The Laois Divisional Football Competition got underway with the first of three double headers taking place in the LOETB Centre of Excellence this evening.
The West got the better of 2018 champions the East in the first game while the North defeated last year’s runners-up the South in the second match.
Check out how each of them managed it below:
West 3-14 East 2-13
Laois Divisional Football Competition Round 1
After four successive defeats in 2018, the men from the West have their first ever win in the Laois Divisional Football Competition.
Such was the levels of interest in playing for this team this year, the selectors were forced to run trials last week and they certainly seemed to have unearthed some hidden gems as they ran out four point winners over 2018 champions the East.
Emo have moved over into this side of the county this year but with traditional hurling clubs like Camross and Clough-Ballacolla well represented too for the West, this was a super performance.
Clonaslee’s ex-League of Ireland soccer goalkeeper Niall Corbet had a brilliant year for his club and he carried that form in here as he slotted eight points from frees for the West.
Another ex-League of Ireland player, Garry Comerford, was also on show and he scored 1-3, including the game’s first goal in the opening minute for the East.
That lead was short lived though as Clough-Ballacolla’s Jordan Walsh crashed in for a brilliant goal and then a moment later, he had the ball in the net once again.
Brian Daly replied with a point for the East but the West kicked on from there with Corbet, Shane Murphy, James Moore and Nigel Murphy all on the scoresheet as they went 2-7 to 1-1 ahead with minutes left in the half.
Dylan Doyle re-awoke the East with a brilliant goal after a powerful run and although Corbet hit another free, Michael Keogh brought the half to a close with a point to leave the East trailing 2-8 to 2-2 at half time.
Corbet landed an early free in the second half but the East got the next five points through Comerford, Cathail Dunne and Diarmuid Whelan to leave just two between them after 40 minutes.
Jordan Walsh was denied a hat-trick by East keeper Wayne Comerford but got a point for his troubles before a fine Corbet score from play left them 2-11 to 2-7 ahead with a quarter to play.
Nigel Murphy grabbed another point but the sides were level five minutes later as Diarmuid Whelan, Podge Dunne and Michael Keogh all raised white flags.
It really was anyone’s game now but it was the West who finished the stronger. Corbet took his tally to eight before sub Rob Tyrrell crashed home a goal to give them a cushion to hold onto in injury time.
Alan Farrell reduced the arrears to a goal and then the East had a chance to draw level but Michael Keogh’s half volley forced Eoghan Keogh into a brilliant save.
And the West made the game safe through Shane Murphy with the final kick to claim a first ever win.
SCORERS – EAST: Garry Comerford 1-3 (one free), Diarmuid Whelan 0-5 (three frees), Dylan Doyle 1-0, Michael Keogh 0-2, Cathail Dunne 0-1, Brian Daly 0-1, Podge Dunne 0-1 WEST: Jordan Walsh 2-1, Niall Corbet 0-8 (six frees), Rob Tyrrell 1-0, Nigel Murphy 0-2, Shane Murphy 0-2, James Moore 0-1
EAST: Aaron Cooney (St Joseph’s); Jimmy O’Connor (Timahoe), Gavin Tynan (Ballyroan-Abbey), Aaron Carroll (Ballyroan-Abbey); Marty Scully (Ballyroan-Abbey), Eoin Buggie (Stradbally), Alan Farrell (Ballylinan); Brian Daly (St Joseph’s), Jack Deegan (Stradbally); Ciaran Farrell (Ballylinan), Dylan Doyle (St Joseph’s), Garry Comerford (Stradbally); Cathail Dunne (Ballylinan), Michael Keogh (St Joseph’s), Diarmuid Whelan (Ballyroan-Abbey). Subs: Richie Hitchcock (Park-Ratheniska), Kevin Byrne (Ballylinan), Cathal Doyle (Ballyroan-Abbey), Podge Dunne (Park-Ratheniska), Wayne Comerford (Stradbally), Jamie Farrell (Ballylinan), Liam Knowles (Stradbally), Josh Lacey (St Joseph’s)
WEST: Eoin Keogh (Mountmellick); Dwane Palmer (Camross), James O’Rourke (Emo), Jack Owens (Clonaslee); Darragh Connolly (Ballyfin), Brian Gorman (Emo), Shane Murphy (Emo); Colm Coss (Mountmellick), James Moore (Ballyfin); Niall Corbet (Clonaslee), Nigel Murphy (Emo), Joey Shelly (Rosenallis); Jordan Walsh (Clough-Ballacolla), Sean O’Neill (The Rock), Jack Priestley (Ballyfin). Subs: George Lanham (Ballyfin), Adam McDermott (Rosenallis), Rob Tyrrell (Camross), Robert Downey (Clonaslee)
Referee: JJ Kirby (The Heath)
North 3-11 South 0-17
Laois Divisional Competition Round 1
Goals win games and that was certainly the case here as the North edged out the South in the second of tonight’s games.
