Courtwood 4-14 Arles-Kilcruise 1-11
Laois Shopping Centre Senior Football Championship Round 1
Courtwood marked their return to the top table of Laois football in serious style tonight as Eddie Kinsella’s charges ran out comfortable winners over Arles-Kilcruise this evening.
They kicked 4-14 and all bar one point of it came from play in a very impressive display in their first senior game since 1994.
Goals from Niall Dunne, Luke Doyle, Matt Kelly and Danny Luttrell did the trick as they advanced to the winners section where they will face reigning county champions Portlaoise.
The sides were level after six minutes as Ross Munnelly (2) and Chris Conway saw efforts cancelled out by Niall Dunne (2) and Niall Donoher for Courtwood before they took over.
They scored 1-5 without reply to race into an eight point lead by the midpoint of the half.
Niall Donoher landed another point while Luke Doyle added a brace and Alan Kinsella hit another before we had the game’s first goal.
Sean O’Flynn showed his power and pace to shrug off the attentions of David Conway before unleashing a shot which came back off the upright only to fall into the waiting arms of Matt Kelly who stepped inside Padge Conway before blasting the ball to the net.
Kilcruise replied with two more frees from Conway and Munnelly before Courtwood had the ball in the net once more after 22 minutes.
This time it was all about championship debutant Seth Burns Mooney who galloped forward and found Matt Kelly who punched the ball to Danny Luttrell and he rifled a thunderbolt to the roof of the net.
Ross Munnelly and Matt Kelly traded points before Courtwood had another goal chance when Conor Hogan played in Niall Dunne but this time Kilcruise keeper Ciaran Lawlor made a brilliant save.
Kilcruise brought the half to an end with a Chris Conway free but they trailed 2-9 to 0-7 at the break.
Courtwood extended their lead on the resumption of play through Niall Dunne but Kilcruise got a lifeline with something of a fortuitous goal.
Referee Mick Tarpey initially gave a free against Brendan Conway but then realised he was pointing the wrong way and gave the free to the Kilcruise man.
Courtwood were moving out out of the defence thinking the free was theirs and that gave Kilcruise space which David Conway raced into. He then fisted the ball towards Chris O’Donovan who punched it back across the square where the unfortunate Rob Flynn diverted it into his own net.
Courtwood responded to that set back with a Niall Donoher point and then got their first free of the match after 40 minutes through Luke Doyle to make it 2-12 to 1-7.
They then got their third goal. Cian Doyle did very well to break the ball in midfield to Niall Dunne and he rampaged forward before smashing the ball into the top corner of the net.
And they put the game to bed with 15 minutes to go. Superb pressure from Alan Kinsella saw him rob Antony McElroy of possession and break forward where he unselfishly laid the ball off to Luke Doyle and he buried it in the net to put 13 points between the teams.
Kilcruise were really rattled now but they got just their second and third points from play via Chris O’Donovan and Ross Munnelly but Matt Kelly left 12 in it with ten minutes to play.
Conor Hogan and Ross Munnelly traded points as we entered six minutes of injury time which passed without another score.
Courtwood advance to play Portlaoise while Kilcruise now face Ballylinan in a game where the loser will face a relegation semi final.
SCORERS – ARLES-KILCRUISE: Ross Munnelly 0-7 (five frees), Chris Conway 0-3 (three frees), Chris O’Donovan 0-1 COURTWOOD: Luke Doyle 1-4 (one free), Niall Dunne 1-3, Matt Kelly 1-2, Niall Donoher 0-3, Danny Luttrell 1-0, Alan Kinsella and Conor Hogan 0-1 each
ARLES-KILCRUISE: Ciaran Lawlor; Cialann Mulhall, Padge Conway, Anthony McElroy; Stephen Miller, John P Conway, Conall Brennan; Chris O’Donovan, Kevin Meaney; David Conway, Brendan Conway, PJ Lawlor; Chris Conway, Dylan Waters, Ross Munnelly. Subs: Caomhan Brennan for Waters (36), Dylan Waters for McElroy (59, inj)
COURTWOOD: Matthew Byron; Barry Donnolly, Mark O’Halloran, Colm Wilson; Sean O’Flynn, Rob Flynn, Seth Burns Mooney; Niall Dunne, Conor Hogan; Danny Luttrell, Niall Donoher, Cian Doyle; Matt Kelly, Luke Doyle, Alan Kinsella. Subs: Andrew Flynn for Wilson (42), Rory Doyle for Donoher (59)
Referee: Mick Tarpey (Kilcavan)