Kilcavan 2-12 O’Dempsey’s 3-9
Laois Shopping Centre JFC ‘A’ Semi-final
What a game, what a finish.
O’Dempsey’s and Kilcavan will have to do it all over again after their Laois JFC ‘A’ semi-final finished level in a pulsating game in the Laois GAA Training Centre this evening.
Michael Tarpey – the Roscommon native who has been with Kilcavan for well over the last decade – was the man who popped up with the equaliser in injury time. It was his third point of the game and it rounded off an incredible comeback that saw Kilcavan come from 13 points down early in the second half to rescue a draw.
The Kilcavan players were given a great reception by their supporters as they made their way back to the dressing rooms. It was the least they deserved after clawing their way back into a game that looked completely done and dusted when Mark McCormack converted a penalty five minutes after half-time.
Indeed Kilcavan could well have won it had Clifford Ward opted to play more injury time as they had all the momentum at that stage against an O’Dempsey’s side out on their feet.
It had all looked so different early on. O’Dempsey’s dominated the first half, going 1-6 to no score up after 12 minutes and eventually leading 2-9 to 0-3 at the break. Dan McCormack was causing all sorts of problems on the edge of the square and Darran Finlay, Colin Bailey, Mark McCormack and Daithi Howlin were all exceptional too.
Bailey got KO’Dempsey’s off to a great start with a nice point after a minute and Howlin, McCormack (free) and veteran JP Kehoe all found the target too. Howlin then got in for a goal and McCormack with another free and a fine Glen Mitchell point had O’Dempsey’s nine up and in complete control.
Tarpey – making his first championship appearance of the year after returning from a knee injury – got Kilcavan off the mark when he curled over a fine point but O’Dempsey’s responded swiftly, Colin Bailey scoring their second goal despite being initially denied by a brilliant Derek O’Connell save.
Two more from McCormack pushed O’Dempsey’s 13 points in front and Kilcavan were utterly stunned. A Gordon Lalor free was cancelled out by a lovely Pat Maher point but Kilcavan got the last score of the half when Jason Maher got the first point of his tally.
Still, O’Dempsey’s led 2-9 to 0-3 at half-time and it seemed there was no way back for Kilcavan.
Gordon Lalor was to have an excellent second half for Kilcavan and he got his first point within 30 seconds of the restart. Maher stroked over a ’45 but when Mark McCormack slotted home a penalty, O’Dempsey’s led 3-9 to 0-5.
Yet amazingly that was to be their last score. With the wind picking up, and favouring Kilcavan, they began eating into the lead. First Maher got a good goal then Gordon Lalor got two points in quick succession. Ronan Gorry, Tarpey and Evan Hunt all pointed and when Hunt expertly finished a goal chance there was only two between them.
With sub Sean Mangan doing well on McCormack and Derek O’Connell driving them on in a Graham Brody-style attacking goal-keeping performance they kept at it. Ronan Gorry punched a point to bring it back to one and centre-back Mick Bermingham was unlucky to see an effort tail wide.
But they refused to give in and were rewarded when Tarpey broke through a couple of tackles and calmly tied things up.
Moments later Ward sounded the final whistle.
There was confusion for a short while as it appeared extra time would be played. But they’ll have to meet again, with a replay likely to be in the middle of next week. St Joseph’s await in the final on Saturday, September 30.
O’Dempsey’s play Portlaoise in the senior championship on Saturday and they’ll be hoping their junior team can remain untouched. Kilcavan, for their part, will welcome back Rory O’Connell from suspension.
It’s all to play for. Here’s hoping the next instalment can be just as entertaining.
SCORERS – Kilcavan: Jason Maher 1-2 (0-1 ’45), Evan Hunt 1-1, Gordon Lalor 0-4 (one free), Michael Tarpey 0-3, Ronan Gorry 0-2. O’Dempsey’s: Mark McCormack 1-4 (1-0 penalty, 0-3 frees), Daithi Howlin 1-1, Colin Bailey 1-1, JP Kehoe 0-1, Glen Mitchell 0-1, Pat Maher 0-1
KILCAVAN: Derek O’Connell; David Ryan, Eddie Conroy, Paddy Gorry; Dean O’Brien, Michael Bermingham, Manus Dunne; Gearoid Treacy, Barry Mangan; Evan Hunt, Michael Tarpey, Declan Conroy; Jason Maher, Gordon Lalor, Ronan Gorry. Subs: Sean Mangan for E Conroy (22 mins), Ollie Dixon for Dunne (22 mins), Robbie O’Neill for P Gorry (45 mins), John McEvoy for O’Brien (45 mins), Paul Bolton for Dixon (48 mins)
O’DEMPSEY’S: Shane Hogan; Barry Finlay, Shaun Geoghegan, Eoin Fitzpatrick; Eoin Cunningham, Eoghan O’Hora, Aidan McClernon; Darren Finlay, Pat Maher; Glenn Mitchell, Mark McCormack, Daithi Howlin; Colin Bailey, Dan McCormack, JP Kehoe. Subs: Adrian Dunne for McClernon (45 mins)
REFEREE: Clifford Ward (Portarlington)
SEE ALSO – Talented Laois artist exhibits in Tokyo