Home Sport GAA St Joseph’s reach U-21 decider following dramatic tussle with Ballyroan-Abbey Gaels

St Joseph’s reach U-21 decider following dramatic tussle with Ballyroan-Abbey Gaels

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St Joseph's James Kelly - Photo Alf Harvey

St Joseph’s 3-9 Ballyroan-Abbey Gaels 2-9
Laois Shopping Centre 2018 U-21 ‘A’ Football Championship Semi Final

A game that had everything began the 2019 club season in Laois and saw St Joseph’s reach the 2018 U-21 football championship final.

This tie between themselves and Balyroan-Abbey Gaels in Bill Delaney Park involved penalties, some great scores and a red card which will have real implications for the final.

Ballyroan-Abbey Gaels embarked on a late comeback which saw them come from nine points down to just three and in the aftermath of their second goal, a schemozzle broke out in front of the St Joseph’s goal.

When all had calmed down, referee Maurice Deegan showed yellow cards to St Joseph’s Brian Daly and Ballyroan’s Charlie Whelan before brandishing a red card to St Joseph’s Dylan Doyle.

The centre forward scored 2-1 in this game and his loss through suspension will be severely felt when they take on Portarlington in the decider next week.

Ballyroan-Abbey Gaels, who were without Conor Brennan, Liam Delaney (both injured) and Jake Cranny (with Laois hurlers), started the stronger with a brace of Diarmuid Whelan frees.

A fisted Peter Kealy point was the best St Joseph’s could muster in the opening quarter as Enda McWey and Whelan moved the Gaels further clear.

However, St Joseph’s soon found their stride as Laois U-17 star from 2018 Josh Lacey got on the end of a handpassing move to rifle the ball in with his left foot.

St Joseph’s were then awarded a penalty when Peter Kealy was fouled but Brian Daly’s effort from the spot hit the outside of the post and went wide.

Nevertheless, St Joseph’s did get that second goal before the break as a lovely move involving Bernard Wheatley and Peter Kealy saw Dylan Doyle run clear before rattling the net after keeper Thomas McCann had initially denied him.

Conor Kealy extended St Joseph’s lead but a late Diarmuid Whelan free left the score reading 2-2 to 0-5 at half time.

The opening three minutes of the second half saw St Joseph’s really step on the gas. They grabbed a third goal almost straight from the throw in with Dylan Doyle racing through again to score before points from Conor Kealy and Peter Kealy put them eight in front.

Enda McWey and Diarmuid Whelan tried to keep Ballyroan-Abbey Gaels in the game but St Joseph’s points from Peter Kealy, Dean Brophy and Brian Daly left nine between the sides with 15 minutes to play.

But credit to Ballyroan-Abbey, they didn’t give up and made a real fight of things in the final period. Substitute Charlie Whelan kicked a great point before they were then awarded a penalty.

Diarmuid Whelan’s effort came back off the crossbar but the ball came back to the forward who beat Adam Nichol-Waugh from close range.

Colm Walsh cut the gap further but late points from Peter Kealy and Seamus Farrelly looked to have sealed things for St Joseph’s.

However, Ballyroan-Abbey made things uncomfortable with McWey’s late goal.

But despite Dylan Doyle’s red card, St Joseph’s stood firm through injury time to reach the final against Portarlington next weekend.

SCORERS – ST JOSEPH’S: Dylan Doyle 2-1, Peter Kealy 0-3, Josh Lacey 1-0, Conor Kealy 0-2, Brian Daly 0-1, Dean Brophy 0-1, Seamus Farrelly 0-1 BALLYROAN-ABBEY GAELS: Diarmuid Whelan 1-5 (three frees), Enda McWey 2-2, Charlie Whelan 0-1, Colm Walsh 0-1

ST JOSEPH’S: Adam Nichol-Waugh; Robbie Langton, James Kelly, Dylan O’Brien; Jack Lacey, Niall Brennan, Dean Brophy; Brian Daly, Bernard Wheatley; Josh Lacey, Dylan Doyle, Mikie Dempsey; Ciaran Ramsbottom, Conor Kealy, Peter Kealy. Subs: Seamus Farrelly for Ramsbottom (50m), Mikey Meaney for P Kealy (58m, inj)

BALLYROAN-ABBEY GAELS: Tom McCann; Cian Moffit, Barry Walsh, JJ Murphy; Ciaran Byrne, Eoghan Whelan, Aaron McEvoy; Cathal Doyle, John Rogers; Colm Walsh, Diarmuid Whelan, Stephen Thompson; Enda McWey, Paudie McDonald, Adam Brennan. Subs: Ciaran Carroll for Brennan (ht), Colin Kinsella and Charlie Whelan for Murphy (inj) and McDonald (40m), Dylan Cuddy for Thompson (50m)

Referee: Maurice Deegan (Stradbally)

SEE ALSO – 19 Laois people to watch out for in 2019