Stradbally 3-13 Graiguecullen 0-9
Laois Shopping Centre ACFL Division 1A
After suffering defeat in their opening two games, Stradbally came back to form in some style in Bill Delaney Park.
Barney Maher’s men scored three goals on the way to a 13 point win which moves Stradbally out of the relegation places and leaves Graiguecullen in them.
Playing against the breeze in the first half, Conor Delaney had Stradbally ahead in the first minute.
Jamie Parr levelled things up after seven minutes but Graiguecullen would not score again for seven more minutes and by then, they found themselves eight points down.
John Clancy, Podge Fitzpatrick and Colm Kelly all pointed for Stradbally before some great work on the wing from the latter resulted in him playing an inviting ball towards the Graiguecullen goal where Podge Fitzpatrick nipped in to make the vital touch to divert the ball to the net.
Tom Shiel and Colm Kelly raised further white flags to leave Stradbally 1-6 to 0-1 ahead by this stage.
But in fairness to Graiguecullen, they did get going in the last ten minutes of the half and outscored Stradbally by six points to a goal.
Ross Hennessy contributed three of these with Jamie Parr and Martin Doyle kicking the rest. But Stradbally managed a crucial score in that period to leave them five ahead at half time.
A strong run from Eoin Buggie saw him pick out Colm Begley and he fed Tom Shiel who ran across the goal before firing a low shot into the bottom corner of the net.
Stradbally re-emerged from the dressing rooms with the wind at their backs and they made that advantage count by landing five unanswered points.
Tom Shiel hit a brace while Colm Kelly, Jack Langton and Podge Fitzpatrick also pointed.
Trevor Collins was Graiguecullen’s only scorer in the second half as he kicked two fine points from distance but that was never going to be enough.
Tom Shiel added two more for Stradbally before the home side put the game to bed in rather fortuitous circumstances with 12 minutes to go.
Darren Maher took a free around midfield which he tried to float in to Conor Delaney but it missed him and also deceived keeper Ger Kiernan before sailing into the back of the net.
And Stradbally had the final say before the end as Jack Deegan kicked a deserved point after working tirelessly throughout the hour.
Stradbally will look to keep this good form going when they face high-flying O’Dempsey’s next weekend while Graiguecullen will go in search of their first league win at home to St Joseph’s.
SCORERS – Stradbally: Tom Shiel 1-3, Podge Fitzpatrick 1-2, Colm Kelly 0-4 (three frees), Darren Maher 1-0, Conor Delaney, Jack Deegan, Jack Langton and John Clancy 0-1 each Graiguecullen: Ross Hennessy (one free) and Jamie Parr (two frees) 0-3 each, Trevor Collins 0-2, Martin Doyle 0-1
STRADBALLY: Wayne Comerford; Colin Beale, Liam Knowles, Jamie Kavanagh; Jack Langton, Eoin Buggie, Charlie O’Brien; Jack Deegan, Darren Maher; Podge Fitzpatrick, Tom Shiel, John Clancy; Colm Begley, Conor Delaney, Colm Kelly. Subs: Liam Clancy for Kavanagh (10mins, inj), Damien Murphy for J Clancy (33mins), Jamie Devoy for Kelly (50mins), Colm Clancy for L Clancy (55mins), Tadhg Murray for Delaney (55mins), Cormac Delaney for O’Brien (56mins)
GRAIGUECULLEN: Ger Kiernan; Bobby Doyle, Liam Kearney, Ross Alcock; Luke Alsybury, Mark Timmons, Martin Doyle; Jimmy Bolton, Jamie Sheehan; Ross Hennessy, Trevor Collins, James Doogue; Danny Alsybury, Brian Byrne, Jamie Parr. Subs: Barry Regan for D Alsybury (54mins)
Referee: David Moore (St Joseph’s)