Kavanagh on target as St Fergal’s advance to last four

A superb performance form Mark Kavanagh was key as St Fergal’s, Rathdowney advanced to the semi-final of the Leinster Vocational Schools Junior Hurling Championship last Friday.

A superb performance form Mark Kavanagh was key as St Fergal’s, Rathdowney advanced to the semi-final of the Leinster Vocational Schools Junior Hurling Championship last Friday.

The young Rathdowney-Errill clubman scored all ten of his side’s points on the day with the goal coming from Stephen Phelan just before half-time.

The game was played in appalling weather with the driving rain and heavy pitch combining to make conditions extremely difficult for both sides.

However great credit is due to both sides as they battle manfully against both the weather and the sod to produce an entertaining hour of hurling.

Played in the school grounds in Kilcormac, St Fergal’s were the stronger team on the day and they gradually built their lead throughout the game.

The Offaly school briefly threatened a fightback in the second-half following a goal from Harley Dalzell but it came to nought as the Laois side held on for the win.

Liam O’Connell was excellent at centre-back for St Fergal’s while Eoin Fitzpatrick and Shane Bowe also caught the eye. However without doubt the main man was corner forward Mark Kavanagh who was deadly accurate from placed balls and from play

Playing against the wind in the first-half, St Fergal’s hung with Colaiste Naomh Cormac in the opening exchanges and the sides were locked at 0-2 apiece after 10 minutes.

Scores were at a premium in the first-half with the St Fergal’s defence performing strongly against the wind.

James Kilmartin put over his second point for Colaiste Naomh Cormac after 20 minutes to put the home side in front but that was cancelled out at the other end by Mark Kavanagh who slotted over his third point after 25 minutes.

Kilmartin and Kavanagh exchanged further points to keep the scores level with half-time approaching but just before the break, Stephen Phelan did very well to create space in front of goal and he dispatched the ball to the net to put St Fergal’s 1-4 to 0-5 clear. Harley Dalzell pulled one back for Colaiste Naomh Cormac before the break but St Fergal’s would turn around with a 1-5 to 0-5 lead with the advantage of the wind still to come.

Mark Kavanagh added two points early in the second-half to extend the lead to four but Colaiste Naomh Cormac were handed a life line when Harley Dalzell crashed home a free to the back of the net from 25 metres.

That left it at 1-6 to 1-5 but that proved to be the home side’s last score of the game as Mark Kavanagh launched over another four points to round off the win.

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Scorers: St Fergals: Mark Kavanagh 0-10 (0-8f), Stephen Phelan 1-0; Naomh Cormac: Harley Dalzell 1-2f, James Kilmartin 0-3 (0-1f)

St Fergals: Philip Bergin; Pat Phelan, Lee Cleere, Jake Crea; Pauric Fortune, Liam O’Connell, Jack Kelly; Robbie Phelan, Eoin Fitzpatrick; Finbar Conway, Shane Bowe, Jordan Walsh; Mark Kavanagh, Stephen Phelan, Conor Maher

Naomh Cormac: Dean Brummell; David Coyne, Oisin Mahon, Kevin Ryan; Michael Ryan, James Kilmartin, Andrew Kilmartin; Sean Lowry, Dylan Young; Conor Quinn, Cathal Gath, Conor Lowry; Ben Hogan, Harley Dalzell, Cathal Dooley. Subs: Peadar Coughlan for Conor Lowry (33m). David Bracken for Ben Hogan (34m), Dylan Leonard for Cathal Dooley (43m).

Referee: Simon Whelehan (Birr)