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Goals key as Abbeyleix win to set up Harps rematch in minor hurling final

Rathdowney-Errill 3-8 Abbeyleix 4-14
Laois MHC Semi-final

Abbeyleix advanced to the final of the minor hurling championship after a nine point victory over Rathdowney-Errill in front of a huge crowd at the LOETB Centre of Excellence.

The win sets up a repeat of last year’s final against The Harps – and Abbeyleix will be hoping to avenge that defeat.

It was Rathdowney-Errill who made the first mark with a free from Daniel Bowe after four minutes, followed by a neat point from Ben Galvin two minutes later.

Colin Byrne hit Abbeyleix’s first point with a long-range free, before two further points from Shane Bracken and Aaron Hayes put Rathdowney-Errill three in front.

A well-taken point from Sam Quinn followed by another long-range free from Byrne left Rathdowney-Errill ahead by one at the water break, but Abbeyleix took the lead immediately after.

A long-range free from Matthew Gibney dropping short, and falling into Byrne who pulled on it first-time into the net.

Byrne converted his third free of the day to extend his side’s lead to three, and things got even better for him and Abbeyleix a minute later.

A promising-looking Rathdowney-Errill attack stopped with a superb block from Lawson Obular, who played a big part in Ballyroan-Abbey’s victory in the Minor A Football Final on Thursday night. Obular laid off a handpass into Byrne, who sprinted through the defence before finishing past Ben Campion in the Rathdowney-Errill goal.

Bowe pulled one back from a free for Rathdowney-Errill, and they got back to within two shortly after, when James Keegan’s shot was saved by Kyle Mullen, but in came midfielder Ryan Costigan with the follow-up to get his side’s first goal.

Another free from Byrne brought Abbeyleix back to three ahead, but Rathdowney-Errill were back level with the next attack.

Adam Ryan’s shot for point dropping short, but Jacque Dowling was on hand to fire home to make it a level contest again approaching half-time.

But Abbeyleix came back, and from a tight angle, Byrne grabbed his third goal, taking his personal tally to 3-4 to give Abbeyleix a three point lead at half-time.

A point from midfielder Shaun Fitzpatrick, who also featured in Ballyroan-Abbey’s win on Thursday night, extended the gap to four.

Byrne converted another free, followed by two consecutive points from Sam Quinn and another free from Byrne brought Abbeyleix’s lead to eight midway through the second-half.

Bowe pointed another free to bring it back to seven, but two further points from Tally Hassett and Killian Byrne put Abbeyleix nine ahead at the water break.

Rathdowney-Errill showed that a comeback could’ve been on when James Keegan was pulled down through on goal, and Bowe buried the resulting penalty.

But a sublime pass from substitute Odhran Delaney into Fitzpatrick, who finished it to the net for his side’s fourth goal put Abbeyleix nine ahead once again.

Two further points from Hassett and Fitzpatrick extended their lead to eleven, as Hayes and Alex Finane-Campion both pointed for Rathdowney-Errill shortly before full-time.

It ended in a nine point victory for Robbie Quinn’s side, who are back in their second consecutive final.

SCORERS – Rathdowney-Errill: Daniel Bowe 1-3 (three frees, 1-0 penalty), Ryan Costigan 1-0, Jack Dowling 1-0, Aaron Hayes 0-2, Ben Galvin 0-1, Shane Bracken 0-1, Alex Finane Campion 0-1 Abbeyleix: Colin Byrne 3-6 (six frees), Shaun Fitzpatrick 1-2, Sam Quinn 0-3, Tally Hassett 0-2, Killian Byrne 0-1

Rathdowney-Errill: Ben Campion, Richard Thompson, Ross Hancock, Alex Finane Campion, Aaron Hayes, Padraig Rafter, Killian Carroll, Ben Galvin, Ryan Costigan, Adam Ryan, Michael Cleary, Daniel Bowe, Shane Bracken, James Keegan, Jacque Dowling SUBS: Peter Meagher for Dowling, Harry Wynne for Cleary, Sean Delaney for Ryan, Reece Finane Campion for Galvin, Nathan Treacy for Bracken

Abbeyleix: Kyle Mullen, Conor Dooley, Ross Coffey, Conor McWey, Adrian Dunne, Lawson Obular, Matthew Gibney, Davin McEvoy, Shaun Fitzpatrick, Samuel Quinn, Liam Kavanagh, Alan McWey, Killian Byrne, Colin Byrne, Tally Hassett SUBS: Odhran Delaney for Alan McWey, Gavin Kelly for Killian Byrne

REFEREE: Brochan O’Reilly (Portlaoise)

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