Camross 2-15 Rathdowney-Errill 0-19
Laois Shopping Centre SHC Final
Camross have been crowned Laois SHC champions for the 26th time following a gripping final in O’Moore Park this afternoon.
It’s the first time since 2003 that the Laois hurling title has been successfully defended and the first time that Camross have put titles back-to-back since 1993-1994.
It completes an incredible two seasons for Camross as they have now done the league and championship double in 2017 and 2018. It also puts to bed their demons with Rathdowney-Errill in big championship games, having lost two finals – in 2010 and 2013 – as well as a couple of semi-finals.
Camross played with the breeze in the opening half but they struggled to get going for long spells.
Instead Rathdowney-Errill dictated the game for the most part. Mark Kavanagh got off to an electric start and pointed with 60 seconds of the throw in. He would go on to hit Rathdowney-Errill’s first five points.
After ten minutes they were 0-5 to 0-3 up, Camross’s scores coming from a Zane Keenan free and one each from Dean Delaney and Ciaran Collier.
Keenan hit a ’65 to reduce the gap to one but Ross King and Paddy McCane both drove over excellent scores from distance to put Rathdowney-Errill three clear. Keenan and Kavanagh then swapped frees before the game’s turning point arrived five minutes before the break.
A wild skirmish just in front of the stand near the middle of the field led to the following: Ross King going off with an ugly facial injury and two Camross players – Darrell Dooley and Niall Holmes – yellow carded. It was the end of the Laois captain’s involvement. Around that time experienced and influential midfielder Shane Dollard was forced injured too.
Camross hit the next three points and then Eoin Gaughan got a goal that sent them in leading 1-8 to 0-8 at the break. It was some turnaround. From being three points down – and lucky not to be at least a man down – suddenly Camross were three up and Rathdowney-Errill were without two of their two best players. For good measure, Camross then brought on Dwane Palmer at half time.
And Camross started the second half in inspired form too. While Brandon McGinley and Mark Kavanagh (free) pointed either side of Ciaran Collier, Camross then struck for the game’s second goal when Mark Dowling got on to the end of a long ball from Joe Phelan and while he lost his hurl he kicked to the net brilliantly past Noel Brennan.
Tomas Burke and Keenan added points in quick succesion and Camross led 2-12 to 0-10.
Rathdowney-Errill kept battling and although they hit a string of bad wides, two Kavanagh frees and a long range score from Paddy Purcell had them back within five with 15 minutes to go.
Lorcan Burke settled Camross with a monster point but then Tadhg Dowling hit two in a row.
Ciaran Collier replied for Camross but then Kavanagh (free) and another from Dowling had three in it with three to play.
But Camross held out in a nervy final finish to win their first back-to-back titles since 1993-1994.
SCORERS – Camross: Zane Keenan 0-7 (five frees, one ’65), Mark Dowling 1-1, Ciaran Collier 0-3, Eoin Gaughan 1-0, Dean Delaney 0-1, Tomas Burke 0-1, Lorcan Burke 0-1, Martin Burke 0-1, Rathdowney-Errill: Mark Kavanagh 0-12 (10 frees, one ’65), Tadhg Dowling 0-3, Paddy Purcell 0-1, Ross King 0-1, Paddy McCane 0-1, Brandon McGinley 0-1
CAMROSS: Thomas Dunphy; Andrew Mortimer, Malvin Moloney, Joe Phelan; Lorcan Burke, Andrew Collier, Martin Burke; Darrell Dooley, Tomas Burke; Ciaran Collier, Niall Holmes, Zane Keenan; Mark Dowling, Dean Delaney, Eoin Gaughan. Subs: Dwane Palmer for Dooley (HT), Matthew Collier for M Burke (50), Oisin Bennett for Holmes (57), Darren Gilmartin for T Burke (61)
RATHDOWNEY-ERRILL: Noel Brennan; Alan Delaney, Brian Campion, Jimmy Corrigan; Eric Killeen , Joe Fitzpatrick, Jack Kelly; Shane Dollard, John Purcell; Paddy Purcell, Tadhg Dowling, James Ryan; Paddy McCane, Ross King, Mark Kavanagh. Subs: Daithi Poynton for Dollard (injured – 25), Brandon McGinley for King (injured – 25), Dan Bourke for Poynton (52), Ray Bowe for McCane (57)
REFEREE: John O’Brien (Portlaoise)
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