Home Sport GAA Rafter to the fore as Clough-Ballacolla claim minor hurling title

Rafter to the fore as Clough-Ballacolla claim minor hurling title

The Clough-Ballacolla minor hurling team that claimed the Laois MHC B title in the Laois GAA Training Centre this evening

Clough-Ballacolla 3-15 Ballinakill Gaels 0-9

Laois Shopping Centre MHC ‘B’ Final

A fine haul of 1-8 from the skilful Chris Rafter helped put Clough-Ballacolla’s name on the Minor ‘B’ hurling trophy this evening against Ballinakill Gaels in the Laois GAA Training Centre after it was moved from O’Moore Park suffering from a heavy schedule of games in the recent bad weather.

Ballinakill never looked like threatening a strong Clough-Ballacolla side despite missing a string of second half goal chances.

From the off Ballacolla were dominating proceedings as they raced into a 1-2 to 0-1 lead after 10 minutes. Diarmuid Conway struck first with nicely taken point where he raced through from the throw-in. He then turned provider as Evan Hawkes broke through to rattle the back of the net. Kevin Mulhall made things worse as he then found target for his sides second point.

Seámus Fitzpatrick found his range for Ballinakill’s first, but that was quickly followed by a great Mark Hennessy point out near the side line. Cian O’Shaughnessy knocked over a free for Ballinakill Gaels but from the following play came another Ballacolla goal as Mark Hennessy found a gap before sticking the ball into the top corner to make it 2-3 to 0-2 after 15 minutes.

Chris Rafter found the target for the first time as he hit a nice point from 40 yards, before David Hennessy fought hard to win the ball and strike over another point to stretch the margin to eight points. Cian O’Shaughnessy hit over another free to reduce the gap before Chris Rafter hit three consecutive point, including two frees to leave the Ballacolla ten points ahead at the break.

Rafter started where he left off as he put over his third free, but a superb Cathal O’Shaughnessy point restored the ten-point margin. Cathal Dunne then pulled off a great point blank save to maintain the Ballacolla lead. Cathal O’Shaughnessy then landed a good 65’ to put nine between the two sides.

Cian O’Shaughnessy then narrowly missed with a goal bound shot before Cathal Dunne pulled off another superb save to keep his side’s strong lead intact. Chris Rafter then put the momentum back in his side’s favour as he pulled on a breaking ball to rattle the net and make the difference 13 points. Evan Hawkes then knocked over a good point to really kill the hope of Ballinakill Gaels.

Chris Rafter then put the momentum back in his side’s favour as he pulled on a breaking ball to rattle the net and make the difference 13 points. Evan Hawkes then knocked over a good point to really kill the hope of Ballinakill Gaels. Yet another save from Dunne left the Gaels in further frustration who just could not find a goal.

The game finished with a flurry of points as Evan Hawkes, Mark Hennessy, and Chris Rafter all added to their tallies while Cian O’Shaughnessy, Seámus Fitzpatrick and Eoin Simms found range for Ballinkill Gaels. Despite a sending off for Clough Ballacolla full back Philip Heneberry late on for a second yellow offence, they ran out comprehensive victors on the score line of 3-15 to 0-9.

Clough-Ballacolla will be hoping it’s the first of a number of trophies they’ll collect this season as they have the senior final next Sunday and are also in the last four of the intermediate championship.

SCORERS – Clough-Ballacolla: Chris Rafter 1-8 (0-4 frees); Mark Hennessy, Evan Hawkes 1-2 each; Diarmuid Conway 0-2; Kevin Mulhall, David Hennessy 0-1 each. Ballinakill Gaels: Cian O’Shaughnessy 0-3; Seámus Fitzpatrick, Cathal O’Shaughnessy 0-2each; Stephen Brennan, Eoin Simms 0-1 each.

CLOUGH-BALLACOLLA: Cathal Dunne; Niall Saunders, Philip Heneberry, Denis Meade; Darragh Hogan, Ben Delaney, Will Rafter; Diarmuid Conway, Kevin Mulhall; Sean Phelan, Chris Rafter, Evan Hawkes; Mark Hennessy, David Hennessy, Will Meade. Subs: Bill Bryan, Emmet Saunders, Oisin Bergin.

BALLINAKILL GAELS: James Fitzpatrick; Ian Shanahan, Danny Brennan, Luke Gleeson; Mark Kehoe, Óisin Fitzpatrick, Eoin Simms; Aaron Walsh, Séamus Fitzpatrick; Jack Langton, Gareth Lynch, Stephen Brennan; Cian O’Shaughnessy, Enda Keogh, Cathal O’Shaughnessy. Subs: Cormac Costello, Michael Fitzgerald, Paul Ruddy, Mark Ramsbottom.

SEE ALSO – All of the weekend CCFL soccer results

 

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A former Knockbeg student, and is currently a student in the University of Limerick trying to scrape a BA in History and Politics. A marquee player in the goals for Annanough, but well capable of doing a job in full-forward and has the knack to turn his hand to any sport (except running). Only starting out in his journalistic career but already the specialist farming and property reporter. Happiest when Liverpool and Laois are winning!