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Quinlan strike completes sensational Fergal's rally

ST FERGAL'S staged a remarkable comeback to claim glory in a highly entertaining game at Semple Stadium.

At half-time, the Laois outfit trailed by 0-10 to 0-2 and when the gap stretched to 10 points early in the second half, there looked no way back against St Brigid's, Loughrea as the clock ticked down.

But for the remainder of the game, St Fergal's outscored their Galway opponents by 2-8 to 0-1 to clinch a dramatic three-point win.

Captain Aidan Corby scored an equalising goal four minutes from time before Daire Quinlan bagged a sensational winning goal in the final minute of the game.

For John Casey, it was the culmination of 36 years of hard work and devotion.

The Kerry native arrived from Causeway in 1977 and having overseen victory in the 2006 final, St Fergal's were once again crowned champions in Thurles.

St Brigid's, chasing a third successive crown, were stunned and the scores dried up after Daniel Nevin, Brian Molloy and Jamie Ryan had notched 0-9 between them in the opening half.

Caution

Inspired by centre-back Gavin Dunne, brother of 2006 captain Conor, St Fergal's threw caution to the wind and reaped a rich reward.

Casey smiled: "Maybe they might give us the cup forever. We had our setbacks – in 1994 against Athenry we lost by a point.

"We lost a few semi-finals to Loughrea with good teams. Today is the icing on the cake.

"Once they believed in themselves, that they could do it, they moved forward.

"In the first half, they were overtaken with the whole situation.

"A lot of them had never played here before, a lot of them had never played under a camera, and I think the whole occasion got to them."

The second half was in direct contrast to what had preceded it.

With 15 minutes on the watch, St Brigid's had been 0-7 to 0-0 clear before St Fergal's managed to notch up their first score of the game.

Scorers – St Fergal's: D Quinlan 1-3 (0-2fs), A Corby 1-1, L O'Connell (1 '65'), M Kavanagh (1 s-l) 0-2 each, C Kilbane , C Stapleton 0-1 each. St Brigid's: B Molloy 0-6 (2fs), J Ryan 0-3, D Nevin 0-2, D Dolan, E Burke 0-1 each.

ST BRIGID'S – R Brennan; J Mooney, G McHugo, D Cronin; C Jennings, D O'Donoghue, P Prendergast; D Dolan, E Burke; B Dolan, J Mannion, J Monaghan; D Nevin, B Molloy, J Ryan.

Sub: K Cooney for Mannion (60+1).

ST FERGAL'S – D Brennan; C Quinlan, E Doyle, C Kilbane; B Meade, G Dunne, R Phelan; C Stapleton, L O'Connell; S Bergin, P Whelan, L Cleere; M Kavanagh, D Quinlan, A Corby. Subs: E Fitzpatrick for Whelan (38), D Hogan for Bergin (46), S Phelan for Cleere (60+1).

Ref – C Lyons (Cork).

Irish Independent