Camross 3-14 Clough-Ballacolla 1-19
Laois Shopping Centre SHC Final
The Bob O’Keeffe Cup will spend the winter in Camross for the 25th time after they got the better of Clough-Ballacolla in a thrilling Laois SHC final in O’Moore Park
In thoroughly enjoyable game, Clough-Ballacolla were six points down at one stage in the first half, fought back to go ahead in the second, go behind to a Zane Keenan sideline cut and a Mark Dowling goal only to throw themselves a lifeline again with a late Stephen Bergin goal.
It was an incredible game and you had to feel for Ballacolla for their brave performance, Willie Hyland exceptional with a 15-point haul.
It completes a great season for Camross and a dream weekend that also saw them claim U-17 and camogie titles. They’ve also won the minor title this year. Some going.
Camross got off to a dream start, scoring two goals in the opening 10 minutes, both after Dwane Palmer and Niall Holmes combined.
For the first after five minutes Palmer fed Holmes, five minutes later it was the other way around. With Ciaran Collier, Dean Delaney and Gearoid Burke all landing good points from play it meant that Camross were 2-3 to 0-3 up after 10 minutes.
Clough-Ballacolla’s early points came from a Willie Hyland free and fine points from play from Michael McEvoy and Robbie Phelan.
To Clough-Ballacolla’s credit they responded well to the early setback, scoring the next five points after Palmer’s goal. Willie Hyland got three of four of them, two of them from frees and one a delightful sideline ball. Aidan Corby and Hyland then added one each from play. By the 20th minute it was Camross 2-3 Clough-Ballacolla 0-8.
But Camross came again and hit the next four – from Damien Keenan, Zane Keenan, Darragh Duggan and Niall Holmes. Indeed of their first-half tally of 2-7, it came from eight different players and all of it was from play.
There was a couple of big moments before half-time, Willie Hyland first seeing a close-range free blocked and then having a long-range effort waved wide when he was certain it was over.
He did add a free before the break but Camross still had a four-point cushion as the teams headed for the dressing rooms, 2-7 to 0-9.
Clough-Ballacolla continued to eat into the lead in the second half. Hyland hit four and Aidan Corby got one and though an exceptional effort from Gearoid Burke and a free from Keenan kept the scoreboard moving, the lead was back to one by the 41st minute.
Clough-Ballacolla saw a great goal chance go astray moments later when Shane Hanlon failed to beat Tadhg Doran from close range. Keenan replied straight away with a free but Clough-Ballacolla hit back with the next three, all from Hyland, his score in the 51st minute putting them ahead for the first time. He also saw a goal chance saved by Doran.
Keenan levelled things up with a free in the 54th minute – after Anthony Stapleton ordered that it be retaken after it was blocked initially.
Hyland put Ballacolla back into lead with another free but that was immediately cancelled out by Dean Delaney.
Keenan put Camross back into the lead with a sideline cut and then sub Mark Dowling got the crucial third goal after Niall Holmes was first denied.
Hyland hit back with a free but a monstrous Keenan effort seemed to settle it firmly in Camross’s favour.
Yet Ballacolla had another kick in them, Stephen Bergin crashing home a brilliant goal in injury time.
That left just one between them but Camross held on after a Brian Corby attempt at an equaliser drifted wide.
SCORERS – Camross: Zane Keenan 0-5 (sideline cut, two frees), Niall Holmes 1-1, Dwane Palmer 1-0, Mark Dowling 1-0, Darragh Duggan 0-1, Damien Keenan 0-1, Gearoid Burke 0-2, Ciaran Collier 0-1, Dean Delaney 0-2. Clough-Ballacolla: Willie Hyland 0-15 (nine frees, one sideline cut), Stephen Bergin 1-0, Robbie Phelan 0-1, Michael McEvoy 0-1, Aidan Corby 0-1, Lee Cleere 0-1
CAMROSS: Tadhg Doran; Michael Phelan, Martin Burke, Joe Phelan; Darrell Dooley, Gearoid Burke, Damien Keenan; Tomas Burke, Darragh Duggan; Andrew Collier, Zane Keenan, Dean Delaney; Niall Holmes, Dwane Palmer, Ciaran Collier. Subs: Mark Dowling for C Collier (41 mins), Darren Gilmarting for A Coller (47 mins)
CLOUGH-BALLACOLLA: Danny Hanlon; John A Delaney, Darren Maher, Eoin Doyle; Ronan Broderick, Michael McEvoy, Lee Cleere; Tom Delaney, Aidan Corby; Canice Coonan, Shane Hanlon, Robbie Phelan; Stephen Bergin, Willie Hyland, Willie Dunphy. Subs: Brian Corby for S Hanlon (44 mins)
REFEREE: Anthony Stapleton (Rathdowney-Errill)
SEE ALSO – Ballyfin Gaels claim SHC ‘A’ title