Neighbours and rivals clashed in tonight’s ACFL Division 1A games.
With just a couple of games to go in the league, things at the top and the bottom are getting very tight.
Graiguecullen and Stradbally went head to head in Fr Maher Park while neighbours Portarlington and O’Dempsey’s did the same in Killenard.
Also, a potentially decisive game in the race for second place saw Portlaoise host The Heath.
Here is a run down on how the games went:
Portarlington 0-19 O’Dempsey’s 2-8
Portarlington are out of the relegation places after they defeated neighbours O’Dempsey’s tonight.
Des Cooney and Noel Coss’ men won by five points and this is a result which deals a serious blow to reigning league champions O’Dempsey’s prospects of regaining their crown.
The away side started this game like a train and were five points to the good after ten minutes.
Jason Ward, Adam Ryan, David Murphy and Jordan Fitzpatrick were all on target as Portarlington opened up a lead they would never relinquish.
O’Dempsey’s replied with a brace from Brian Nugent but Portarlington stepped on the gas again with Jason Ward (2) and David Murphy moving them six clear with five minutes to play.
Both sides were then reduced to 14 men as Micheal Finlay and Graham Weldon were shown straight red cards before the home side finished the half well.
Barry Kelly struck for the game’s opening goal and Matthew Finlay raised a white flag for O’Dempsey’s. Portarlington had David Murphy, Adam Ryan and Jason Ward kicking points though and led 0-10 to 1-3 at the break.
Conor Meredith and Jason Ward swapped points on the resumption of play before O’Dempsey’s were awarded a penalty after 42 minutes.
Conor Meredith took it and scored to leave it 0-11 to 2-4. However, Portarlington responded brilliantly to that set back.
Steven Lyons, Alex Mohan, Jason Ward and Adam Ryan all pointed to put clear water between the teams again.
Barry Kelly and Conor Meredith cut the gap to four but Portarlington would not be denied.
Jason Ward took his tally to seven points and although the final two points of the game came to O’Dempsey’s, Portarlington won by five in the end.
SCORERS – Portarlington: Jason Ward 0-7 (three frees), David Murphy (two frees) and Adam Ryan 0-4, Jordan Fitzpatrick 0-2, Steven Lyons 0-1, Alex Mohan 0-1 O’Dempsey’s: Conor Meredith 1-3 (1-0 pen), Barry Kelly 1-1, Brian Nugent (one free) Matthew Finaly 0-2 (one free) 0-2 each
Portarlington: Scott Osbourne; Eoin Kennedy, Cathal Ryan, Alex Mohan; Curtis Lyons, Paddy O’Sullivan, Graham Weldon; Adam Ryan, David Murphy; Johnny Fulham, Jordon Fitzpatrick, Steven Lyons; Dave Condron, Jason Ward, Evan Clancy. Subs: Aaron Heaney
O’Dempsey’s: Podge Bannon; Eoin Cunningham, Peter O’Leary, Richie Whelehan; Cormac O’Hora, Tommy Kehoe, Liam Whelehan; Barry Kelly, Rory Bracken; Matthew Finlay, Conor Meredith, Pat Maher; Michael Finlay, Eugene Nolan, Brian Nugent
Referee: Maurice Deegan (Stradbally)
Graiguecullen 1-11 Stradbally 0-12
Stradbally and Graiguecullen exchanged places in the ACFL Division 1A table as Padraig Clancy’s men scored a vital win.
Colm Kelly was once again Stradbally’s main scorer but Barney Maher’s men suffered a third straight defeat and now sit in the bottom two places alongside Ballylinan.
The home team started this game well and could never be caught. Brian Byrne, Lee Timmons, Danny Aylesbury, Jamie Parr and Luke Aylesbury all scored points early on.
Stradbally hit back through Podge Langton before they had a goal chance as Colm Kelly’s shot was blocked on the line.
Kelly responded with two more points before Graiguecullen almost had a goal themselves when a ball came back off the post to Lee Timmons who fired wide.
