Home Sport GAA Walsh leads the way again as Ballylinan book quarter-final place

Walsh leads the way again as Ballylinan book quarter-final place

Larry Kealy

Ballylinan 4-7 Ballyroan-Abbey 1-8
Laois Shopping Centre SFC Round 3

Gary Walsh helped himself to 2-7 and the Kealy brothers, Larry and Liam, got a goal each as Ballylinan booked their place in the Laois SFC quarter-final thanks to an eight-point win over Ballyroan-Abbey in the first game of Sunday’s triple header in MW Hire O’Moore Park.

Mick Lillis’s side played against the breeze in the opening half but they had the lion’s share of the ball against a Ballyroan-Abbey team that once again got plenty of men behind the ball and tried to starve Walsh of possession and space.

Padraig McMahon, making his first appearance of this championship, got Ballyroan off the mark early on with a mark but that was cancelled out when Walsh got a free, Ballylinan’s first score after 11 minutes.

Walsh added one from play moments later and then got on the end of a long ball from Jamie Farrell to shoot past Andrew Bonham for the game’s first goal.

Ballyroan almost had a goal then straight away themselves when Enda McWey hit the butt of the post but at the first water break it was 1-2 to 0-1 to Ballylinan.

Ballylinan hit nine wides in that first half, dropped a handful short and missed a couple of decent goal chances too – one when Bonham saved well on Walsh and the other when Cathail Dunne blazed wide.

But Walsh was needing plenty of attention and he pointed again from play and then from a free after being fouled himself. McMahon pointed from play in between but Ballylinan got that second goal when a Liam Kealy shot couldn’t be kept out. At half time Ballylinan led 2-4 to 0-2.

Ballyroan threw everything at Ballylinan on the restart and though Walsh got two more from play, Diarmuid Whelan had points either side of it and Ballyroan had plenty of ball.

They now were the ones guilty of wastefulness in front of goals but they hit 1-3 in quick succession to get the gap back to three by the water break, 2-6 to 1-6. The goal came in the 40th minute when Shaun Murphy palmed to the net after a ball across the square from Brian Whelan.

But Ballylinan would take control again in the final quarter and goals from Walsh and Larry Kealy made sure of their safe passage through to the last eight.

They will play now Portarlington, Emo, Graiguecullen or Ballyfin in two weeks’ time.

SCORERS – Ballylinan: Gary Walsh 2-7 (0-2 frees), Larry Kealy 1-0, Liam Kealy 1-0,  Ballyroan-Abbey: Diarmuid Whelan 0-3 (two frees), Shaun Murphy 1-0, Padraig McMahon 0-2 (one mark), Brian Whelan 0-2 (one free), Aaron Carroll 0-1,

BALLYLINAN: Podge Walsh; Eric Kenna, Cathal Leonard, Kevin Byrne; Alan Farrell, Seamus Lacey, Cathal Fennessy; Pauraic McEvoy, Jamie Farrell; Liam Kealy, Larry Kealy,  Ciaran Fennessy; Ciaran Farrell; Gary Walsh, Cathail Dunne. Subs: Andy McEvoy for Liam Kealy (48), Luke Phillips for C Farrell (58), John Kealy for Dunne (60)

BALLYROAN-ABBEY: Andrew Bonham; Aaron McEvoy, Adam Dunne, Danny Brennan; Aaron Carroll, Ruairi Dunne, Shaun Murphy; Paudie McDonald, Michael Brennan; Colm Walsh, Cathal Doyle, Jamie Whelan; Padraig McMahon, Enda McWey, Diarmuid Whelan. Subs: Marty Scully for Walsh (18), Brian Whelan for McDonald (HT), Ciaran Byrne for M Brennan (HT), John Rodgers for McWey (46), Charlie Whelan for J Whelan (55)

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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.