Abbeyleix 1-21 Castletown 1-12
Laois Shopping Centre SHC Round 1
Abbeyleix ended up in a relegation final last year after losing all of their group games – but they have given themselves a great chance of doing much more this year after this fine win.
Lorcan Mahoney’s charges were comprehensive nine point winners over a Castletown side who had to play 35 minutes with 14 men.
Centre forward Joe McCormack was dismissed in the first half but Castletown were already trailing but seven points at that stage and actually played better despite the numerical disadvantage.
Abbeyleix started this game like a train and found themselves 0-9 to 0-3 up after 13 minutes.
Brendan Reddin and Dylan Conroy were Castletown’s only scorers in that period as Eoghan Fennelly, Eoin Reilly and teenagers Ciaran Byrne and Fionan Mahoney, the latter of whom was making his debut, all scored.
They were rocked then when from nothing a ball broke to Dylan Conroy who surged away from the Abbeyleix defence and laid the ball off to Conor Phelan who rattled the net.
But Abbeyleix recovered with points from Fennelly to take a 0-11 to 1-3 lead at the water break.
Dylan Conroy cut the gap with a free but Ciaran Byrne and Fionan Mahoney pushed Abbeyleix 0-13 to 1-3 ahead before Castletown were reduced to 14 men after 25 minutes.
Centre forward Joe McCormack won a free but then got into a scuffle with Ryan Peacock where he appeared to pull his helmet off. Referee Padraig Dunne showed Peacock a yellow and then McCormack a red card.
But Castletown responded excellently to that set back and got the final five points of the half through Dylan Conroy, Ryan Mullaney and Shane Phelan to leave it 0-13 to 1-8 at half time.
Abbeyleix began the second half well with points from Eoghan Fennelly and Enda Rowland (2).
Castletown replied through Dylan Conroy and Martin Phelan but Abbeyleix went 0-19 to 1-10 ahead after 45 minutes thanks to Eoghan Fennelly, Liam Delaney and Ciaran Carroll.
The water break came three minutes later than usual in the second half but just before, Eoghan Fennelly curled over a sideline cut to put Abbeyleix 0-20 to 1-11 ahead.
Dylan Conroy cut the gap to five but the game was over after 58 minutes when an Enda Rowland puck-out found Ciaran Byrne and he picked out the bottom corner of the Castletown net.
The game largely petered out after that and Abbeyleix sit top of the group on two points with Clough-Ballacolla and Rathdowney-Errill in second on a point each.
SCORERS – Abbeyleix: Eoghan Fennelly 0-10 (seven frees), Ciaran Byrne 1-2, Eoin Reilly 0-2, Fionan Mahoney 0-2, Barry Walsh 0-1, Enda Rowland 0-2 (two frees), Liam Delaney 0-1, Ciaran Carroll 0-1 Castletown: Dylan Conroy 0-7 (five frees), Brendan Reddin 0-2, Conor Phelan 1-0, Ryan Mullaney 0-1 (one free), Shane Phelan 0-1, Martin Phelan 0-1
ABBEYLEIX: Enda Rowland; Aaron Carroll, Oisin Carroll, Barry Walsh; Declan Phelan, Ryan Peacock, Jake Cranny; Fionan Mahoney, Liam Delaney; Eoin Reilly, Ciaran Carroll, Eoghan Fennelly; Rory McEvoy, Steven Reilly, Ciaran Byrne Subs: Aaron Brennan for McEvoy (6, inj), David Bonham for S Reilly (62)
CASTLETOWN: John Paul Bennett; Martin Reddin, Eoin Peters, Evan Cuddy; John Gaughan, Ryan Mullaney, Shane Phelan; Brendan Reddin, Tadhg Cuddy; Dylan Conroy, Joe McCormack, Joe Phelan; Aaron Gaughan, Martin Phelan, Conor Phelan. Ger Reddin for Gaughan (ht)
REFEREE: Padraig Dunne (Colt)