Brian Byrne landed a brace before the Barrowsiders grabbed the game’s only goal as we approached half time. A ball broke around the Stradbally goalmouth and Chri Hurley pounced to score a crucial goal.
Colm Kelly ended the half with two more points but Stradbally trailed by 0-6 to 1-8 at half time.
Stradbally started the second half really well. Colm Kelly added two more points while John Clancy and Jody Dillon also scored to cut the gap to one.
But it was a period that Stradbally will look back upon with some regret as they could also have have had three goals.
Colm Kelly forced two great saved from Graiguecullen keeper Danny Bolger after Podge Fitzpatrick had hit the post.
But Graiguecullen steadied the ship with points from Aaron Forbes and Jamie Parr.
Stradbally refused to go away as Damien Murphy and Colm Kelly reduced the deficit to one again as we approached full time.
But Graiguecullen would win this game and Jamie Parr’s late point gave them the cushion they needed to hold on by two in the end.
SCORERS – Graiguecullen: Jamie Parr and Brian Byrne 0-3 each, Chris Hurley 1-0, Danny Aylesbury 0-2 Lee Timmons, Luke Aylesbury and Aaron Forbes 0-1 each Stradbally: Colm Kelly 0-8, Podge Langton 0-1, John Clancy 0-1, Jody Dillon 0-1, Damien Murphy 0-1
Graiguecullen: Danny Bolger; Tunde Ogunfowra, Bobby Doyle, Martin Doyle; Luke Aylesbury, Chris Hurley, Dean Malone; Shane O’Neill, Paul Mulready; James Doogue, Jamie Parr, Aaron Forbes; Lee Timmons, Brian Byrne, Danny Aylesbury
Stradbally: Wayne Comerford; Liam Clancy, Jamie Kavanagh, Colm Clancy; Damien Murphy, Liam Knowles, Charlie O’Brien; Jack Deegan, Conor Delaney; Podge Fitzpatrick, Jody Dillon, John Clancy; Podge Langton, Colm Kelly, Greg Ramsbottom. Subs: Cormac Deegan, Kevin Holohan
Referee: David Moore (St Joseph’s)
The Heath 1-13 Portlaoise 0-12
A second half goal from Evin Keane was the crucial score as The Heath got the better of neighbours Portlaoise in their ACFL Division 1A game in Rathleague this evening.
The result keeps Barry McNamee’s men firmly in the hunt for a final place as they reversed their earlier loss to Portlaoise to go joint second in the table alongside O’Dempsey’s.
On a fabulous evening for football, The Heath led 0-8 to 0-3 at the half time, with Daithi Carroll and Robert Dowling accounting for the bulk of their scores.
Scott Lawless kicked eight points in total for The Town but it wasn’t enough as Evin Keane came off the bench to score 1-2 while Dowling, Eoin Delaney, Mark Dunne and Alan Whelan also found the range.
SCORERS – The Heath: Robert Dowling 0-5, Evin Keane 1-2, Daithi Carroll 0-3, Alan Whelan, Mark Dunne and Eoin Delaney 0-1 each; Portlaoise: Scott Lawless 0-8, Ross Brennan, Jonathan Rafter, Ricky Maher and Martin Staunton 0-1 each
THE HEATH: JP Nerney; James Conroy, Aidan Bergin, Niall Keane; Gary Roe Smith, Jimmy Nerney, Alan Whelan; Denis Booth, Daithi Carroll; Mark Dunne, Robert Dowling, Liam Kinsella; Eoin Delaney, Andrew Booth, Robbie Ging. Subs: Mark Dowling, Evin Keane, Benny Conroy, David Conroy
PORTLAOISE: Richie Downey; Beano McCormack, Gary Saunders, Darragh McAuley; Ronan Molloy, Colin Finn, Conor Dunphy; Ciaran McEvoy, Dean Cullen; Jonathan Rafter, Ross Brennan, Aaron Rafter; Scott Lawless, Craig Rogers, Ricky Maher. Subs: Martin Staunton, Colm Parkinson, Bryan Smith, Jack Brown