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Owens holds his nerve as Emo see off O’Dempsey’s

Jack Owens scored 1-6 for Emo in their Laois SFC win over O'Dempsey's. Picture: Paul Dargan

Emo 2-13 O’Dempsey’s 2-11
Laois Shopping Centre SFC Round 2

Emo are the first team through to the Laois SFC quarter-finals following a thrilling win over neighbours O’Dempsey’s in the LOETB Centre of Excellence in O’Moore Park this evening.

John Strong’s men kicked the last four points with Laois U-20 player Jack Owens scoring the equaliser from a free and then pointing twice in injury time to put them ahead.

In a very entertaining game, the lead changed hands on numerous occasions but Emo were the ones left standing when Des Cooney blew the full time whistle.

It follows on from an impressive opening round win over Killeshin.

O’Dempsey’s, after scoring seven goals in their opening round win over Courtwood, got off to a dream start here and had the ball in the back of the net after less than 20 seconds.

Straight from the throw in Barry Kelly went on one of his customary runs through the heart of the defence before firing past Niall Gorman from close range.

But Emo responded really well. Paul Lawlor (free) and Micheal Finlay swapped points before Jack Owens kicked a lovely point from play and then Padraig Kirwan came up from wing-back to take a pass off Paddy Hosey and slip his shot low to the net.

Lawlor (free) and Conor Meredith exchanged points but Emo got another goal just before the water break. Jack Owens shot again after his initial shot was saved and Paddy Hosey came in at the back post and palmed it in. At that juncture they led 2-3 to 1-2.

Kirwan almost had another goal on the restart but Darren Strong did add a point.

O’Dempsey’s, however, had the better of the second quarter and three points from Matthew Finlay (two frees) and one from Mark Barry. Emo’s only response was a free from Owens but they led 2-5 to 1-7 at the break.

Kirwan pointed straight away for Emo at the start of the second half but O’Dempsey’s then scored 1-2 in quick succession, two point from Matthew Finlay and a well-taken goal from his cousin Micheal.

Emo responded with frees from Lawlor and Owens and the sin-binning of Fionn Holland signalled a downturn in O’Dempsey’s fortunes.

Dan McCormack and Tom Behan pointed either side of a Lawlor free but Emo finished stronger and scored the last four points of the game.

Darren Strong brought it back to one with a slightly disputed score and then Owens got three in a row – two frees and one whopper from play.

O’Dempsey’s pressed hard in the dying stages but Emo held on through the six minutes of injury time and breathed a sigh of relief when veteran Paul Lawlor took the ball of the line with the very last attack.

Emo now go through to the last eight but O’Dempsey’s aren’t out. The will play one of the winners from the Round 2 losers section in two weeks time.

SCORERS – Emo: Jack Owens 0-6 (0-4 frees), Padraig Kirwan 1-1, Paul Lawlor 0-4 (frees), Paddy Hosey 1-0, Darren Strong 0-2 O’Dempsey’s: Matthew Finlay 1-5 (0-3 frees), Micheal Finlay 1-1, Conor Meredith 0-2, Mark Barry 0-1 (free), Tom Behan 0-1, Dan McCormack 0-1

EMO: Niall Gorman; Liam Crowley, James O’Rourke, Sean Greene; Padraig Kirwan, Shane Murphy, Jack Sethright; Finbarr Crowley, Brian Gorman; Cian Langford, Darren Strong, Nigel Murphy; Paddy Hosey, Jack Owens, Paul Lawlor. Sub: Stephen Norton for Gorman (45)

O’DEMPSEY’S: Podge Bannon; Tom Kelly, Shane Nerney, Fionn Holland; Robbie Kehoe, Bryan Meredith, Johnny Kelly; Barry Kelly, Barry Howlin; Tom Behan, Conor Meredith, Matthew Finlay; Mark Barry, Dan McCormack, Micheal Finlay.

REFEREE: Des Cooney (St Joseph’s)

SEE ALSO – Check out all our Laois SFC coverage here

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Steven Miller is owner and managing editor of LaoisToday.ie. From Laois, Steven studied Journalism in DCU and has 14 years experience in the media, almost 10 of those in an editorial role. Husband of Emily, father of William and Lillian, he's happiest when he's telling stories or kicking a point.