O’Dempsey’s 6-12 Ballylinan 1-9
Laois Shopping Centre Division 1A
Daniel McCormack scored four goals and had a hand in a fifth as O’Dempsey’s made an emphatic start to the defence of their Division 1A league title.
The full forward, who lined out with their juniors last year, was dominant in the air and showed deft skills too as O’Dempsey’s ran out 18 point winners.
O’Dempsey’s led this one from start to finish and they were ahead early on thanks to a Stephen O’Leary point and a Brian Nugent goal.
Liam Kealy responded for Ballylinan but last year’s defeated county finalists were seven points down by the midpoint of the half after Nugent added a free and the aforementioned Dan McCormack palmed a high ball into the net.
Brian McEvoy and Jamie Farrell, introduced as an early substitute, responded for the home team and the sides more or less traded scores from here to the break.
Liam Kealy, Seamus Lacey, Andy McEvoy and Jamie Farrell all pointed for Ballylinan but efforts from Eoin Finlay, Mark Barry and Barry Kelly sent O’Dempsey’s in 2-6 to 0-7 ahead at half time.
Stephen O’Leary and Liam Kealy traded points on the resumption before McCormack got his second goal in a carbon copy of his first via a high ball from Nugent.
The latter added another free but Ballylinan made it a six point game with 17 minutes to play when Jamie Farrell split the defence and Gary Walsh, not the one who had played for Laois earlier in the day, curled a shot into the top corner of the net.
O’Dempsey’s quickly cancelled that out with points from Stephen O’Leary, Conor Meredith and Nugent before they went goal crazy in the last ten minutes.
Big Dan completed his hat-trick after a neat sidestep saw him evade the defenders and league debutant Mark Barry grabbed the sides’ fifth a minute later.
And McCormack completed the rout four minutes from time when he forced a turnover and slammed the ball home.
Nugent and David Bride traded points at the end but there was time for no more as O’Dempsey’s make a winning start.
SCORERS – O’Dempsey’s: Daniel McCornmack 4-0, Brian Nugent 1-4 (three frees), Stephen O’Leary 0-4 (one free), Mark Barry 1-1, Eoin Finlay, Conor Meredith and Barry Kelly 0-1 each Ballylinan: Liam Kealy 0-3, Gary Walsh 1-0, Jamie Farrell 0-2, Seamus Lacey, Andy McEvoy (free), David Bride and Brian McEvoy (free) 0-1 each
O’Dempsey’s: Podge Bannon; Richard Whelehan, Peter O’Leary, Liam Whelehan; Robbie Kehoe, Tommy Kehoe, Cormac O’Hora; Eoin Finlay, Barry Kelly; Mark Barry, Conor Meredith, Pat Maher; Stephen O’Leary, Daniel McCormack, Brian Nugent. Subs: Micheal Finlay for Maher (ht), Mathhew Finlay for E Finlay (44mins), Rory Bracken for L Whelehan (45mins), Aaron Fitzpatrick for S O’Leary (57mins), Eugene Nolan for McCormack (58mins)
Ballylinan: Darren Burke; Kevin Byrne, Dermot Leonard, James Murphy; Robbie Donoher, Conor Behan, Evan Phillips; Cathal Fennessy, Seamus Lacey; Ciarán Fennessy, Liam Kealy, James Redmond; Andy McEvoy, Brian McEvoy, David Bride. Subs: Jamie Farrell for Phillips (18mins), Gary Walsh for Redmond (25mins) Evan Phillips for McEvoy (ht), Tomas Lacey for Phillips (55mins)
Referee: Darren Bracken
SEE ALSO – 14-man Laois hang on to beat Carlow