Clough-Ballacolla 1-22 Ballypickas Gaels 2-11
Laois Shopping Centre IHC Round 1
Clough-Ballacolla’s second team brought their winning form from the division 2 league into the championship as they defeated the newly-promoted Ballypickas Gaels in Abbeyleix tonight.
This means that they now take on Borris-Kilcotton while Ballypickas face off against Park-Ratheniska-Timahoe in the next round of matches.
Aidan Doyle got the scoring off to a start for Clough-Ballacolla, adding the first point of the match in the first 40 seconds. Ray Cummins followed a minute later before Kieran Bowe found the post from a free in the third minute. Midfielder Paddy Gorman found Bowe again for Ballypickas’s second point and Bowe found luck between the posts for a third time from a 65.
Ballypickas started to build steam as Daire McWey found wing-back William McDonald, who hit an almighty shot over the bar to give Ballypickas the lead. Damien Bergin and Ger Whelan traded points before Damien Bergin landed the first of five frees for his Clough-Ballacolla side.
Daire McWey then ran through the heart of the Clough-Ballacolla defence and rifled the ball into the back of the net for their first goal. Ciaran Finane and Doyle added points for James Conway’s side before Tim Whelan landed his first at the town end of the pitch.
Finane and Ger Whelan pointed again as Ballypickas’s Noel Concannon made a super save in goals against the shot from Doyle. After going three points down after 20 minutes, Clough-Ballacolla started to find their form towards the end of the second-half. Diarmuid Conway led the way with a goal from which Johnny Finane followed up with a point a minute later. John Doyle landed a point from the left-wing to leave a debated score at half-time.
While referee John Lalor had the score down with Clough-Ballacolla leading 1-10 to 1-8 at half-time, many spectators, including this reporter, had it at 1-9 a piece. However the two point lead would make little difference to the overall score as Clough-Ballacolla showed how they scored an astonishing 18-123 in seven league games and pulled away from the Ballypickas Gaels side.
A Bergin free began the second half scoring for Clough-Ballacolla and the ever-relaible MJ Lalor struck back for Damien Cleere’s side. But that would be the last of Ballypickas’s scoring for 10 minutes as Conway and Shane Hyland added six points within the space of the 10 minutes for Clough-Ballacolla.
Ballypickas were given a lifeline with a penalty but Tommy Nolan managed a brilliant stop to keep seven points between the teams. Lalor pointed and Paddy Boggin also managed to get his name on the scoresheet in the 47th minute.
A MJ Lalor strike on goals was doubled on by Daniel Ward to put four between the sides but a number of frees converted by Damien Bergin and a Hyland point left this first-round of the intermediate hurling championship finishing 1-22 to 2-11 in Clough-Ballacolla’s favour.
SCORERS – Clough-Ballacolla: Diarmuid Conway 1-1, Aidan Doyle 0-2, Ray Cummins 0-2, Damien Bergin 0-6 (0-5) Ciaran Finane 0-2, Johnny Finane 0-1 John Doyle 0-1, Shane Hyland 0-3, Chris Rafter 0-1 Ballypickas: Daire McWey 1-0, Daniel Ward 1-0, Kieran Bowe 0-3 (0-1 frees, 0-1 65′) William McDonald 0-1, Ger Whelan 0-2, Tim Whelan 0-1, Jim Leech 0-1, MJ Lalor 0-3, Paddy Boggin 0-1
CLOUGH-BALLACOLLA: Tommy Nolan; Jim Doyle, Brian Costigan, Matthew Bergin; John Keane, Brendan McEvoy, Johny Finane; John Doyle, Diarmuid Conway; Chris Rafter, Damien Bergin, Aidan Doyle; Ciaran Finane, Ray Cummins, Shane Hyland. Subs: Craig Saunders for Brian Costigan
BALLYPICKAS GAELS: Noel Concannon; Tim Cass, Cillian McEvoy, Ryan Carter; William McDonald, Liam Lalor, Paddy Boggin; Paddy Gorman, Eoin McEvoy; Daire McWey, Kieran Bowe, Ger Whelan; Jim Leech, MJ Lalor, Tim Whelan.