Park-Ratheniska 4-16 Timahoe 1-8
Laois IFC Round 1
Not since the late 1990s had Park-Ratheniska and Timahoe done battle in championship football – and God knows how far back you have to go for the last Park win.
But they marked their return to the intermediate grade in considerable style this evening as they romped to a massive 17-point win over their near neighbours.
Having only won the 2020 junior final back in late June, Park arrived into this game full of confidence for what was their first intermediate game in seven years.
But they looked every bit a team that will be in contention to go senior with a hugely impressive performance from first minute to last.
From the moment Jimmy Langton came up from wing-back to swing over a lovely point from play after less than a minute they always looked the better side. They were nine points up at the first water break, ten points up at half time and 15 at the second water break.
Dominant throughout, the excellent James Connolly kicked eight points and danced around the Timahoe defence all evening while Brian Dunne finished with 3-1 and was a constant threat also.
It was an evening when very little went right for Timahoe – they hit the crossbar twice and missed at least two other goal chances too – but Park were on a different level.
After Langton got them off the mark early on, Connolly doubled their lead soon after from a free and Kieran Delaney added a free too before Connolly got his second.
Joe O’Connor swung one over off his left to get Timahoe off the mark but two Park-Ratheniska goals in the space of three minutes had them 2-4 to 0-1 ahead the first waterbreak.
The first came after Sean Tynan, who caused Timahoe all sorts of problems, passed across the square and the ball ended up in the net, by our reckoning it was an own goal.
Brian Dunne then got the first of his three and Park were buzzing.
Mark O’Connell and Colm Dunne (free) ensured Timahoe got the first two scores after the break but Bryan Flanagan, Kieran Delaney (free) and James Connolly all pointed to make it 2-7 to 0-3 at half time.
As they had done after the water break, Timahoe got the first two scores of the second half too, from a Colm Dunne free and Geoff Kennedy from play.
But they could never sustain it and Connolly got two great points (one of them after he jinked in and out of several attempted tackles) either side of Dunne’s second goal – again after great build up play from Tynan.
Dunne then added a point, as did Flanagan before Colm Dunne and Connolly swapped points. At the second water break it was 3-12 to 0-6.
Connolly added yet another on the restart before a Martin Bergin goaled off a pass from Brendan Quigley. Quigley did cause problems for Park at full-forward and they deserved a goal after creating a handful of chances but it was never going to make any real difference.
Colm Dunne and Padraig Kelly added late points but Simon Fingleton drilled over a nice point from play before Brian Dunne smashed home his third goal and Connolly rounded off the evening by adding his eighth point.
Park-Ratheniska now go into the winners section of Round 2, while Timahoe will play one of the other Round 1 losers and could yet end up in a relegation playoff, as they have done in each of the past two seasons.
The intermediate action continues tomorrow evening with the meeting of Arles-Kilcruise and Mountmellick and Crettyard v The Rock.
But for now Park-Ratheniska have hit the ground running and the championship stretches out in front of Kieran Kelly’s men.
SCORERS – Park-Ratheniska: Brian Dunne 3-1, James Connolly 0-8 (six frees), own goal 1-0, Bryan Flanagan 0-2, Kieran Delaney 0-2 (frees), Jimmy Langton 0-1, Mark G Delaney 0-1, Simon Fingleton 0-1 Timahoe: Colm Dunne 0-4 (three frees), Martin Bergin 1-0, Joe O’Connor 0-1, Geoff Kennedy 0-1, Mark O’Connell 0-1, Padraig Kelly 0-1
PARK-RATHENISKA: Jamie Downey; Josh Mulhall, Benny Greene, Mark Delaney, ; Richie Hitchcock, Colm Brennan, Jimmy Langton; Podge Dunne, Simon Fingleton; Sean Tierney, Kieran Delaney, Bryan Flanagan; James Connolly, Sean Tynan, Brian Dunne: Subs: Mark G Delany for P Dunne (39), Marc Ramsbottom for Langton (52) and Benny Dowling for Flanagan (56)
TIMAHOE: Eoin Culliton; Jimmy Whelehan, Andy Daly, Graham Devitt; Michael Kennedy, Jimmy O’Connor, Conor Whelehan; Sean Ramsbottom, Geoff Kennedy; Colm Lalor, Joe O’Connor, Damien O’Connor; Mark O’Connell, Brendan Quigley, Colm Dunne. Subs: Daire McDonald for O’Connell (41), Martin Bergin for O’Connor (46), Padraig Kelly for Lalor (46), Micheal Kerr for G Kennedy (52)
REFEREE: Michael Tarpey (Kilcavan)