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Limerick CBS 4; St Paul’s (Waterford) 0

St Paul’s went into this game as rank outsiders against a Limerick CBS side who paraded no less than four current internationals.

The Shannonside school were also aiming to make it four Munster titles in a row. Leading up to the game the St Paul’s manager Mairead Collins felt that her side would have to keep the Limerick side scoreless during the opening 20 minutes to be in with a realistic chance of bringing the Munster title back to Waterford. But her plans were not helped when central defender and recently-capped Under 17 player Brian Nolan had to withdraw from the team prior to kick off with illness.

Limerick CBS are a big physical outfit and they made their presence felt from the opening whistle, so much so that St Paul’s had to concede ground from the outset. They led two-nil after 17 minutes of play and at the interval they held a four-goal advantage.

To their eternal credit, the St Paul’s team played superbly in the second half and for long periods in the second 45 minutes they looked the better outfit. But trying to pull back such a deficit was always going to be an impossible task.

This was the first Munster final the Waterford school were contesting in eight years; sadly it did not go according to plan. There is no doubt that Limerick CBC deserved to win, but the final score was most unfair to the Waterford team.

Lots of pressure

Limerick came charging out of the traps straight from the opening whistle and they forced three free-kicks just outside the St Paul’s penalty during the opening 6 minutes. All of those were taken by Eoin Hanrahan and Andrew Power had to be alert to head the third delivery clear as striker Shane Clarke was ready to pounce.

However, one minute later Hanrahan sent over yet another free kick from the right. This time he sent the ball deep into the St Paul’s penalty area and although they appeared to be plenty of defenders, Kevin Barry was given acres of room to head home from 6 yards.

Shane Nolan, who was to go on to have a very good game for St Paul’s, went close with a shot from outside the penalty area 3 minutes later. However, Limerick CBS increased their advantage on 17 minutes and again it proved to be a soft goal from their point of view.

Shane Clare was fed by Brendan Mullins down the left flank. Clarke, who is one of their internationals, sent the ball low into the St Paul’s six yards box and when goalkeeper Robert Breslin was unable to reach the cross, Jamie Richardson had no difficulty touching the ball over the goal-line.

Shane Rochford played in Sean Corcoran after 24 minutes but, after getting a little space, Corcoran had his hard shot brilliantly saved by another Limerick CBS international, goalkeeper Brian Collopy.

St Paul’s were enjoying a good spell at this stage and on 27 minutes Shane Nolan was just off-target after he had met a throw-in taken by Adam Forsey from the right.

Limerick CBS won another free-kick after 31 minutes, this time out on the left. Shane Clare took it just outside the penalty area and although he did not hit the ball hard it beat Robert Breslin who could have been unsighted.

The roof fell in completely on St Paul’s on 36 minutes. The Limerick goalkeeper Brian Collopy saved a free-kick taken by Shane Nolan and when he lashed the ball downfield, left winger Craig McMarlow raced on to it and without breaking stride unleashed an unstoppable shot on the run with his left foot past Robert Breslin.

The St Paul’s goalkeeper had to be alert on two further occasions afterwards by rushing from his line to take the ball off dangerous attackers.

Improved form

Mairead Collins altered the St Paul’s team during the break, making a number of positional changes and her new-look side looked much sharper and tighter at the back.

Early in the second period Andrew Power almost pulled a goal back for the Waterford side but Brian Collopy spread himself to save. Just before the hour mark St Paul’s went close once again when Davin Phelan tried to meet a free-kick taken by Craig Gailbert but he just failed to make contact in front of goal.

Another Craig Gailbert free-kick on 68 minutes was met on this occasion by Andrew Power but his powerful shot went narrowly over Brian Collopy’s crossbar.

St Paul’s continued to press away at the Limerick side but try as they might they could not get their name on the scoresheet. It was a very good display in the second half by St Paul’s but the opening 45 minutes proved just to much for them and the dream had died for at least another year.

Limerick CBS: Brian Collopy, Jack Allen, Brendan Mullins, Pat Collins, Richard Mullins, Jason Hughes, Jamie Richardson, Eoin Hanrahan, Shane Clarek, Kevin Barry, Craig McMarlow. Subs: Stephen Robinson for Hanrahan (63 mins), Gary Griffin for Allen (75 mins), Jamie Kelly for Clarke (79 mins).

St Paul’s: Robert Breslin, Daniel Phelan, Craig Gailbert, Martin O’Neill, Davin Phelan, Adam Forsey, Andrew Power, Shane Nolan, Dean Crowley, Shane Rochford, Sean Corcoran. Subs.: Shane Hayes for Forsey (H-T), David Griffin for Nolan (85 mins)

Referee. Tom Keating (Tipperary).