine scores, but they were the only real bright spots in a hugely disappointing display for the County Town school. Omagh kept the scoreboard ticking over at the other end as they eased to a comprehensive eighteen-point success.
The Red Hand side had impressive performers all over the field with centre-back Callum Daly a composed play-maker, late replacement Cormac Watson dominating the skies from kick-outs and the inside forward line proving lethal. They will expect a sterner test when they meet Summerhill from Sligo in the final on St Patrick’s Day in Croke Park. For Naas, Sinkey and Lennox were the most prominent in attack and Eoin Lawlor and Charlie Murphy had some good moments in defence, but it was clear from early on it wasn’t going to be their day.
NAAS CBS: Fintan Quinn (Naas); Niall Cramer (Raheens), Charlie Murphy (Naas), Cian Boran (Eadestown) 0-1; Daniel Hamill (Raheens), Eoin Lawlor (Naas), Evan O’Briain (Naas); Austin Brennan (Blessington), Tom Kelly (Naas) 0-1; Fionn McCarthy (Raheens), Carl Lennox (Kill) 0-3 (3fs), Daire Gilmartin (Raheens); Stephen Kelly (Sallins), Callum Barrett (Ballymore Eustace), Ryan Sinkey (Naas) 0-3. SUBS: Cian O’Reilly (Raheens) for McCarthy 20, Finn Ryan (Kill) for D Gilmartin 37, Jamie McGuirk (Naas) for Hamill 37, Evan Gilmartin (Raheens) for Barrett 47, Adam Maguire (Eadestown) for O’Briain 47.
OMAGH CBS: Conor McAnarney; Nathan Farry 0-1, Barry McMenamin, Seán Kerr; Caolan Donnelly 1-0, Callum Daly, Tomás Haigney 0-1; Eoin Donaghy, Charlie Donnelly 0-1; Cormac Watson, Eoin McElholm 0-2, Lorcan McCullagh 0-1; Ruairí McCullagh 1-2 (1f), Conor Owens 1-4 (1f), Liam Óg Mossey 1-1. SUBS: Daithí McCallan for Charlie Donnelly 37, Caolan O’Hagan for Owens 42, Niall McCarney 0-1 for Watson 47, Ciaran McConnell for Donaghy 47, Brian Gallager for Caolan Donnelly 50.
Referee: Maggie Farrelly (Cavan).