O’Dempsey’s 2-15 Ballyfin Gaels 1-12
Laois Shopping Centre Senior Football Championship Round 1
O’Dempsey’s got their championship campaign off to a winning start with a relatively comfortable six point win over Ballyfin Gaels tonight.
Peter Brady’s men were too strong for Ballyfin Gaels who, in fairness to them, did mount a second half comeback but ultimately came up short.
The game took three minutes to bring us the opening score but when it came, it was a goal.
Stephen O’Leary broke clear after a fumble in midfield and drew the keeper before squaring the ball to brother Peter who punched it to the net.
Ballyfin responded with a point from Ricky Quillinan after some good work by Darragh Connolly and James Finn – a score which would prove to be their only one from play in the first half.
Ballyfin Gaels cut the gap to two points by the tenth minute when David Connolly’s rampaging run was illegally halted and Seán Moore kicked his first free of the evening.
But O’Dempsey’s took control from here. Matthew Finlay hit three while Eoin Finlay chipped in with another to move them six clear by the midpoint of the half.
Seán Moore lifted the siege with a free but O’Dempsey’s then went seven clear through Michael Finlay and Barry Kelly.
Seán Moore kicked two more frees but O’Dempsey’s had the final say of the half through Eugene Nolan. It could have been even worse for Ballyfin but keeper Robbie Foran pulled off a great save from Barry Kelly to leave it 1-8 to 0-5 at half time.
Ballyfin needed to start the second half well but it was O’Dempsey’s who scored first through Stephen O’Leary after a bad turnover in defence by Ballyfin.
The Gaels had then had a goal chance but O’Dempsey’s full back Shane Nerney twice clawed the ball off his own line to keep them out.
James Finn did score for Ballyfin but calamity struck a minute later. Eoin Dunphy hit the upright for Ballyfin and O’Dempsey’s came straight down the other end and Matthew Finlay finishes low to the bottom corner.
Stephen O’Leary (2) and Rory Bracken both kicked points to move O’Dempsey’s thirteen clear with 20 minutes to play.
But back came Ballyfin Gaels. Once again they missed a guilt edged goal chances when Nick Cosgrave hit the post from six yards and Louis Duff shot straight at Podge Bannon but they then kicked five points in a row.
James Moore, Darragh Connolly, Robert Tyrrell, James Finn and Seán Moore all pointed to cut the deficit ti eight wit ten minutes to play.
But O’Dempsey’s regained their composure with Stephen O’Leary settling them down.
Although Ballyfin did get the last two scores thanks to a point from Tyrrell and a tap in goal by Finn, O’Dempsey’s won well.
SCORERS – O’DEMPSEY’S: Peter O’Leary 1-0, Matthew Finlay 1-3, Eoin Finlay 0-1, Micheal Finlay 0-2, Stephen O’Leary 0-5 (0-1 frees), Barry Kelly 0-1, Eugene Nolan 0-1, Rory Bracken 0-1 BALLYFIN GAELS: Seán Moore 0-5 (0-5 frees), Ricky Quillinan 0-1, James Finn 1-2, James Moore 0-1, Darragh Connolly 0-1, Robert Tyrrell 0-2
O’DEMPSEY’S: Podge Bannon; Tommy Kehoe, Shane Nerney, Cormac O’Hora; Robbie Kehoe, Johnny Kelly, Barry Kelly; Rory Bracken, Eoin Finlay; Michael Finlay, Eugene Nolan, Brian Nugent; Stephen O’Leary, Peter O’Leary, Matthew Finlay. Subs: Darren Fitzpatrick for Nolan (35mins), Richard Whelehan for P. O’Leary (58mins)
BALLYFIN GAELS: Robbie Foran; Barry Roche, Shane Farrell, Richie Downey; Alan Strong, David Connolly, Ciarán Fingleton; Nick Cosgrove, James Finn; Ricky Quillinan, Eoin Dunphy, Darragh Connolly; Seán Moore, Louis Duff, James Moore. Subs: Robert Tyrrell for Roche (ht), Darragh Delaney for Dunphy (48mins), Max Connolly for Darragh Connolly (59mins), Ciarán Fennelly for David Connolly (59mins), Jack Cleary for Quillinan (59mins)
Referee: Brendan McCann )Portarlington)