By Jimmy Rhatigan
Pics: Donal Foley
THE EXPERTS will no doubt know exactly what went wrong as St Kieran’s College collapsed.
Our local school went from brilliant to near bust in an amazing fall from grace that could have brought about one of the great hurling upsets of our time.
We could suggest that our famous hurling nursery let all of its toys fall out of the pram at the same time.
The latter led to an opportunist called Adam firing outsiders Presentation College, Athenry to the eve of a sensational All-Ireland senior hurling final victory.
Had young Adam Brett who lashed home two goals, achieved what amounted to a mission impossible then any Athenry victory would have been the greatest upset in sport since 100/1 outsider, Foinavon, described as an undistinguished Irish horse, won the English Grand National in 1967.
That piece of madness came about when the rest of the field fell, refused or were hampered or brought down in a mélee at the 23rd fence, named after Foinavon in 1984.
Granny only would have had that winner after she had done an eenie, meenie, miney mo ‘expert’ calculation.
But, not even good old gran would have ventured a wager that Presentation would have recovered from what looked like an unassailable 12-point deficit.
The history books will record that from being a dozen points in front early in the second half, St Kieran’s had a similar scoreline to the Galway school at the end of what for one school was a horrible second half but a near escape to victory fairytale for the other.
Past pupils from a Kilkenny school that could aptly claim to be the epitome of colleges’ hurling would still be scratching their more than likely bald or certainly graying heads 50 years from now had not the mighty Saints sprung back with a Lazarus-like recovery that highlighted their prowess and character.
It was huge credit to all concerned that St Kieran’s showed true grit and never even considered going down in the dumps.
The Saints dished up a double delight, two periods of extra time when their panache returned in style and brushed aside the courageous westerners who had the temerity to, and in fairness, the spirit, to put it up to our local college.
The swagger of champions returned to St Kieran’s who, very surprisingly, had walked with a wobble in a second period that will be put down to experience and, hopefully, may never be repeated.