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County Final Memory: Rosenallis beat Mountrath to claim Junior ‘A’ hurling honours in 1986

The Rosenallis team that won the Laois Junior 'A' hurling title in 1986

Rosenallis 3-15 Mountrath 3-6
1986 Laois JHC ‘A’ Final

The current generation of Rosenallis hurlers and footballers have given their supporters plenty to shout about over the past couple of years as they’ve blazed a trail from junior to senior in both codes in an incredible four-year spell. 

But the club had an eventful time right through the 1980s also as they won championships and contested finals in both codes. 

Indeed the club won Junior ‘B’, Junior ‘A’ and Intermediate hurling titles in the decade as they went from the lowest grade to the highest in six years. 

They won the Junior ‘B’ title in the GAA’s centenary year of 1984 when they beat Abbeyleix in the final and many of the same players were on board when they won reached the Junior ‘A’ final two years later in 1986

They beat neighbours Mountmellick in the opening round by 1-7 to 0-3 and then got the better of Trumera in the semi-final on a scoreline of 4-3 to 1-8 in the semi-final. 

On the other side of the draw Mountrath had beaten The Harps and then Timahoe but Rosenallis went into the final as favourites with the Leinster Express preview saying they were “very much a team with marvellous potential”. 

The newspaper preview referenced their Junior ‘B’ final success of two years previously and noted that “they have improved in stature since then”. 

For Mountrath, it was their first final appearance in the grade since they had beaten Cannonswood in 1975 and three of their players were still on board – Liam Williams, Patsy O’Rourke and Mark Tobin. 

For Rosenallis it was a case of no rest for the wicked as many of their players had played in the Junior ‘B’ football final the week previous when they were narrowly beaten by Spink. 

But there was to be no denying them in the hurling final as they turned in a powerful second-half performance to come from behind. 

“Rosenallis staged a powerful second-half resurgence against Mountrath in O’Moore Park to sweep to their first ever Junior hurling championship won on the field of play,” went the opening paragraph in the Leinster Express report the following week. 

“Rosenallis’s only other hurling title in this grade came in 1964 when they were awarded this same title on an objection against Camross. 

“And they earned the Junior ‘A’ with a display of great determination and doggedness reminiscent of a team with strong character.”

Two first-half goals from JJ O’Keeffe helped Mountrath to a 2-4 to 0-7 lead at the break. Tommy Hyland, Pat Keating and Fint Walsh – described in the report as Rosenallis’s best player – all pointed in the opening half for Rosenallis to keep them in touch. 

When Mountrath got the first two points of the second half from Michael O’Hara it was looking good for them, but Rosenallis would soon burst into life and completely dominate the remainder of the game. 

Walsh pointed from a free and then Noel Farrell got a goal after a pass from Eamon Hyland. 

Joe McEvoy then struck for Rosenallis’s second goal to put them into the lead with 20 minutes remaining and they “continued to turn the screw”. 

Noel Farrell, who would finish with 1-4, pointed twice in a row and then Tommy Hyland, Joe McEvoy and Fintan Walsh all added points to leave them 2-13 to 2-6 ahead entering the final quarter. 

Declan Carroll scored from a penalty to bring Mountrath back within four points but it was to be their last score as Fint Walsh, Tommy Redmond and sub John McEvoy all got points before Eamon Hyland got their third goal late on to seal a nine-point win. 

Mountrath would lose the final again in 1988 – this time to neighbours Camross – but came back to defeat Clough-Ballacolla in the 1989 final and then beat Ballinakill in the intermediate final in 1990. 

For Rosenallis, they’d round off the decade by winning the intermediate title in 1989. 

SCORERS – Rosenallis: Fint Walsh 0-6, Joe McEvoy 1-2, Noel Farrell 1-1, Tommy Hyland 0-3, John McEvoy 1-0, Pat Keating 0-2, Tommy Redmond 0-1. Mountrath: JJ O’Keeffe 2-0, Declan Carroll 1-2, John Carroll 0-2, Willie Byrne 0-1, Mick O’Hara 0-1

ROSENALLIS: Charles Farrell; Brendan Egan, Eamon Flanagan, Paddy Dunne; Davy Redmond, Sean McEvoy, Larry O’Loughlin; Fint Walsh, Tommy Hyland; Declan Farrell, Tommy Redmond, Noel Farrell; Eamon Hyland, Joe McEvoy, Pat Keating. Sub: John McEvoy for E Hyland

MOUNTRATH: Padraig Tobin; Willie Bergin, Mick Tobin, Liam Williams; John Farrell, James Kelly, Mark Gorman; Martin Moore, John Carroll; Declan Carroll, Mick O’Hara, Willie Byrne; PJ Gorman, JJ O’Keeffe, Michael Farrell. 

REFEREE: Jimmy Rankins (Ratheniska)

SEE ALSO – Check out more from our County Final Memory series here