Stradbally 1-16 O’Dempsey’s 0-17
ACFL Division 1A
Stradbally completed a league double over O’Dempsey’s and opened the door for Portlaoise as the race for a league final place heads down to the wire.
In theory, Stradbally had nothing to play for in the Old Pound last night but a goal two minutes from half time proved the difference in the end.
The result still leaves O’Dempsey’s in second place but they will be passed by Portlaoise if they can manage to beat Graiguecullen tomorrow evening.
O’Dempsey’s began well with a brace from Eoin Finlay and although Greg Ramsbottom, making his first start since last year’s county final, replied for Stradbally, O’Dempsey’s tagged on another point through Peter O’Leary.
Colm Kelly, who finished the game with an incredible tally of 12 points, kicked the next three to move Stradbally ahead for the first time after 10 minutes.
But O’Dempsey’s dominated until the 23rd minute where they raised the white flag five times unanswered.
Micheal Finlay tied the game before Robbie Kehoe, Matthew Finlay, Bryan Nugent and Stephen O’Leary all scored to push the Killenard men four clear.
Micheal Finlay added one more before the break but it was Stradbally who finished the half strongly and actually managed to go into the interval in the lead.
Colm Kelly landed two more points while Colin Beale kicked another before Benny Lawlor popped up with the game’s only goal to leave Stradbally 1-7 to 0-9 ahead.
O’Dempsey’s levelled via Darren Fitzpatrick straight from the throw in but Colm Kelly kicked three more frees to re-establish Stradbally’s advantage.
Stephen O’Leary and Podge Fitzpatrick traded points before O’Dempsey’s had the deficit back to the minimum as we entered the final quarter thanks to Stephen O’Leary and Darren Fitzpatrick.
The gap remained at one point with five minutes to play as two more Kelly points for Stradbally were wiped out by Micheal Finlay and Eoin Finlay.
But the visitors kept O’Dempsey’s at bay in the time that remained as Jamie Kavanagh and Kelly dissected the posts with Stephen O’Leary having the final say from a free to leave two in it at the finish.
O’Dempsey’s final game is against the already relegated Arles-Killeen while Stradbally, who could still make the final if all the teams around them lost their last match, travel to Graiguecullen.
SCORERS – STRADBALLY: Colm Kelly 0-12 (0-7 frees), Benny Lawlor (1-0), Jamie Kavanagh, Collie Beale, Podge Fitzpatrick and Greg Ramsbottom 0-1 each O’DEMPSEY’S: Stephen O’Leary 0-6 (0-4 frees), Eoin Finlay and Matthew Finaly 0-4 each, Darren Fitzpatrick 0-3, Bryan Nugent, Micheal Finlay, Robbie Kehoe and Peter O’Leary 0-1 each
STRADBALLY: Wayne Comerford; Colin Beale, Liam Knowles, Jamie Kavanagh; Justin Lalor, Damien Murphy, John Donohue; Darren Maher, Jack Deegan; Cormac Delaney, Padraig Fitzpatrick, Conor Delaney; Brendan Lawlor, Greg Ramsbottom, Colm Kelly. Subs: Padraig Langton for Conor Delaney (49 mins), Philip Kelly for Beale (54mins), John Clancy for Ramsbottom (62mins), Sean Comerford for Lawlor (63mins)
O’DEMPSEY’S: Podge Bannon; Cormac O’Hora, Peter O’Leary, Eoin Cunnigham; Bobby Sweeney, Eugene Nolan, Robbie Kehoe; Shane Nerney, Bryan Nugent; Matthew Finlay, Johnny Kelly, Micheal Finlay; Darren Fitzpatrick, Eoin Finlay, Stephen O’Leary.
Referee: Michael Tarpey (Kilcavan)