Home Sport GAA Good start sends O’Dempsey’s on their way as they hold on in...

Good start sends O’Dempsey’s on their way as they hold on in hectic finale

Matthew Finlay in action for O'Dempsey's

O’Dempsey’s 2-12 Ballylinan 1-14
Laois Shopping Centre SFC Round 3 Replay

An excellent start that saw them score two goals in the opening five minutes set O’Dempsey’s up for a good win over Ballylinan in their replayed Laois SFC Round 3 game this evening in O’Moore Park.

But the Killenard men were forced to endure a nervous final quarter as Ballylinan ate into their lead and were left hanging on before John Flynn blew his final whistle.

O’Dempsey’s first goal came from Matthew Finlay after he gathered the rebound from his own shot after two minutes, the second just three minutes later when Conor Meredith buried a penalty after Michael Finlay was fouled.

Those two goals were to separate the sides for most of the rest of the game even if it looked as if O’Dempsey’s might run away with it at one stage having led by eight points in the first half.

Jamie Farrell and Seamus Lacey pointed from play and four frees from Gary Walsh saw O’Dempsey’s lead 2-6 to 0-6 at the break. Matthew Finlay continued his impressive form with 1-3 in that opening period while young Mark Barry kicked two points and the hugely influential Barry Kelly scored one.

O’Dempsey’s stretched nine clear early in the second half thanks to points from Matthew and Michael Finlay and Barry Kelly.

Gary Walsh’s free-taking kept the game alive throughout the second half. In total he scored 11 points (ten from frees) but when he missed two goal chances in quick succession and Mark Barry then popped up with his third, it looked as if it was game over.

But from the next attack, Walsh got a bit of space away from Peter O’Leary. His left-footed shot on goal was half blocked but sub Andy McEvoy was on hand to tap into an empty net from just inches out.

From the next attack Richie Ryan pointed from play and then Walsh added a free after he was dragged down by Eoin Finlay in injury time. Ballylinan had a chance to level it but Jamie Farrell’s effort was way off even if they did seem to have justifiable claims for a free.

In any case their next attack was thwarted by overcarrying and Flynn’s full-time whistle brought an end to their season.

O’Dempsey’s now go forward to play neighbours Emo in the quarter-final on the weekend of September 8-9.

SCORERS – O’Dempsey’s: Matthew Finlay 1-6 (0-3 frees, one ’45), Mark Barry 0-3, Conor Meredith 1-0 (penalty), Barry Kelly 0-2, Michael Finlay 0-1.  Ballylinan: Gary Walsh 0-11 (ten frees), Andy McEvoy 1-0, Jamie Farrell 0-1, Seamus Lacey 0-1, Richie Ryan 0-1

O’DEMPSEY’S: Podge Bannon; Shane Nerney, Peter O’Leary, Tommy Kehoe; Tom Kelly, Robbie Kehoe, Cormac O’Hora; Rory Bracken, Barry Kelly; Matthew Finlay, Conor Meredith, Liam Whelehan; Michael Finlay, Dan McCormack, Mark Barry. Subs: Bryan Nugent for Bracken (injured – HT), Eoin Finlay for Whelehan (52), Stephen O’Leary for M Finlay (59), Bryan Meredith for E Finlay (Black Card – 61)

BALLYLINAN: Aidan Walsh; Eric Kenna, Alan Farrell, Kevin Byrne; James Redmond, Cathal Leonard, Richie Ryan; John Kealy, Jamie Farrell; Larry Kealy, Ciaran Farrell, Seamus Lacey; Ciaran Fennessy, Gary Walsh, Liam Kealy. Subs: Conor Behan for J Kealy (28), Gary (Soldier) Walsh for Fennessy (HT), Andy McEvoy for Liam Kealy (HT), Dermot Leonard for Kenna (39), Evan Phillips for Laurence Kealy (50)

REFEREE: John Flynn (The Rock)

SEE ALSO – Tierney is Ballyroan-Abbey’s hero as last-gasp free sets up quarter-final place

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Steven Miller is owner and managing editor of LaoisToday.ie. From Laois, Steven studied Journalism in DCU and has 14 years experience in the media, almost 10 of those in an editorial role. Husband of Emily, father of William and Lillian, he's happiest when he's telling stories or kicking a point.