Annanough’s Damien McCaul, O’Dempsey’s Barry Kelly and Courtwood’s Sean O’Flynn all raised green flags for the men from the North of the county as they claimed a three point win over 2018 runners-up the South.
The sides were level four times in the opening twenty minutes before a ball broke kindly for McCaul on the 21 and he raised clear to beat Darragh Phelan with a neat finish.
The South responded well though as points from Conor Keightley, Cormac Murphy and Paul Kingston drew them level as we entered the final few minutes of the half.
McCaul and Keightley swapped points before the North struck for their second goal when a brilliant run by Alan Whelan set up Barry Kelly who cracked a shot in off the underside of the bar to leave them 2-5 to 0-8 clear.
The sides traded points in the opening period of the second half with Jake Foster and Mark Barry seeing efforts for the North cancelled out by David Aston and Emmett Malone for the South before the latter went on a run that saw them take the lead after 45 minutes.
Cormac Murphy, Sean O’Shea, Paul Kingston and sub Paul Simms all pointed to move them into a 0-14 to 2-7 lead.
The North responded through Jake Foster, Barry Kelly and Paddy O’Sullivan to regain the lead but Paul Simms and Conor Keightley regained parity with a couple of minutes to play.
The South had three chances to regain the lead but Malone, Simms and Kingston all miscued their efforts and they were made to pay as the game entered injury time.
North sub Sean O’Flynn fed Damien McCaul and then galloped towards goal where he got on the end of a lovely ball by the latter to punch in his side’s third goal.
David Aston replied for the South but James Moore made the win safe and they now join the West at the top of the table after Round 1.
SCORERS – NORTH: Damien McCaul 1-1, Barry Kelly 1-1, Sean O’Flynn 1-0, Jason Moore 0-2, Paddy O’Sullivan 0-2, Jimmy Nerney 0-1, Danny Luttrell 0-1, Jake Foster 0-2, Mark Barry 0-1 SOUTH: Paul Kingston 0-3, Cormac Murphy 0-3, David Aston 0-2 (one free), Brian Byrne 0-1, Sean O’Shea 0-2, James Brennan 0-1, Conor Keightley 0-2, Emmett Malone 0-1, Paul Simms 0-2
NORTH: Scott Osbourne (Portarlington); Alan Whelan (The Heath), Mark O’Halloran (Courtwood), Cormac O’Hora (O’Dempsey’s); Jimmy Nerney (The Heath), Ciaran Booth (The Heath), Conor Hogan (Courtwood); Danny Luttrell (Courtwood), Paddy O’Sullivan (Portarlington); Mark Barry (O’Dempsey’s), Jason Moore (Portarlington), Barry Kelly (O’Dempsey’s); Jake Foster (Portarlington), Luke Doyle (Courtwood), Damien McCaul (Annanough). Subs: Killian Horgan (Annanough), Conor Donlon (Annanough), Sean O’Flynn (Courtwood), Dylan Kavanagh (The Heath)
SOUTH: Darragh Phelan (Barrowhouse); Luke Alsybury (Graiguecullen), Martin Doyle (Graiguecullen), Cialann Mulhall (Arles-Kilcruise); Podge Lawlor (Spink), David Aston (Killeshin), Conor Mulhall (Crettyard); Pa Reilly (Crettyard), Emmett Malone (Barrowhouse); Brian Byrne (Graiguecullen), Paul Kingston (Arles-Killeen), Sean O’Shea (Arles-Killeen); Cormac Murphy (Crettyard), Conor Keightley (Arles-Killeen), James Brennan (Barrowhouse). Subs: Paul Simms (Spink), Luke Malone (Barrowhouse)
Referee: Des Cooney (St Joseph’s)