Home Sport GAA First-half goals key as Ballyfin Gaels send Clonaslee St Manmans Gaels down

First-half goals key as Ballyfin Gaels send Clonaslee St Manmans Gaels down

Sean Moore was excellent for Ballyfin this afternoon
Sean Moore

Ballyfin Gaels 2-13 Clonaslee Gaels 1-12
Laois Shopping Centre SFC Relegation Final

Ballyfin Gaels have maintained their senior football status for another season after getting the better of Clonaslee St Manman’s Gaels this morning in Portarlington.

Ballyfin have been senior since winning the intermediate championship in 2014 and will play the top grade for a fifth year running next season.

Clonaslee, however, make the drop having won the intermediate title in 2015. Earlier losses to Killeshin, Stradbally and Arles-Killeen meant they were in the relegation decider and having flirted with the drop in each of the last two campaigns, they couldn’t hold onto their status this season.

The result will likely bring to an end one of the more peculiar ‘Gaels’ arrangements in Laois football, one that saw Clonaslee cross the county to link up with Annanough. Indeed the two clubs could find themselves in opposition again in 2019 if Annanough win the junior final in two weeks time.

Ballyfin fielded their strongest team of the season, and stated their intent by bringing former Laois player James Finn home from abroad to play in the game.

A couple of early points from Sean Moore got Ballyfin up and running, and although Paddy Hyland responded with a point for Clonaslee and Will Young then levelled things up, Ballyfin struck for their first goal in the seventh minute when Louis Duff finished to the net after good work from Darragh Connolly.

Duff and Moore added on points but Clonaslee hit back with a Glen McEvoy free from distance. Ben Conroy, Finn and James Moore then added points for Ballyfin to open up an eight-point.

Frees from McEvoy and Elliott Scully clawed back some of that deficit but Ballyfin got the last score of the half when sub Luke Kerr goaled after Ben Conroy’s initial effort was blocked.  At half-time, Ballyfin led 2-7 to 0-5.

Ballyfin maintained their lead for most of the second half with Duff (2), Finn, James Moore (2) all pointing – with Glen McEvoy (2), Will Young, Sean Dunne and Paddy Hyland all responding for Clonaslee.

With four minutes remaining there was still eight between the teams before Clonaslee rallied briefly near the end – a goal from Willie Murray and a point from Diarmuid Conroy leaving just four in it as the game entered injury time.

But that was as close as it would get as James Moore and Elliott Scully traded late points and Ballfin had enough in reserve to see it out.

SCORERS – Ballyfin Gaels: Louis Duff 1-3, James Moore 0-4 (three frees), Sean Moore 0-3 (two frees), Luke Kerr 1-0, James Finn 0-2, ,Ben Conroy 0-1 Clonaslee Gaels: Glen McEvoy 0-4 (three frees), Willie Murray 1-0, Elliott Scully 0-2 (both frees), Will Young 0-2, Paddy Hyland 0-2 (one free), Diarmuid Conroy 0-1, Sean Dunne 0-1

BALLYFIN GAELS: Robbie Foran; Ciaran Fingleton, Shane Farrell, Richie Downey; Ciaran Fennelly, George Lanham, Darragh Connolly; Nick Cosgrove, Ricky Quillinan; James Moore, Ben Conroy, Dan Molloy; Sean Moore, James Finn, Louis Duff. Subs: Luke Kerr for Molloy (injured – 12), Shane Conroy for Cosgrove (50), John Lowry for Fingleton (50), Alan Strong for Quillinan (injured – 54), Brian Dowling for Finn (black card – 60)

CLONASLEE GAELS: Conor Gorman; Jack Owens, Ger Reilly, Diarmuid Conroy; Willie Murray, Willie Young, Marty Stapleton; John Scully, Shane Stapleton; Michael Hyland, Glen McEvoy, Niall Hogan; Elliott Scully, John Rigney, Paddy Hyland. Subs: Darren Hogan for S Stapleton (HT), Sean Condon for Owens (34), Sean Dunne for Rigney (black card – 37)

SEE ALSO – Mountmellick see off Rosenallis to book intermediate final place

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Siún Lennon joined LaoisToday in a full-time capacity after studying Journalism and New Media in the University of Limerick. She hails from Rosenallis and her interests vary from news, sports and politics.