The Heath 1-13 Ballyroan-Abbey 1-10
Laois Shopping Centre JFC ‘A’ Quarter-final
The Heath are through to the semi-finals of the Laois JFC after a late flourish saw them edge past Ballyroan Abbey by three points.
In an entertaining game, both teams enjoyed spells of dominance, but The Heath managed to time find one last burst of scoring to seal a place in the last four.
In the early stages, it looked like it was going to be Ballyroan Abbey’s day as they started much the better of the two teams. The impressive Charlie Whelan floated over three frees in the opening ten minutes to see his side take an early lead.
The Heath had wind advantage for the first half but took a while to make it work, and they didn’t register a score until the 11th minute, when the impressive Conor Booth got them up and running. He doubled his, and The Heath’s, tally moments later when curled over a free after a foul on Jack Delaney.
Another young forward for The Heath, Leon Holland, then drew them level with a free of his own, and they were up and running now. Holland followed it up with a point from play, but Charlie Whelan’s fourth free soon had Ballyroan Abbey back on level terms.
Conor Booth and Whelan then traded points as some of the youngest players on the field were showing their full range of abilities, but The Heath took control leading up to half-time. Conor Booth was again instrumental, as he hit two frees either side of a brilliant effort from play off his left foot. That saw The Heath lead 0-8 to 0-5 at the break.
Things got even better for them soon after half-time when Leon Holland was fouled in the area, earning them a penalty. Booth stepped up, and nestled a shot into the bottom corner.
Veteran Ballyroan attacker Noel Delaney replied for the with a point from play, with Leon Holland hitting back for The Heath, and then Ballyroan Abbey hit a purple patch.
Eoin Whelan’s shot for a goal hit the post and rebounded away from danger, before another Whelan free got them back up and running. Things quickly got better when Colin Kinsella punished a mistake in The Heath’s defence with a goal, and they were not back within two.
Scores were getting more scarce now, but Ballyroan Abbey were chipping away at The Heath’s lead, and a Noel Delaney free and a brilliant effort from the left wing by Colm Walsh had them level with two minutes of normal time left.
The momentum appeared to be with Ballyroan Abbey now, but credit to The Heath they steeled themselves in the closing minutes and ground out the win. It started with a point from Conor Booth, and then Leon Holland and Shane Booth added further gloss to the scoreline to cap a three point lead.
SCORERS – The Heath: Conor Booth 1-7 (1-0 pen, 0-3 frees), Leon Holland 0-4 (0-1 free), Shane Booth 0-2. Ballyroan-Abbey: Charlie Whelan 0-7 (0-5 frees), Colin Kinsella 1-0, Noel Delaney 0-2 (0-1 free), Colm Walsh 0-1.
THE HEATH: Billy Hennessy; David Phelan, Conor Fitzpatrick, David Conroy; Seamus O’Connor, Gary Hogan, Jordan Ratcliffe; Seamus Mulhare, David Bigley; Jack Delaney, Conor Booth, Gareth O’Brien; Leon Holland, Shane Booth, Conor Hyland. Subs: Benny Conroy for O’Brien (29 mins to half-time, Blood Sub), Benny Conroy for O’Connor (62 mins).
BALLYROAN-ABBEY: Trevor Phelan; Robert Wall, Jamie Bartley, JJ Murphy; Adam Dunne, Enda Rowland, Colm Walsh; Aaron McEvoy, Eoin Whelan; Diarmuid Conway, Charlie Whelan, Dylan Cuddy; Eoin Egan, Niall Wallace, Colin Kinsella. Subs: Noel Delaney for Wall (half time), John Moran for Egan (42 mins), Gerdy Whelan for Murphy (54 mins), Gary Conroy for E Whelan (62 mins).
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