Stephens' student denies Students title

James Stephens 1-13 UCD 1-12

UL student David McCormack denied UCD the AIB Leinster Senior Club hurling crown they so badly wanted in Portlaoise today as his late point handed Kilkenny's James Stephens a 1-13 to 1-12 decision and their first O'Neill Cup in 23 years.

McCormack's injury time point - only the Kilkenny champions' third of the second half - rescued the title for the Village side, who had led 1-10 to 0-3 at half time.

20-year-old hit man Eoin Larkin was again their leading predator, accounting for 1-6 of that tally.

UCD boss Babs Keating - forced to start without injured skipper Mick Fitzgerald - threw on three substitutions on the restart, and the switches paid dividends. Tipperary's Eamonn Ryan went in at full forward, drawing the Dublin winners up-the-field and keeping Larkin quiet.

Stephens' corner back Dermot Grogan angled a long ball through for Larkin to finish expertly to the UCD net on 16 minutes, and added to points from Larkin, Brian McEvoy, Joe Murphy and Richie Hayes, the Village looked out of sight in the first half.

However three Andrew Smith frees, another from play and a 40th minute goal from Galway forward Smith brought the deficit back to three.

Eoin McCormack of Stephens then swapped points with David Carter (0-2) - as Kilkenny youngster Carter's efforts reduced arrears to 1-12 to 1-10.

Smith tagged on another on 58 minutes before Redmond Barry levelled with just over 60 seconds remaining.

McCormack was on hand to deny Keating's charges as he drew in from the left wing and cracked over the winning point to end James Stephens long wait for a provincial title.

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