Ballyfin College 1-11 Portlaoise CBS 2-3
2003 Leinster Senior ‘B’ Colleges Hurling Shield Final
Fifteen years ago, Ballyfin College and Portlaoise CBS went to battle in the Leinster senior ‘B’ colleges hurling shield final in O’Moore Park.
It was a cold and wet day, but it didn’t take from this fiercely fought derby match.
Up until the first half, the two teams were evenly matched but it took an outstanding second half display from Ballyfin College to put the game beyond Portlaoise CBS and claim the title.
Prior to the game, Ballyfin had some injury worries when one of their key men, Simon Norton had injured his knee the day before, which resulted in him being switched from centre to full-forward.
In truth, it worked out wonderfully for Ballyfin as Norton was able utilize his superb balling winning ability and provide chances to the forwards around him.
The game had plenty of clubmates on opposing sides, with five Portlaoise men lining out for Ballyfin and nine for the CBS, while clubs such as Clonad, Ratheniska and Ballyfin having men on both sides and it certainly added to the intensity of the game.
There was a lot of talent on display with some of the players going on to represent Laois at a high level, most notably Ballyfin full-back Cahir Healy, who has been involved on Laois hurling and football panels for over a decade.
Other notable names were MJ Tierney, who up until a few years ago was one of Laois footballers key men, Scott Conroy who also featured on county football panels, Eoin Kearns who is currently a selector on the Laois senior footballers. Irish international athlete Dan Mulhare lined out at wing back.
Ballyfin College ran out five point winners in the end largely thanks to the six point haul from the reliant free taker Eoin Fitzpatrick and a crucial goal by Kilcotton club man Conor Phelan.
SCORERS – Ballyfin College: Eoin Fitzpatrick 0-6 (all frees), Conor Phelan 1-0, Simon Norton 0-2, Colm Walsh, Brendan Fingleton and Diarmuid Dooley 0-1 each. Portlaoise CBS: MJ Tierney 2-1, Derek Delaney 0-2 (all frees).
BALLYFIN COLLEGE: James Delaney (Camross); Bernard Rochford (Mountmellick), Cahir Healy (Portlaoise), Jack Fennell (Portlaoise); Paul Phelan (Mountrath), Tadhg Browne (Clonad), Sean Gilmore (Camross); Sean Cotter (Portlaoise), Diarmuid Dooley (Portlaoise); Brendan Fingleton (Ratheniska), Colm Walsh (Rosenallis), Eoin Fitzpatrick (Portlaoise); Eoin Kearns (Mountrath), Simon Norton (Clonad), Conor Phelan (Kilcotton). Subs: John Downey (Ballyfin), Diarmuid Murphy (Mountrath), Paul Bonham (Portlaoise).
PORTLAOISE CBS: Shane Bohane (Portlaoise); Darren Murphy (Portlaoise), Sean Egan (Clonad), Maurice Murphy (Ratheniska); Dan Mulhare (Clonad), Mark Phelan (Portlaoise), Joe Gleeson (Portlaoise); Keith Murphy (Portlaoise), Brian Murphy (Clonad); Cathal Óg Greene (Ratheniska), Keith McCormack (Portlaoise), Derek Delaney (Portlaoise); MJ Tierney (Ballypickas), Kieran Delaney (Ratheniska), Scott Conroy (Ballypickas). Subs: Barry Fitzgerald (Portlaoise), Ciaran Fitzpatrick (Ballyfin), James Shalloe (Portlaoise).
Alf Harvey was there that day and he captured some of the best action below.