Graiguecullen 4-9 Kilcavan 3-11
Laois Shopping Centre JFC ‘A’
Graiguecullen secured a valuable victory over a fancied Kilcavan side on Thursday evening to leave them top of their group in the Laois JFC ‘A’ with one game to play.
Despite having a sluggish first half display, Graigue managed to pull it out of the bag in the dying embers of the game to send Kilcavan home disappointed. Kilcavan now have to beat Ballyroan-Abbey in their final game to have a chance of going through.
Kilcavan started the better of the two sides as points from Oliver Dixon, Ronan Gorry and Jason Maher formed a three-point lead after seven minutes. Kilcavan then grabbed their first goal of the game albeit in controversial fashion.
Gearoid Treacy played a dinked ball over the top which was flicked perfectly into the net by Evan Hunt. While that took place Rory O’Connell and Tunde Ogunfowora were wrestling on the ground, which the referee followed up with his umpires. He flashed a black card to the Kilcavan man while giving the Graigue player a yellow. Graiguecullen officials were calling for the goal to be disallowed but their calls went unheard.
That goal sparked a purple patch in the game and we witnessed another three goals scored within five minutes. First came Graiguecullen’s opening score as Peter Branagan’s cuteness paid off as he finished neatly into the net after Darren Young’s error.
Kilcavan got their second goal immediately after as good work from Ronan Gorry led to Jason Maher being set up for a tap in. Branagan then popped up for his second in the turnaround as Ryan O’Grady turned his man and squared the ball as Branagan pounced. Kilcavan led 2-3 to 2-1 after 20 minutes.
The first half settled down as Kilcavan secure points through the boots of Dixon, Gorry and Maher and Graigue grabbed the last score of the half from midfielder Jamie Sheehan to leave the sides Kilcavan 2-6 to 2-2 up at the break.
The two sides traded points in the first few minutes of the second half before Graiguecullen snatched the first goal of the second period. A mis-hit shot was knocked down in the path of Brian O’Rourke who buried the ball past the Kilcavan keeper. Oliver Dixon then responded with a nicely worked point to leave the sides 2-9 to 3-4.
But the Graiguecullen goal rush struck again as they scored the best goal of the game. Eoin Aylsbury played a cute pass inside to Thomas Brennan who fisted the ball over the top for Michael Loughman to chip the ball across the square, where Brian O’Rourke palmed it into the top corner.
Kilcavan were trailing by two points with six minutes remaining, when substitute Barry Mangan snuck in behind Graiguecullen’s defence to drive home his side’s third goal to give them a point lead. A classy point from Graigue’s Padraig Murphy levelled the sides yet again with four remaining.
The game was tight and tense in the dying minutes but an inspirational piece of play from Ryan O’Grady who had a Joe Canning-esque moment when he hit a spectacular score from the side line to give his team the advantage. Kilcavan thought they had blown their chance to level when Dixon missed a free but he gathered his accuracy again as he hit a simpler free to make the sides all square in injury time.
When Brian O’Rourke struck the post in the final seconds many Graiguecullen supports thought that was their chance, but from the resulting kickout he grabbed possession to slot over the winning score to secure victory for his side.
SCORERS – Graiguecullen: Brian O’Rourke 2-1; Peter Branagan 2-0; Ryan O’Grady 0-3; Thomas Brennan 0-2; Jamie Sheehan, Luke Hand, Padraig Murphy 0-1 each. Kilcavan: Jason Maher 1-2; Oliver Dixon 0-4; Evan Hunt, Barry Mangan 1-0 each; Ronan Gorry 0-2; Manus Dunne, Robert O’Neill, Gearoid Treacy 0-1 each.
GRAIGUECULLEN: Don Scully; Steven Aylsbury, Tunde Ogunfowora, David Hurley; Eoin Aylsbury, Jamie Malone, Sean Farrell; John O’Neill, Jamie Sheehan; Barry O’Regan, Dale Byrne, Thomas Brennan; Ryan O’Grady, Peter Branagan, Brian O’Rourke. Subs used: Padraig Murphy, Michael Loughman, Luke Hand, Shane Aylward.
KILCAVAN: Derek O’Connell; Patrick Gorry, Darren Young, John McEvoy; Edward Conroy, Manus Dunne, Robert O’Neill; Gearoid Treacy, Michael Bermingham; Evan Hunt, Oliver Dixon, Declan Conroy; Jason Maher, Rory O’Connell, Ronan Gorry. Subs used: Dean O’Brien, Barry Mangan.