Harty experience comes full circle for Peters
By Shane Brophy
Nenagh CBS selector Jack Peters knows the bitter taste of losing a Harty Cup final as a player, and despite going onto win an All-Ireland Colleges title later in that 2012 campaign, as well as a minor All-Ireland title with Tipperary, the Kilruane native said Saturday’s success is special.
“For me it is a better experience than 2012,” Peters said.
“Even though 2012 was brilliant as well, I was talking to Steven O’Brien and Kevin Gubbins after the game, it is such a great school community, and we are all so proud as Nenagh CBS people. You won’t meet them as often and life doesn’t work out like in school where you see them every week, but they will have this experience.”
Peters revealed they tapped into the 2012 final loss to help prepare the players for the occasion where Nenagh in previous finals were beaten after the first quarter, on this occasion, they hit the ground running and gave themselves the platform to compete, and ultimately win.
“We mentioned 2012 and the previous ones, but these lads don’t really care about the past,” Peters added.
“They are young and are looking forward all the time. Their enthusiasm and belief, even when we went two points down, we didn’t feel it was over. We had three or four chances at it (goal) and that sums them up. Even the wide against Charleville, a lot of teams would have let them lose the match, but our lads kept the heads up.
“Ardscoil got off to a good start and went four points up, and then Austin Duff made a huge impact, our subs made a huge impact, we have a great panel.”
He added: “We have huge leaders; we had a job for Andy Hoolan on (Diarmuid) Stritch. I watched the Thurles match and in the first ten minutes they scored eight points, and he was involved in all of them, and we told Andy to nullify him, and he did it.
“Ciaran Foley probably came up with two of the biggest plays of the game, down the left side, the two points he got.
“The standard of the match was top class. The biggest turning point was the last five minutes of the first half, they worked so far and forced huge turnovers.
“The second half they bypassed our half-back line a lot with a one bounce pass into the full forward line, like the way Limerick play, but we came up with a couple of big moments, Darragh McCarthy, Ciaran Foley, Mason Cawley got excellent points by driving at their defence, leaders again.
“Cian Connolly got sick at half time, he was white as a ghost but stepped up in the second half and wanted to continue on.”
It might feel like Nenagh CBS have achieved their aim, but Jack Peters will be able to tap into a positive memory from his playing days with the school as they have to refocus quickly for an All-Ireland quarter final on Saturday week.
“It will be about grounding ourselves again,” he said.
“We did in 2012 after losing the Harty and coming back to win the All-Ireland. Ardscoil did the same in 2022 when they lost the Harty to Tulla so we will have to regroup but we have to enjoy this, even though the mocks start on Tuesday.
“There is almost a sense of purpose as you are still hurling. If you don’t get to the Harty final, January and February are dull months, but we have a pep in our step and try and will look to keep it going as long as we can because when it is over it is over.”