Arles-Killeen 2-17 Mountmellick Gaels 2-11
Laois Shopping Centre SFC Round 2 Qualifiers
Arles-Killeen survived an early onslaught from Mountmellick Gaels to book their place in Round 3 of the Laois SFC.
Mountmellick were 1-4 to 0-2 up after 15 minutes and it could well have been more had they taken all their chances. They missed a couple of good goal opportunities in that opening quarter alone, including a third minute penalty from Jason Conroy which he dragged badly wide of Mick Leigh’s left-hand post.
David Kelly did bundle one into the net when he was set up by Niall Mullen and points from the Castletown duo of James Mullaney and Ben Reddin, Mullen and Eoin George had them in a decent position, both of their early points coming from Jason Enright.
Killeen were guilty, too, of missing some great goal chances but they worked their way back into the game coming up to half-time, hitting 1-5 without reply, their goal coming from Donie Kingston and points from Donie Brennan (two), Enright, Conor Keightley and Donie Kingston.
Niall Mullen stopped the rot for Mountmellick but at half time, Killeen led 1-7 to 1-5.
Arles-Killeen got a good start to the second half to give them some breathing space, half-time sub Shane Byrne and Conor Keightley both kicking really good points.
Colm Coss and Mullen kept the scoreboard moving for Mountmellick but Donie Kingston was only beginning to get going. He kicked five in a row for Killeen and Enright added another. Mountmellick’s response during this spell was two Mullen frees. With seven minutes to go, they had six points to spare.
Mullaney and Reddin narrowed the gap to give Mountmellick the slightest glimmer of hope but that was ended completely when Paul Kingston got in for a goal.
Mountmellick did get a late goal when Mark Grennan finished the rebound of his own penalty to the net but it was too late to make any difference as Keightley and Enright swung over late points to wrap up a six-point win.
The result means Mountmellick Gaels join Clonaslee Gaels, Stradbally and the losers of Killeshin-Arles-Kilcruise in the relegation playoffs.
For Killeen, their opponents will be The Heath, O’Dempsey’s, St Joseph’s or Ballyroan-Abbey. They can’t play Portarlington again.
The draw for those games will be made after this evening’s games and they will take place in two weeks time.
SCORERS – Arles-Killeen: Donie Kingston 1-6 (0-1 free), Jason Enright 0-5 (one free), Conor Keightey 0-3, Paul Kingston 1-0, Donie Brennan 0-2, Shane Byrne 0-1 Mountmellick: Niall Mullen 0-5 (two frees), David Kelly 1-0, Mark Grennan 1-0, James Mullaney 0-2, Ben Reddin 0-2, Eoin George 0-1, Colm Coss 0-1 .
ARLES-KILLEEN: Mick Leigh; James Mahon, Joe Mulhare, Niall O’Rourke; John Mahon, Dermot Julian, Cathal Moran-O’Brien; Paul Kingston, Shane Julian; Jason Enright, Enda O’Rourke, Sean O’Shea; Donie Brennan, Donie Kingston, Conor Keightley. Subs: Shane Byrne for E O’Rourke (half-time), Joe Mahon for D Brennan (58 mins), Ger McWey for O’Shea (60 mins), Eamon Mahon for P Kingston (62 mins)
MOUNTMELLICK: Eoghan Keogh; Oisin Morris, Darren Fitzpatrick, Laurence Kenny; Ben Reddin, Mark Dowling, Eoin George; Steve Lynch, Colm Coss; Karl Donoher, Niall Mullen, David Kelly; James Mullaney, Mick Lawlor, Jason Caffrey. Subs: Mark Grennan for Caffrey (half-time), Ethan Lawlor for Donoher (38 mins), Bernard Rochford for M Lawlor (43 mins), Ben Forde for Kelly (50 mins), Ciaran Rochford for Morris (54 mins)
REFEREE: Clifford Ward (Portarlington)