Dowling leads the line as St Fergal’s book their place in Leinster final

St Fergal’s Rathdowney advanced to the Leinster Vocational Schools Senior Hurling A Final courtesy of a fine victory over Kilkenny side Scoil Aireagail Ballyhale in the semi-final in Castlecomer on Saturday.

St Fergal’s Rathdowney advanced to the Leinster Vocational Schools Senior Hurling A Final courtesy of a fine victory over Kilkenny side Scoil Aireagail Ballyhale in the semi-final in Castlecomer on Saturday.

St Fergal’s, Rathdowney 0-13

Scoil Airegeal, Ballyhale 1-3

Star of the show for the Laois school and the undoubted man of the match was Tadhg Dowling who slotted over no fewer than ten of his side’s points on the day. The other trio of scores came from full-forward Aidan Corby who caused no shortage of problems himself for the Scoil Aireagail backs.

St Fergal’s lead by 0-9 to 0-2 at the break and while they only added a further four points after the break, they kept their Kilkenny opponents to just two further scores thanks to a well organised and well disciplined defensive showing.

Goalkeeper Eoin Fleming also had a strong game making some important saves including one very early in the piece which, if Scoil Aireagail had found the back of the net, would have given them the initiative early in the game. As it happened Fleming made the save from Andy Fitzpatrick’s strike and St Fergal’s never relinquished the momentum for the rest of the game.

At that stage St Fergal’s had just one point on the board from a close range free from Tadhg Dowling but for the remainder of the game they methodically built their lead.

Dowling was lethal from frees and from play knocking seven points in total over the black spot in the first-half with St Fergal’s other scores coming from Aidan Corby.

Scoil Aireagail had no response as they only managed two points with Paddy Delaney and a free from Eoin Doyle.

The Kilkenny side did come out strong after the restart and briefly threatened a revival but they were unable to convert their pressure into scores as almost every shot was taken under pressure from a St Fergal’s player.

Eleven minutes of the second-half passed without a score before the ever reliable Dowling was on target again from a placed ball to extend his side’s lead to eight.

Scoil Aireagail hit back with a point from Ronan Corcoran but that was countered by St Fergal’s as they maintained their advantage.

Scoil Aireagail did get in for a late goal from Paddy Delaney but it was too late to change the outcome of the game as sharp shooter Dowling and his partner in crime Aidan Corby brought the Laois school’s total to 13 points earning them a deserved place in the Senior A Final.

The result keeps the school on course for what would be an incredible Leinster double as the Junior team are also through to the provincial decider.

On the day there were a number of top drawer displays for the St Fergal’s side with Tadhg Dowling and Aidan Corby leading the way in attack, Damien Hogan anchoring midfield, Bill Meade a lynch-pin of a fine defensive effort with goalkeeper Eoin Fleming also to the fore.

Scorers: St Fergal’s – Tadhg Dowling 0-10 (0-6f); Aidan Corby 0-3.. Scoil Aireagail – Paddy Delaney 1-1 ; Eoin Doyle 0-1f; Ronan Corcoran 0-1f.

St Fergal’s – E Fleming, C Quinlan, E Doyle, C Stapleton, B Meade, D Fitzpatrick, S Finan, D Hogan, M Daly, W Whelan, S Corby, T Dowling, A Corby, S Cleere, P Whelan. Subs: R. Bowe for P. Whelan; S. Bergin for W. Whelan.

Scoil Aireagail – S Farrell, D Halligan, JGrace, J Kenneally, P Kirwan, E Doyle, B Phelan, R Corcoran, P Delaney, M Jones, E Power, D Walters, S Donnelly, A Fitzpatrick, C Phelan. Subs – R Phelan for M. Jones; A Roche for C Phelan; A Doherty for D. Walters.

Referee – P. Kehoe (Carlow).