AFTER 80 minutes of superb action, St Fergal’s, Rathdowney eventually prevailed over Colaiste Phobal, Roscrea in a game that showcased all that is good about the game of hurling.
All Ireland VS Senior Hurling ‘A’ semi-final
St Fergal’s 3-19
Colaiste Phobal 2-15
(after extra time)
The two teams went at it from the off in a fast, free flowing and very fair game in the biting cold in Templemore on Saturday afternoon.
St Fergal’s led by 1-9 to 0-7 at the break with the goal coming from Aidan Corby but Colaiste Phobal came out all guns blazing in the second-half and two goals in the space of two minutes from Sam Conlon put the Roscrea into a four point lead with a quarter of the game to go.
St Fergal’s responded scoring six of the next seven points to move two points clear with three minutes to go but points from Jamie Dooley and Conlon snatched a draw for Colaiste Phobal to force the game to extra-time.
However St Fergal’s were the stronger side in extra-time with a goal from Stephen Bergin in the first period edging them in front and they wrapped the game up in the final ten minutes adding 1-2 without reply.
It was a tough defeat for Colaiste Phobal who featured three Laois players in their starting 15 with another coming off the bench. St Fergal’s featured an entirely Laois based team and the talent on display bodes well for the future of hurling in the county.
As well as a number of brilliantly taken scores, this thrilling encounter was filled blocking, hooking and total commitment from all the players who took to the field.
Colaiste Phobal started strongly and put the opening three points on the board inside the first six minutes. Daire Quinlan and Patrick Whelan pulled points back for St Fergal’s with Conor Sheedy responding for the Roscrea side to leave two points between the sides after ten minutes.
Two points apiece from Stephen Bergin and Aidan Corby put St Fergal’s in front for the first time midway through the half as the intensity of the game increased.
Conor Sheedy and Stephen Bergin exchanged points to maintain the gap at two before an opportunist goal from Aidan Corby put five between the sides with 20 minutes on the clock.
Before half-time St Fergal’s Daire Quinlan and Colaiste Phobal’s Conor Sheedy exchanged two points apiece from frees to leave the score at 1-9 to 0-7 in the Laois school’s favour at the break.
However the momentum swung to the Tipperary side in the first ten minutes of the second-half as they outscored St Fergal’s by 2-4 to just a single point with the goals coming from Sam Conlon.
That run put them four points in front and they seemed to be in control but St Fergal’s showed great resolve and retook control of the game scoring seven of the next eight points to move into a two point lead with five minutes remaining. Aidan Corby (2), Daire Quinlan (2), Stephen Bergin, Mark Kavanagh and Eoin Fitzpatrick were all on target and it looked as if the Rathdowney school were set to clinch the win. However Colaiste Phobal were not going down without a fight and points from Jamie Dooley and Sam Conlon forced the game to extra-time.
After a brief respite where players and supporters had a chance to get their breaths back, extra-time started with the same intensity as normal time had finished. Within a minute of the restart St Fergal’s gained the upper hand when Stephen Bergin brilliantly drilled a lose ball to the back of the net despite being on the ground himself.
The pace of the game never dropped despite the cold conditions and the heavy ground but the defences got more on top in extra-time. Colaiste Phobal pulled one point back before the break through Conor Sheehy but they trailed by 2-17 to 2-15 entering the second period of extra-time.
After a game that had swung one way and then the other, St Fergal’s eventually pulled away in the final ten minutes. A goal and a point from impressive substitute Stephen Phelan gave the Laois side the comfort of a six point lead and Stephen Bergin rounded off the scoring late on to wrap up the win.
Scorers: St Fergal’s, Rathdowney: Stephen Bergin 1-5; Aidan Corby 1-4; Daire Quinlan 0-6f; Stephen Phelan 1-1; Mark Kavanagh 0-1; Eoin Fitzpatrick 0-1; Patrick Whelan 0-1. Colaiste Phobal, Roscrea: Sam Conlon 2-4; Conor Sheedy 0-9 (0-5f); Jamie Dooley 0-1; Ciaran Collier 0-1
St Fergal’s, Rathdowney: Danny Brennan (Borris/Kilcotton); Conor Quinlan (Borris/Kilcotton), Eoin Doyle (Clough/Ballacolla), Conor Kilbane (Borris/Kilcotton); Bill Meade (Borris/Kilcotton), Gavin Dunne (The Harps), Robbie Phelan (Clough/Ballacolla), Colm Stapleton (Borris/Kilcotton), Liam O’Connell (Rathdowney/Errill); Stephen Bergin (Clough/Ballacolla), Patrick Whelan (Rathdowney/Errill), Lee Cleare (Clough/Ballacolla); Mark Kavanagh (Rathdowney/Errill), Daire Quinlan (Borris/Kilcotton), Aidan Corby (Clough/Ballacolla). Subs: Damian Hogan (Clough/Ballacolla) for Conor Quinlan (48mins), Eoin Fitzpatrick (Borris/Kilcotton) for Conor Kilbane (51mins), Stephen Phelan (Borris/Kilcotton) for Patrick Whelan (60mins), Sean Delaney (Rathdowney/Errill) for Eoin Fitzpatrick (75mins)
Colaiste Phobal, Roscrea: Daryl Ryan (Roscrea); Lee Cashin (Roscrea), Michael Campion (Roscrea), Liam Carroll (Moneygall); Craig Delaney (Camross), Daniel Doughan (Shinrone), Brian Larkin (Coolderry); Ciaran Collier (Camross), Sean Fogarty (Moneygall); Conor Sheedy (Roscrea), Cian Rigney (Roscrea), Anthony Devereux (Moneygall); Adrian Cleary (Moneygall), Des Daly (Borris/Kilcotton), Sam Conlon (Roscrea). Subs: Jamie Dooley (Borris/Kilcotton) for Des Daly (39mins), JP Cleary (Shinrone) for Craig Delaney (67mins), Shane Sampson (Shinrone) for Ciaran Collier (79mins)
Referee: Alan Kelly (Galway)