Home Gaelic Football Club Football Park-Ratheniska and Portlaoise prevail to set up 2020 junior football final clash...

Park-Ratheniska and Portlaoise prevail to set up 2020 junior football final clash next week

Park-Ratheniska and Portlaoise will meet in the 2020 junior football championship final next Friday night.

The former got the better of Ballyroan-Abbey while the latter had too much for The Heath.

We have reports from both games below:

Park-Ratheniska 3-10 Ballyroan-Abbey 2-6
2020 Junior Football Championship Semi-finals

Park-Ratheniska will meet Portlaoise in the 2020 Junior football championship final as they defeated Ballyroan-Abbey in Timahoe tonight.

Park-Ratheniska got off to the perfect start when Kieran Delaney scored a goal in the opening minute of the game.

Brian Fingleton, James Connolly and Richie Hitchcock worked the ball through the Ballyroan-Abbey defence before they found Delaney on the edge of the box and he blasted it home.

Park-Ratheniska nearly had another goal when Delaney got through on goal again but his effort was saved by Colm Lalor.

Dylan Cuddy then got Ballyroan-Abbey off the mark when he pointed to make it a two point game.

Ballyroan-Abbey continued to press Park-Ratheniska as they dominated for long periods of the first quarter.

However, they were unable to make any in-roads in the scoreline as Park-Ratheniska held firm to see them lead 1-0 to 0-1 at the water break.

The game sprung into life in the final five minutes of the first half. Delaney converted a free for Park-Ratheniska to extend their lead.

James McWey then scored a brace of frees to put two points between the sides 1-2 to 0-3.

Park-Ratheniska’s two corner forwards James Connolly and DJ O’Connell were a constant threat throughout the game and the pair combined for a point with the last kick of the half – 1-3 to 0-3.

Stephen Thompson got the second half underway with a point but Brian Dunne soon replied with one of his own.

Ballyroan-Abbey’s corner back Conaire Gee got in on the action when he scored a fine point from distance.

Park-Ratheniska then began to extend their lead as they scored three points in a row following a brace from Kieran Delaney and one from O’Connell.

Park-Ratheniska scored their second goal of the game moments later. They dispossessed Ballyroan-Abbey and counter attacked at pace through Connolly, Brian Dunne and Delaney before DJ O’Connell slotted the ball home to put eight points between the sides – 2-7 to 0-5.

But Ballyroan-Abbey never gave in as Liam Delaney and Fionn Scully scored two goals in three minutes to make it a two point game with five minutes remaining.

Park-Ratheniska saw the game out though as Kieran Delaney converted two frees in a row before dispatching a penalty into the corner of the net to seal their place in the final.

SCORERS – Park-Ratheniska: Kieran Delaney 2-6 (three frees), DJ O’Connell 1-2 (one free), Brian Dunne and Mark Delaney 0-1 each Ballyroan-Abbey: Liam Delaney 1-0, Fionn Scully 1-0, James McWey 0-2 (frees), Dylan Cuddy, Stephen Thompson, Canaice Gee and Eoghan Whelan 0-1 each

PARK-RATHENISKA: Jamie Downey; Brendan Dowling, Mark Delaney, Brendan Greene; Richie Hitchcock, Colm Brennan, Sean Tierney; Brian Fingleton, Padraig Dunne; Bryan Flanagan, Kieran Delaney, Mark Delaney; James Connolly, Brian Dunne, DJ O’Connell. Subs: Marc Ramsbottom for Fingleton (37), Josh Mulhall for Flanagan (42), Sean Tynan for O’Connell (55), David Brennan for Connolly (62)

BALLYROAN-ABBEY: Colm Lalor; Conaire Gee, Fionnan Mahoney, Eamonn Fitzpatrick; Jamie Bartley, Barry Walsh, Evan McEvoy; Liam Delaney, Alan Burnell; Dylan Cuddy, James McWey, Stephen Thompson; Conor Bergin, Eoghan Whelan, Fionn Scully. Subs: Colin Kinsella for Bergin (42), Mark McDonald

Referee: Eric Ward (Portarlington)

Portlaoise 1-13 The Heath 1-8
2020 Laois JFC ‘A’ Semi-final

Portlaoise got the better of neighbours The Heath this evening in McCann Park in Portarlington to qualify for the delayed 2020 Laois JFC ‘A’ final.

The Town could have won by a lot more as they created up to 10 other goal chances but it was only in the last ten minutes that they finally got some breathing space with a couple of late points.

Former League of Ireland soccer player Chris Mulhall was hugely influential and got on an amount of ball as well as scoring a first-half goal while former senior player Scott Lawless was also to the fore with four fine points from play.

Points from Andrew Dowling and Cathal Duggan put Portlaoise into an early lead but a fine Jake Ratcliffe goal and a long-range point from Danny Hanlon (the Clough-Ballacolla hurler having thrown his lot in with the Heath footballers last year) had The Heath 1-2 to 0-4 up at the water break.

By that stage Portlaoise had already missed a hatful of goal chances but they found the back of the net when Mulhall smashed a close-range effort past JP Nerney.

They continued to create – and miss – a number of chances for more goals but with Lawless, Chris Higgins and Dowling all on the range, they led 1-7 to 1-4 at half time, with a couple of well-struck frees from veteran Eoin Delaney keeping The Heath in touch.

Portlaoise continued to dominate possession for the most part throughout the second half without putting the game away and a bit more cuteness could well have seen The Heath make a real match of it.

But Portlaoise saw it out with Lawless, Cormac Dunne and sub Jo Jo Salmon hitting points in the final quarter to finally settle it.

Portlaoise now go forward to play Park-Ratheniska in the final next week.

SCORERS – Portlaoise: Scott Lawless 0-4, Andrew Dowling 0-3, Chris Mulhall 1-0, Jo Jo Salmon 0-2, Cormac Dunne 0-1, Cathal Duggan 0-1, Martin Staunton 0-1 (free), Chris Higgins 0-1. The Heath: Eoin Delaney 0-3 (frees), Jake Ratcliffe 1-1, Danny Hanlon 0-1, Shane Keane 0-1, Shane Booth 0-1 (free), Dan Hennessy 0-1

PORTLAOISE: Richie Downey; Gary Skehan, Aidan McGovern, Bryan Naughton; Oisin Fitzpatrick, Brian Seale, Gary Whelan; Craig Scully, Chris Higgins; Martin Staunton, Cathal Duggan, Chris Mulhall; Scott Lawless, Andy Dowling, Cormac Dunne. Subs: John Delaney for Skehan (35), Jo Jo Salmon for Dowling (49), Ray Nerney for Fitzpatrick (55)

THE HEATH: JP Nerney; Benny Conroy, Luke Hyland, James Whelan; Jordan Ratcliffe, Gareth O’Brien, Jack Reddy; Seamus Mulhare, Shane Booth; Shane Keane, Aaron Thornton, Dan Hennessy; Jake Ratcliffe, Eoin Delaney, Danny Hanlon. Subs: Mark Phelan for Jordan Ratcliffe (HT), Jordan Walsh for Mulhare (35), Tom Reddy for Hanlon (49), Liam Og Campbell for Phelan (49), Conor Hyland for Jake Ratcliffe (55)

REFEREE: Brendan McCann (Portarlington)

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