The Rock 2-9 St Joseph’s 0-8
Laois Shopping Centre Intermediate Football Championship Round 1
A game that was over at half time had a rather strange conclusion as The Rock emerged seven point winners over St Joseph’s in Annanough this afternoon.
Referee Thomas Kennedy issued five red cards – three to The Rock and two to St Joseph’s – in a second half where as many points were actually scored.
The Rock were far superior in the first half with teenage sensation Sean O’Neill, who scored a hat-trick in their recent Division 3 league final loss to Ballyfin, smashing home two first half goals.
However, he damaged his achilles at the end of the first half and was substituted and The Rock’s attacking play really struggled as a result.
All of the red cards came in the final 20 minutes of the game. The first two were dished out following the one incident in front of The Rock goals after St Joseph’s had been awarded a free.
A scuffle ensued and referee Kennedy, following consultation with his linesman Brendan Hickey and his umpires, issued red cards to St Joseph’s Enda Butler and The Rock’s James McDonald.
Ciaran Ramsbottom picked up a yellow card in that incident too and that would soon comeback to haunt him as he picked up a second and became the second St Joseph’s player to see the line.
Then moments before the end, The Rock were reduced to 12 players all in the same action when Thomas McDonald was shown a second yellow with Aaron Dowling receiving a black card and, as he had already picked up a yellow, referee issued his fifth red card of the day.
There were no signs that we would end up with so many red cards in the first half anyway as the game passed by without major incident.
The Rock got the game’s first two points through Aaron Dowling and Thomas McDonald but St Joseph’s hit straight back via Murtagh Condron and Seamus Farrelly.
However, The Rock’s first goal came shortly after as Tom McDonald played a ball in to O’Neill who cut in from the angle and drove a shot into the corner of the net.
St Joseph’s almost had a goal themselves from their next attack but Enda Butler’s shot went wide and although Tommy Knowles did kick two more points for St Joseph’s, they were ten points down at half time.
O’Neill smashed home a second goal after some great work by Aaron Dowling while he, Stephen McDonald and Tom McDonald also landed points to leave The Rock 2-8 to 0-4 ahead at half time.
In between all the red cards, St Joseph’s actually outscored The Rock in the second half by four points to one.
Jason Campion, Murtagh Condron and two Niall Brennan frees was the sum total of their efforts but they needed goals and they didn’t come.
Stephen McDonald was The Rock’s only scorer in the second period but they won’t care as they are safely through to Round 2 winners section.
St Joseph’s will look to regroup in the losers section.
SCORERS – THE ROCK: Sean O’Neill 2-0, Stephen McDonald, Aaron Dowling and Tom McDonald 0-3 each ST JOSEPH’S: Tommy Knowles (one free), Niall Brennan (both frees) and Murtagh Condron 0-2 each, Jason Campion and Seamus Farrelly 0-1 each
THE ROCK: Edward McDonald; Niall Dunne, James McDonald, Robert Byrne; Ciaran Carroll, Kieran Conroy, Conor Flynn; Philip Peake, Rory Doyle; Shane O’Connell, Aaron Dowling, Anavil Storey; Stephen McDonald, Sean O’Neill, Tom McDonald. Subs: Brian Murphy for O’Neill (ht, inj), Sean O’Neill for S McDonald (59)
ST JOSEPH’S: Ray Kealy, Robbie Langton, Paddy Fleming, Mark George; Noel Leech, William McDonald, Oisin Lacey; Jason Campion, Murtagh Condron; Ciaran Ramsbottom, Enda Butler, Stephen McDonald; Seamus Farrelly, Niall Brennan, Tommy Knowles. Subs: Ryan Hogg for S McDonald (ht), James Smith for Knowles (35), James Michael Fleming for Condron (40)
Referee: Thomas Kennedy (Killeshin)