Home Sport GAA O’Carroll hits 2-9 as Crettyard come from behind to beat The Rock

O’Carroll hits 2-9 as Crettyard come from behind to beat The Rock

Crettyard

Crettyard 2-12 The Rock 0-15
Laois IFC Round 1

Evan O’Carroll scored 2-9 as Crettyard came from four points down midway through the second half to come back and win an entertaining intermediate championship opener against The Rock in Annanough this evening.

Last year’s beaten finalists fielded only eight of the side that started the 2020 final against Clonaslee as a lengthy injury list, that included county U-20 player Ciaran Burke, left them somewhat from full strength.

But they were a distant second best for three quarters of the game before they took over in the final quarter when they outscored The Rock by 1-7 to 0-3 to win by three points.

The crucial score came with normal time almost up when O’Carroll read a long ball well and the bounce on a hard surface deceived two Rock defenders.

O’Carroll’s first effort was saved by Conor Allen but he gathered the rebound and finished to the net from close range.

The goal put Crettyard into the lead for the first time since the opening minute and they were able to see it out from there.

It was harsh on The Rock, who had played so well for so long, but Crettyard’s strong finish was a credit to them.

The Rock will point to two soft goals as crucial factors in their loss – the first midway through the first half coming after O’Carroll dispossesed Anavil Storey after The Rock defender had stopped to claim a defensive mark. Referee Brendan Hickey deemed that Storey hadn’t properly called the mark though and the goal stood.

Still The Rock kicked the last three scores of the half and they led 0-8 to 1-4 at half time.

While veteran Pa Brennan had opened the scoring for Crettyard, O’Carroll got the remainder of their opening half scores.

The Rock played most of the good football in that period with Stephen McDonald kicking three glorious points from play despite spending ten minutes in the sin bin.

The impressive duo of Aaron Dowling and Shane O’Connell also chipped in with points as did newcomer Evan Dempsey.

By the second water break The Rock were 0-12 to 1-5 up with O’Connell, McDonald, Dowling and Stephen Conroy all pointing. Crettyard’s only response in that spell was a nice O’Carroll score from play off his left.

Buoyed by the introduction of long-serving stalwarts like Cristoir Maher and Ciaran Hosey, as well as Cormac Phelan coming in to shore up the defence, Crettyard began to eat into the lead in the final quarter.

And as well as O’Carroll’s constant threat, Pa Brennan and Pa O’Reilly were also had fine games.

Brennan’s second point and O’Carroll’s latest free cut the gap to two but when centre back Conor Flynn came up to boom over an inspirational point you felt it was The Rock’s evening.

With eight minutes left, O’Carroll added another, again after being fouled himself, and then Maher landed one from distance to leave just one in it.

But again The Rock hit back, Stephen McDonald pointing off his right to restore the two-point margin.

O’Carroll got another free and then gathered a long ball that bounced over two defenders to get his second goal, albeit after seeing his first shot stopped.

Their dander was up at this stage and he kicked two frees, either side of another Dowling point from play, to see them home.

Crettyard now join Mountmellick and Park-Ratheniska in the winners section of Round 2 while The Rock go into the losers draw alongside Arles-Kilcruise and Timahoe.

The fourth game in this competition, between the second-string sides of Portlaoise and O’Dempsey’s, takes place on Saturday evening.

SCORERS – Crettyard: Evan O’Carroll 2-9 (0-6 frees, 0-1 mark), Pa Brennan 0-2, Cristoir Maher 0-1. The Rock: Stephen McDonald 0-5 (one mark), Aaron Dowling 0-4 (one mark, one free), Shane O’Connell 0-2, Conor Flynn, Sean O’Neill, Evan Dempsey and Stephen Conroy 0-1 each

THE ROCK: Conor Allen; Niall Dunne, Brian Conlon, Ben Storey; Victor Oladapu, Conor Flynn, Anavil Storey; Diarmuid Joyce, Sean O’Neill; Evan Dempsey, Stephen Conroy, Wes Bergin; Shane O’Connell, Stephen McDonald, Aaron Dowling. subs: Kieran Conroy for Conlon (injured – 24), Fionn Kirwan for Joyce (48), David Murphy for S Conroy (57)

CRETTYARD: Josh Kelly; Jason Dunne, Sean O’Shea, Michael Jordan; Conor Mulhall, Pierce Nash, Seamus Dowling; Cormac Murphy, Pa O’Reilly; Mark Lyons, Pa Brennan, Michael Nash; Mark Delaney, Evan O’Carroll, Eoin O’Shea. Subs: Brian Brennan for M Nash (injured – 15), Cormac Phelan for Dunne (37), Philip Brennan for B Brennan (injured – 37), Cristoir Maher for Delaney (39), Ciaran Hosey for E O’Shea (injured – 48)

REFEREE: Brendan Hickey (Graiguecullen)

SEE ALSO – Courtwood shock Portlaoise in senior championship opener

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Steven Miller is owner and managing editor of LaoisToday.ie. From Laois, Steven studied Journalism in DCU and has 14 years experience in the media, almost 10 of those in an editorial role. Husband of Emily, father of William and Lillian, he's happiest when he's telling stories or kicking a point.