SCOIL Aireagail Ballyhale were crowned champions at Dr Cullen Park, where they gained late control to defeat holders St Fergal’s of Rathdowney.
Ronan Corcoran, the Scoil Aireagal full-forward, proved a match-winner. The Ballyhale Shamrocks clubman scored 0-10, 0-3 from play, and his overall display in attack was the main difference between the sides.
In their first significant attack, Aireagail’s corner-forward Kevin Farrell cut in along the right wing to send the ball to the Fergal’s net. By half-time it was 1-6 to 0-7 in favour of the challengers – the scoring highlight of the half being a beautiful point from a sideline cut by St Fergal’s No 13 Mark Kavanagh.
Corcoran edged the Ballyhale side in front again from a free and then added another from play before again finding the mark. Fergal’s fought back to level (1-7 to 0-10), but the game swung dramatically in Aireagail’s favour on 47 minutes when Fergal’s midfielder Colm Stapleton was shown a second yellow card.
From there, there was no comeback for the Laois side as Scoil Airegail piled on the scores to run out seven-point winners.
Scorers –Scoil Aireagail: R Corcoran 0-10 (7f), K Farrell 1-0, R Coffey 0-2, E Power, R Coady 0-1 each.
St Fergal’s: D Quinlan 0-6 (5f, 1 ’65’), M Kavanagh 0-2 (1 s-l), S Bergin, L O’Connell 0-1 each.
Scoil Aireagal – A Roche; J Kenneally, E Aylward, D Halligan; P Kirwan, J Grace, A Doherty; P Delaney, B Phelan; M Jones, E Power, C Phelan; K Farrell, R Corcoran, A Fitpatrick. Subs: R Coffey for Power (42); R Coady for Farrell (45); D Waters for B Phelan (58).
St Fergal’s – D Brennan; C Quinlan, E Doyle, C Kilbane; R Phelan, G Dunne, B Meade; C Stapletown, L O’Connell; L Cleere, P Whelan, S Bergin; M Kavanagh, D Quinlan, A Corby.
Subs: D Hogan for Whelan (38); E Fitzpatrick for Cleere (51).
Ref – B Deering (Carlow)