Home Sport GAA Walsh on fire as 2017 County finalists Ballylinan make winning start

Walsh on fire as 2017 County finalists Ballylinan make winning start

Ballylinan's Gary Walsh has suffered a cruciate knee injury and will miss tonight's game against Portarlington
Ballylinan's Gary Walsh

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Ballylinan 1-12 Crettyard Gaels 1-10
Laois Shopping Centre SFC Round 1

Defeated 2017 county finalists Ballylinan are off to a winning start after getting the better of Crettyard Gaels in O’Moore Park this evening.

And once again it was their tallisman Gary Walsh who was the difference as his stunning second half goal settled the tie with minutes to go

Ballylinan played with the breeze in the first half but it was Crettyard Gaels who grabbed the game’s first score via Patrick Brennan.

Gary Walsh replied with his first of the evening but Brennan fired Crettyard back in front after six minutes.

Gary Walsh replied with a brace and Ballylinan then almost had a goal when Eric Kennan got through on goal and forced a fine save from Jeff Moran.

Cormac Murphy tied the game up after 11 minutes but it would be 14 minutes before the Gaels outfit would score again.

Gary Walsh and Cieran Farrell took over in front of goal as they shot five points between them to move Ballylinan clear.

Both sides also hit the post in that period. Crettyard were first when Cormac Murphy floated in a ball which Pa O’Reilly got a fist to be it came back off the post and went wide.

And then Ballylinan went down where Seamus Lacey burst forward and created a chance for Alan Farrell who cracked a shot off the butt of the post.

But Crettyard ended the half well. Evan O’Carroll and Cristoir Maher landed points into the breeze to leave it 0-8 to 0-5 in Ballylinan’s favour at half time.

Ballylinan extended their lead on the resumption of play via Jamie Farrell but Crettyard hit right back with a free from 55 metres.

The resulting kick-out went wrong for Ballylinan and Cha Dwyer was sent clear through on goal but he blazed wide with just keeper Aidan Walsh to beat.

Ciaran Farrell restored Ballylinan’s four point lead but Evan O’Carroll responded with his third and then fourth of the game to leave two in it with twenty minutes to play.

Gary Walsh settled Ballylinan with his sixth and then fired over another from play to move his side four ahead once more.

Crettyard moved back up the field then as Evan O’Carroll powered up the pitch and laid the ball off to Criostoir Maher who’s shot was saved by Aidan Farrell who then denied Patrick Brennan with the follow up.

Crettyard remained on top but a succession of poor wides saw them fail to cut into the lead that Ballylinan built up.

They hit five wides in a row before an Evan O’Carroll free and then a Pa O’Reilly point after 54 minutes left two in it.

And then just as the game entered the first of four minutes, Alan Farrell broke forward and played the ball out to Gary Walsh who was near the corner flag.

He cut inside Ciaran Hosey and Cha Dwyer before cracking the ball into the top corner of the net – an unstoppable finish.

Crettyard kept going and were awarded a penalty with two minutes to play. Evan O’Carroll was fouled after receiving a pinpoint pass from Pa O’Reilly.

Cormac Murphy stepped up and sent Aidan Walsh the wrong way to set up a thrilling final couple of moments.

SCORERS – Ballylinan: Gary Walsh 1-7 (four frees), Ciaran Farrell 0-4, Jamie Farrell 0-1 Crettyard Gaels: Evan O’Carroll 0-5 (three frees), Patrick Brennan 0-2, Cormac Murphy 1-1, Criostoir Maher 0-1, Pa O’Reilly 0-1

BALLYLINAN: Aidan Walsh; Eric Kenna, Cathal Leonard, Kevin Byrne; Gary Walsh, Richie Ryan, Robbie Donoher; Jamie Farrell, Pauric McEvoy; James Redmond, Seamus Lacey, Alan Farrell; Ciaran Farrell, Gary Walsh, Liam Kealy. Subs: Dermot Leonard for Ryan (38m, black card), Podge Walsh for Kealy (47m),

CRETTYARD GAELS: Jeff Moran; Paddy Gorman, Pierce Nash, Sean O’Shea; Sean O’Reilly, Niall Purcell, Sean Downey; Patrick O’Reilly, Evan O’Carroll; Cha Dwyer, Cristoir Maher, Seamus Dowling; Ciaran Hosey, Patrick Brennan, Cormac Murphy. Subs: Michael Nash for Dowling (ht), Philly Brennan for P Nash (50m, inj), Paul Simms for Patrick Brennan (53m)

REFEREE: Brendan McCann (Portarlington)

SEE ALSO – Eight players to watch out for in the intermediate football championship

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.