Stradbally 1-14 The Heath 0-12
Laois Shopping Centre SFC Relegation Semi-Final
Benny Lawlor was in scintillating form as Stradbally saved themselves from relegation to intermediate by defeating The Heath in O’Moore Park this afternoon.
The corner forward, who was sent off in the Round 2 loss to Emo two weeks ago, made amends with a fine display that saw him score 1-1 and win a number of frees which Tom Shiel and Jody Dillon converted.
The Heath are the only team in the championship who have not scored a goal and that is something that you imagine will have to change if they are to stay up as they looked rather toothless here once again.
The Heath were the better team early on and led by three points with 12 minutes on the clock.
They grabbed the first two points via Chris Bergin frees and although Stradbally levelled the game thanks to Jody Dillon and Jack Deegan, The Heath kicked on again with Bergin and Daithi Carroll pointing to go 0-5 to 0-2 ahead.
The pendulum swung back Stradbally’s way then however as Jody Dillon reeled off three points to level the game after 20 minutes.
Justin Lalor and Chris Bergin traded scores before Carroll regained The Heath’s lead – and then the half finished with four goal chances.
The first fell to Andrew Booth who shot wide and then The Heath had another through Chris Bergin but his effort was saved by Stradbally keeper Wayne Comerford.
Stradbally also had two goal chances and they managed to take one. Benny Lawlor swiveled past Gary Smith and buried a shot low into the corner of the net.
And then right on the stroke of half time, Stradbally were awarded a penalty when Darren Maher was taken down en route to goal by Ciaran Booth.
Jody Dillon stepped up but his shot flew over Joe Walshe’s crossbar for a point instead and Stradbally took a 1-7 to 0-7 lead into half time.
Evin Keane and Tom Shiel swapped scores on the resumption of play before Andrew Booth and Shiel did the same again after 36 minutes to leave Stradbally 1-9 to 0-9 ahead.
The point swapping continued as Bergin and Dillon traded frees before Ciaran Booth cut the deficit to two as we entered the final quarter of the game.
Tom Shiel regained Stradbally’s three point lead after 50 minutes with his third of the afternoon and then put Stradbally 1-12 to 0-11 ahead a minute later.
The Heath pushed for scores but it was Stradbally who got the next one as Benny Lawlor slotted one off his right to put five between them as we entered six minutes of injury time.
The Heath needed goals but all they could manage was a Dylan Kavanagh point as Jody Dillon killed the game with the final kick to seal survival for Stradbally.
As for The Heath, they will have one more chance to save themselves when they face Crettyard in the relegation final in three weeks time.
SCORERS – Stradbally: Jody Dillon 0-7 (0-1 pen, five frees), Benny Lawlor 1-1, Tom Shiel 0-4 (three frees), Jack Deegan 0-1, Justin Lalor 0-1 The Heath: Chris Bergin 0-5 (four frees), Daithi Carroll 0-3, Evin Keane 0-1, Andrew Booth 0-1, Ciaran Booth 0-1, Dylan Kavanagh 0-1
STRADBALLY: Wayne Comerford; Liam Clancy, Eamon Conlon, Colm Clancy; Damien Murphy, Liam Knowles, Kilian Mcgannon; Jack Deegan, Colm Begley; Tom Shiel, Darren Maher, Justin Lalor; Benny Lawlor, Jody Dillon, Eoin Buggie. Subs: Podge Fitzpatrick for C Clancy (22), Jack Langton for Mcgannon (40), John Clancy for Fitzpatrick (43, inj), Greg Ramsbottom for Buggie (46, inj), Jamie Kavanagh for Lalor (65)
THE HEATH: Joe Walshe; Alan Whelan, Mark Dowling, Gary Smith; James Phelan, Denis Booth, Neil Keane; Ciaran Booth, Jimmy Nerney; Brian Ging, Daithi Carroll, Dylan Kavanagh; Evin Keane, Andrew Booth, Chris Bergin. Subs: PJ Daly for Smith (44), Shane Forde for A Booth (46), Liam Kinsella for Nerney (58)
Referee: Clifford Ward (Portarlington)