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The Heath head for relegation battle as goals prove crucial for St Joseph’s

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St Joseph’s 2-10 The Heath 0-12
Laois Shopping Centre SFC Round 2 Qualifier

The Heath are out of this year’s Laois SFC following  and must now battle to preserve their senior status for the third time in four years following a four-point loss to St Joseph’s in O’Moore Park.

The Heath led by three points early in the second half and were playing with the breeze but goals from Aidan Brennan and Adam Campion made the difference as St Joseph’s improved considerably as the game went on to record a deserved win.

With a yellow weather warning in place in many parts of the country, the Laois GAA grounds was only for the die hards with a greasy pitch, a strong wind blowing into the Town End and occasional downpours making life difficult on the two sets of players.

The Heath, who had lost to Portarlington by 12 points in the opening round, made three personnel changes and a heap of positional switches.

But they made a difference and despite playing into the wind, they led by 0-7 to 0-5 at half time.

The long-serving Chris Bergin kicked four of those points, two of them lovely efforts from play from a tight angle after escaping the attention of his former Laois underage team-mate Cathal Fleming.

The Heath’s other first-half scores came from the hard-working Brian Ging, Daithi Carroll and a beautifully-struck free from goalkeeper Joe Walsh.

Brian Daly returned to the Joseph’s team after injury and kicked a couple of good frees while young Josh Lacey was very impressive with two nice points from play. James Kelly kicked the other from a ’45.

Evin Keane stretched The Heath three clear early in the second half but St Joseph’s drew level with the game’s first goal – with their two their half-time subs Noel Garvan and Colin Campion playing a role.

Campion’s shot for a point hit the bar but Garvan gathered the rebound and sent a lovely pass across the square where Aidan Brennan arrived to volley to the net.

Jimmy Nerney replied straight away for The Heath but Jack and Josh Lacey as well as Michael Keogh pointed for Joseph’s  – Keogh’s effort going over after a good team move when a goal could have been on.

But Joseph’s were beginning to get on top and they struck for their second goal in the 45th minute when Adam Campion finished well after great work from Keogh and Josh Lacey.

Joseph’s would only score two more points after that – both from Dylan Doyle – and despite points from Bergin, Joe Walsh (45) and sub Andrew Booth – The Heath couldn’t get the goal they needed and a penalty save from Aaron Cooney on Chris Bergin effectively ended their challenge.

St Joseph’s now go into Round 3 while The Heath will play in the relegation playoffs in two weeks time.

SCORERS –  St Joseph’s: Josh Lacey 0-3, Aidan Brennan and Adam Campion 1-0 each, Brian Daly 0-2 (frees), Dylan Doyle 0-2, Jack Lacey, James Kelly (45) and Michael Keogh 0-1 each. The Heath: Chris Bergin 0-5 (two frees), Joe Walsh 0-2 (one free, one ’45), Jimmy Nerney, Andrew Booth, Daithi Carroll, Evin Keane and Brian Ging 0-1 each.

THE HEATH: Joe Walsh; Mark Dowling, Denis Booth, Alan Whelan; James Phelan, Ciaran Booth, Neil Keane; Shane Forde, Jimmy Nerney; PJ Daly, Daithi Carroll, Dylan Kavanagh; Chris Bergin, Brian Ging, Evin Keane. Subs: Liam Kinsella for Ging (Black Card – 42), Andrew Booth for Daly (47), Gary Roe Smith for N Keane (injured – 55), Aidan Bergin for Phelan (55),Robbie Ging for Kavanagh (55)

ST JOSEPH’S: Aaron Cooney; Aidan Brennan, Cathal Fleming, Tom Dunne; Jack Lacey, James Kelly, Donal Ramsbottom; Adam Campion, Brian Daly; Mikie Dempsey, Dylan Doyle, Bernard Wheatley; Josh Lacey, Conor Kealy, Michael Keogh. Subs: Noel Garvan for Wheatley (HT), Colin Campion for Fleming (HT), Noel Leech for C Campion (black card – 50)

REFEREE: Michael Tarpey (Kilcavan)

SEE ALSO – Check out all our Laois SFC coverage here