The Heath 2-9 Graiguecullen 1-11
Laois Shopping Centre Division 1A
It took a late point from the young substitute Dylan Kavanagh to clinch victory for The Heath this evening to get their 2018 Division 1A campaign off to winning start.
The game looked set for a draw when Luke Alsybury popped over a leveling point for Graiguecullen, over-turning a two point lead which The Heath held for most of the second half. But The Heath marched back up the field and it resulted in Dylan Kavanagh slotting a fine winning point.
The game got off to a frantic start with end to end action for the opening 10 minutes. Daithi Carroll opened the scoring, but Graiguecullen hit back with three points in a row, one of which could have very easily been a goal, but Joe Walsh managed to flick over.
Aidan Bergin then made a marauding run inside the Graigue half before finding Chris Bergin inside who took his man and slotted the ball coolly into the bottom corner, settling The Heath back into the game. Graiguecullen retook the lead through two quick points but it would be short-lived.
The Heath soon grabbed their second goal through Andrew Booth, who was on the receiving end of a good team move, leaving the sides 2-1 to 0-5 after 20 minutes. But it would be Graiguecullen who would go in at the break with the narrowest of leads.
Centre-back Chris Hurley managed to sneak in behind the defence where he receive a pass before putting the ball past Joe Walsh in The Heath net. A PJ Daly point rounded off the scoring to leave the sides 1-6 to 2-2 at the half.
The Heath again opened the scoring through Chris Bergin and very soon they would take the lead thanks to a string of points from Daithi Carroll. Ross Hennessy slotted a brace of frees to keep Graiguecullen within touching distance.
Half-time substitute Eoin Delaney looked to have sealed the win for The Heath with only four minutes of normal time to play, but Graiguecullen never gave up and Danny Alsybury pulled them within one point before Luke Alsybury popped over the leveler.
Time for one more attack was all that remained and The Heath made it count. Following good work from Robbie Dowling, Dylan Kavanagh received the pass before kicking the winning point. Graiguecullen had a late long range free to try and salvage something from the game but that fell short and that was that. It finished 2-9 to 1-11.
THE HEATH: Chris Bergin (1-1), Daithi Carroll (0-4), Andrew Booth (1-0), PJ Daly (0-2), Eoin Delaney, Dylan Kavanagh (0-1 each).
GRAIGUECULLEN: Ross Hennessy (0-4), Chris Hurley (1-0), Jamie Parr (0-2), Luke Alsybury, Martin Doyle, Jamie Sheehan and Danny Alsybury (0-1 each).
THE HEATH: Joe Walsh; Alan Whelan, Gary Hogan, Neil Keane; James Phelan, James Nerney, Aidan Bergin; Denis Booth, Robbie Dowling; PJ Daly, Chris Bergin, Robert Ging; Daithi Carroll, Andrew Booth, Padraig Whelan. SUBS: Eoin Delaney, Dylan Kavanagh, Liam Kinsella.
GRAIGUECULLEN: Ger Kieran; Bobby Doyle, James Bolton, Liam Kearney; Luke Alsybury, Chris Hurley, Martin Doyle; Shane O’Neill, Jamie Sheehan; James Doogue, Brian Byrne, Ross Hennessy; Aaron Forbes, Jamie Parr, Danny Alsybury. SUBS: Ryan O’Grady, Alan Coleman.