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Stradbally the big winners as Laois soccer clubs end on a high before Christmas break

Just a handful of Laois soccer clubs were in action across the three local league this weekend.

This was the last round of fixtures for teams before Christmas and indeed, for the majority, it was their last games until 2018.

Indeed, only Portlaoise AFC are scheduled to kick a ball again this year as their U-17s are due to take on Manulla in the third round of the FAI Cup.

But back to yesterday’s action and while there were no senior games played in the Kilkenny league, there was just one Laois team in CCFL action.

And that side was Strdbally Town who rounded off the year with an emphatic win against Kinnegad Juniors in the Lawn.

Stradbally hit the ground running and a clever free kick move from Barry Whelan set Colin Beale on goal after 3 mins and he rifled a lot shot to the keepers right.

The Visitors were level only a few minutes later when Stradbally switched off from a corner kick that allowed a Kinnegad centre back to thunder a fine header to the roof of the home net.

Kinnegad enjoyed a small bit of joy over the next few minutes but the home side roared back and were back in front through Podge Fitzpatrick on 27 minutes after a fine flowing move.

It remained that way until half time but Stradbally came out flying in the second half and blitzed the Westmeath men in a 20 minute period.

Derek O’Gorman notched up a hat-trick in this period and he’ll be the first to thank Danny Kelly and Podge Fitzpatrick for the quality of service and crossing for all three goals in what were great moves to watch from the Stradbally men.

Kinnegad pulled one back on 74 mins from a free-kick but the home side were not to be denied and Danny Kelly was rewarded for his tireless work on 80 minutes when he got on the score sheet from the penalty spot.

Colin Beale had opened the scoring and he finished it with a spectacular lob from the half way Line on 87 mins.

7-2 at the end in what was one of Stradbally’s games in hand on the top 2 sides in this division and if they can manage to convert their remaining games in hand into points it should be put them right into the middle of a title race come the new year.

There were also a handful of Laois clubs involved in the Carlow league.

Wolfhill Athletic and Crettyard United B are out of the Douglass Juniors Carlow cup after 3-0 defeats to Dolmen Celtic and Slaney Rovers respectively.

Meanwhile in the Premier Division, Crettyard’s quest to retain their title suffered a blow when they were held to 1-1 draw at home to New Oak Boys.

It sees Hannover Harps, who defeated Killeshin 3-1, increase their lead to seven points – although Crettyard do have two games in hand.

While the third Laois team in action, St Fiacc’s, eased their relegation fears following a fine 2-1 win over Ballymurphy Celtic.

SEE ALSO – Mountmellick CS is top third level feeder school in Laois

The LaoisToday 2017 Annual is now on sale in bookshops and newsagents around the county – this is where you can buy it

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.