SATURDAY WAS SPECIAL for Our Lady’s Secondary School, Templemore, as they won the Dr. Harty Cup for the first time since 1978. 

For nine players who featured in last year’s final defeat to Ardscoil Rís, it was the chance to exorcise some demons and they did that in style, romping to a 19-point victory over St Colman’s.

Diarmaid Ryan, Eoghan Ryan, Brian McGrath, David O’Shea, Paddy Cadell, Stevie Nolan, Jerry Kelly and Lyndon Fairbrother all started against Ardscoil Rís in the 2016 final while Ray McCormack, full-forward last Saturday, came off the bench. 

For McGrath, Cadell and Fairbrother, the weekend victory continued a brilliant run of victories in big games.

The trio were starters on the Tipp team that won last year’s All-Ireland minor title, Kelly was on the matchday 24 for final day against Limerick while midfielder Stevie Nolan and defender Diarmaid Ryan were also members of the extended panel.

Cadell, McGrath and Fairbrother also started in the comprehensive Munster minor hurling final victory over Limerick last July. 

McGrath, the younger brother of Tipp seniors Noel and John, captained Tipp last year and Cadell was the colossal skipper for Our Lady’s as the school finally vaulted the Harty Cup final hurdle, having lost finals in 2000, 2002, 2013 and 2016.

Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Cadell was imperious at centre half back, McGrath scored 1-7 from centre forward and assisted for other scores, Fairbrother collected four points (three frees) and Kelly bagged five points from play in a magnificent display.

Now, Our Lady’s can look forward to an All-Ireland assault and having won the Harty Cup previously in 1978, Templemore CBS, as they were known at the time, went on to lift the Croke Cup too.

“The All-Ireland is there – we’ll have to regroup now and get back at it for that,” said Cadell.

“I think it’s 11 March (semi-final) so we know that’s there.

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“We were going to be in the All-Ireland series anyway after today and Colman’s were going to be there.

There’s going to be extremely stiff competition in Ireland but we’re definitely going to try and drive it on from here.”

But for Cadell and his colleagues, the immediate feeling at full-time last Saturday was one of relief, and satisfaction at a job well done.

“That’s amazing, an unbelievable feeling. To win with the lads you’re in school with for the last six years is unreal.

Brian McGrath is now a Harty Cup medallist and All-Ireland minor winning captain.

“You know them all your life. To get over the line after last year as well, the disappointment we felt in the dressing rooms in Nenagh.”

Cadell, from the JK Brackens club, acknowledged that losing to Ardscoil Rís left deep scars.

“Definitely – it’s in the back of the minds for a lot of lads. We know how it feels to lose – I never wanted to experience last year again. That did drive us on but there were a few new lads out there as well and it was nice to get over the line with them as well.

We knew it wasn’t going to be easy – we knew we had to bring our A game. People have said we probably haven’t brought our A game yet but I felt out there, we played well and we gelled together, it clicked. On another day, it mightn’t have clicked as well but that’s what happens on the day and you have to take your chances.

“We’ve been there four or five times losing – we knew it was time to make history and get over the line again. A lot of lads would still know them lads – they’re very proud of us today.

“I know he (1978 captain Martin Bourke) said he’d be as happy as he was 39 years ago if we won today – it’s very special.”

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