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Remember the Game: Legendary Laois hurler inspires Rathdowney-Erill to Division 5 success in 2006

Rathdowney Errill celebrate with the trophy after defeating St. Lazarians, Abbeyleix during the ACHL D 5 final at Ratheniska. Picture: Alf Harvey.

Rathdowney-Errill 0-14 Abbeyleix 1-6
2006 ACHL Division 5 Final

This week’s Remember the Game takes us back 15 years to when Rathdowney-Errill faced Abbeyleix in the Division 5 hurling Final in Ratheniska.

This report from the Leinster Express at the time centred heavily on the legendary Rathdowney-Errill hurler Peader Cleary.

He had previously contributed heavily for Laois in the 1985 Leinster Hurling Championship. Wins over Dublin and Wexford saw Laois march to their first Leinster hurling final in thirty four years where they were beaten by Offaly.

21 years later, and approaching his 50th birthday, Cleary came on with ten minutes remaining to give Rathdowney-Errill the edge in this tight affair.

Eddie Brennan led the way for Rathdowney-Errill’s victory as he wracked up an impressive 0-10 on the day.

Brennan’s accuracy from frees in the opening quarter gave Rathdowney-Errill a four point lead – 0-5 to 0-1.

Abbeyleix soon cut the deficit when John Lynch won a ball and bet a couple of defenders before kicking the ball into the back of the net.

Declan Phelan then pointed from close range to level the game as we approach the latter stages of the first half – 1-2 to 0-5.

However, Rathdowney-Erill finished the half with three unanswered from Eddie Brennan, Colm and Brian Meehan to leave three points separating the sides at the break.

Abbeyleix were unable to reduce the deficit to below two points throughout the second half. Points from Brennan and David Guilfoyle maintained Rathdowney-Erril’s tight lead over Abbeyleix.

As we entered the final stages of the half Abbeyleix mustered up some goal chances but due to the heroics of goalkeeper Daniel White, Abbeyleix were denied on several occasions.

The great Peadar is still contributing to hurling in Laois as his son Michael was recently named on the minor hurling panel for 2021.

Check out some Alf Harvey pictures from the game below:

SCORERS – Rathdowney-Errill: Eddie Brennan 0-10, Colm Meehan 0-2, Brian Meehan 0-1, David Guilfoyle 0-1 Abbeyleix: John Lynch 1-0, Dedan Phelan 0-5, Donal Dunne 0-1.

Abbeyleix: Eoin O’Reilly; Anthony Brennan, Dermot Dunne, Muiris Purcell; David Bonham, Pat Gaughan, Jamie Rafter; Gearoid Purcell, Donal Dunne; Pat McAuliffe, Ned O’Keefe, Dedan Phelan; Justin Coffey, Mick Burke, John Lynch. Subs: Tom Lynch for McAuliffe, Brian Bergin for Burke, Joe Ruth for Dunne.

Rathdowney/Errill: Daniel White, Anthony Costigan, Leonard Moore, Kevin Delaney, Andrew Kavanagh, David Guilfoyle, Daniel Bourke, Willie Delaney, Aidan Donovan, Willie Bowe, John Delaney, Colm Meehan, Noel Holland, Brian Meehan, Eddie Brennan. Subs: Peadar Cleary for Holland, Adrian Treacy for  Meehan.

Rathdowney Errill captain Anthony Costigan is presented with the trophy by County Board chairman Brian Allen after defeating St. Lazarians, Abbeyleix during the ACHL D 5 final at Ratheniska.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Colm Meehan, Rathdowney Errill solos through against Tom Lynch, St. Lazarians, Abbeyleix during the ACHL D 5 final at Ratheniska.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Peader Cleary, Rathdowney Errill wins this ball against St. Lazarians, Abbeyleix during the ACHL D 5 final at Ratheniska.
Picture: Alf Harvey.
Rathdowney Errill celebrate with the trophy after defeating St. Lazarians, Abbeyleix during the ACHL D 5 final at Ratheniska.
Picture: Alf Harvey.

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