Raheen Parish Gaels 2-19 Abbeyleix Gaels 1-16
Laois Shopping Centre U-20 HC Semi-final
The combined forces that make up Raheen Parish Gaels have a first ever ‘A’ final to look forward to after they got the better of Abbeyleix Gaels this morning in the Laois U-20 hurling championship semi-final.
Calling on the clubs of Clonad, Colt, Shanahoe and Trumera, they recovered from a poor start to deservedly book their place in the final with an impressive display.
Coming just five days after they had secured their place in the knockout stages, they once again put in a fine performance and a 2-19 tally in winter hurling – albeit on the almost perfect surface in the LOETB Centre of Excellence – is good going.
Abbeyleix Gaels – with a handful of Ballinakill lads as part of the set up – got off to a dream start when a long ball in from Louis Churchouse went all the way to the net.
Cian O’Shaughnessy added an excellent point moments but Raheen Parish Gaels weren’t rattled.
PJ Daly and Robert Delaney hit nice points from play and though Fionan Mahony hit back with a free – the first of his eight points of the day – Raheen Parish Gaels hit the next three points to draw level, from James Keyes, Paidi McDonald and Paddy Hosey.
The lively Stephen Thompson nudged Abbeyleix back into the lead but Conor Madden and Daly pointed to put Raheen ahead for the first time.
Colm Walsh levelled things up again but Keyes and Hosey responded with frees. Stephen Thompson and Ciaran Byrne pointed either side of another Keyes ’65 but a fine PJ Daly point was followed shortly by a well-taken goal from Dylan Cuddy.
Byrne and Mahony took the sting out of it to bring the gap back to three but a Cuddy point and a Paidi McDonald goal after a nice pass from Nathan Dunne had Raheen Parish Gaels leading by 2-12 to 1-8 at the break. It had been a lively 30 minutes of hurling.
A Paddy Hosey free extended the lead early in the second half but Abbeyleix battled back well by hitting six of the next seven points.
Diarmuid Whelan, in full forward for the second half, got the first of them and then Mahony landed a string of frees.
Only a Paddy Hosey free interrupted Abbeyleix’s dominant spell. Entering the last 10 minutes there was only three between them.
But Raheen Parish Gaels had a bit still left in the tank. Keyes hit two in a row and though Mahony and Gearoid Lynch responded, the last three points went the way of the winners.
Paddy Hosey and Conor Madden both got excellent points and Daly’s fourth from play in injury time ensured a six-point win.
It was a significant triumph for the four small clubs.
A county final appearance awaits.
SCORERS – Raheen Parish Gaels: James Keyes 0-5 (two ‘65s, two frees), Paddy Hosey 0-5 (four frees), PJ Daly 0-4, Paudi McDonald 1-1, Dylan Cuddy 1-1, Conor Madden 0-2, Robert Delaney 0-1. Abbeyleix Gaels: Fionan Mahony 0-8 (seven frees), Louis Churchouse 1-0, Ciaran Byrne 0-2, Stephen Thompson 0-2, Cian O’Shaughnessy 0-1, Colm Walsh 0-1, Diarmuid Whelan 0-1, Gearoid Lynch 0-1
RAHEEN PARISH GAELS: Daragh Hiney; Shane Bowe, Daniel Butler, Gareth O’Brien; Robert Delaney, Fionn Holland, Darren Brennan; Eoghan Brennan, Conor Madden; Paidi McDonald, James Keyes, PJ Daly; Paddy Hosey, Nathan Dunne, Dylan Cuddy. Subs: Gareth O’Neill for D Brennan (40), Enda Mulhall for Dunne (45), Josh Hickey for E Brennan (58), James Whelan for O’Brien (60)
ABBEYLEIX GAELS: Alan Kelly; Eamon Fitzpatrick, JJ Murphy, Eoin Egan; Louis Churchouse, Cathal Doyle, Fionan Mahony; Colm Walsh, Gearoid Lynch; Stephen Thompson, Diarmuid Whelan, Sean Doyle; Cian O’Shaughnessy, Ciaran Byrne, Cathal O’Shaughnessy. Subs: Daniel Sheeran for Kelly (injured – HT), Eoin Simms for C Doyle (injured -HT)
REFEREE: JJ Gorman (Clough-Ballacolla)