Abbeyleix 0-19 Rathdowney-Errill 0-9
Laois Shopping Centre ACHL Division 4 Final
Abbeyleix picked up their second hurling trophy of 2018 this evening in Shanahoe as they proved too strong for Rathdowney-Errill in Division 4 league final.
Following on from their Palmer Cup success earlier in the season, it rounds off a good start to the year – although they’d swap it all for some championship silverware come the autumn.
Fielding a strong second-choice side against Rathdowney-Errill’s fourth-string outfit, they were the better team from the off – but they only really pulled away in the final quarter.
They hit 13 wides in total but apart from a brief spell early in the game, they led throughout. Callum Mullen top scored with nine points – all from well-struck frees – while Steven Reilly had an impressive second-half showing with three from play after coming on at the break. Conor Bergin, Rory Dune, Ciaran Carroll, Tommy Walton and Daniel Coffey also shone.
Sean Browne, Brian Meehan, Dylan Doyle and Ray Kelly all battled hard for Rathdowney-Errill.
Captain Tommy Walton got Abbeyleix off the mark in the opening stages but two frees from Browne had Rathdowney-Errill in the lead by the seventh minute.
Abbeyleix, however, hit a purple patch hitting seven in a row. Coffey levelled things up with his first effort from play before Stephen Thompson, two from Mullen, another fine score from Walton, Mullen again and a second from Coffey when he nearly had a goal after fine work from Ciaran Carroll.
That had them 0-8 to 0-2 up after 18 minutes and while Ray Kelly responded with two for Rathdowney-Errill – the second a fine point from play – Barry Walsh hit back immediately. Sean Browne did point a ’65 but at half time, Abbeyleix led 0-9 to 0-5.
A Browne free brought the difference back to three early in the second half but three more Mullen frees nudged Abbeyleix clear even if Browne did reply with a point from play in a move that could well have ended with a goal.
But that let-off was as close as Rathdowney-Errill came to causing an upset as Abbeyleix hit seven of the last nine points to pull clear.
The lively Dylan Doyle – who you can expect to see lining out higher up the grades for Rathdowney-Errill in the championship – pulled one back but Colm Walsh, Reilly with his first from distance and Mullen began to make Abbeyleix’s dominance count.
Matt Meehan did land a nice point from distance for Rathdowney-Errill but Abbeyleix hit four in a row before the final whistle – two each from Reilly and Mullen to run out deserving winners.
SCORERS – Abbeyleix: Callum Mullen 0-9 (all frees), Steven Reilly 0-3, Dan Coffey and Tommy Walton 0-2 each, Stephen Thompson, Barry Walsh and Colm Walsh 0-1 each; Rathdowney-Errill: Sean Browne 0-5 (three frees, one ’65), Ray Kelly 0-2 (one free), Dylan Doyle and Matt Meehan 0-1 each
ABBEYLEIX: Alan Kelly; JJ Murphy, PJ Corby, Conor Bergin; David Walsh, Rory Dunne, Barry Walsh; Ciaran Carroll, Joe Bergin; Colm Walsh, Callum Mullen, Stephen Thompson; Kevin Fitzpatrick, Daniel Coffey, Tommy Walton. Subs: Steven Reilly for Fitzpatrick (HT), Liam Oxley for Murphy (52), Ross Reilly for Carroll (52), Conal Egan for Coffey 958)
RATHDOWNEY-ERRILL: Anthony Costigan; Alex Bowe, Shaun Meehan, Lar Deegan; Patrick Wright, John Delaney, Dylan Delaney; Dylan Doyle, Oisin Campion; Gavin Delaney, Matt Meehan, Brian Meehan; Ray Kelly, Adam Loughman, Sean Browne. Subs: Jack Ryan for Loughman (40), Paddy Carroll for Kelly (47), Michael Shortt for G Delaney (55), Michael Purcell for S Meehan (55)