Graiguecullen 1-14 The Heath 1-10
Senior Football Championship Round 1
Teenager Conor Kelly began life as an adult in fine form as 2020 defeated finalists Graiguecullen saw off The Heath.
The victors built up an early lead in the first half and although The Heath rallied somewhat in the second half, the damage had already been done.
Graiguecullen dominated the opening quarter to build up a five point lead by the water break.
Mark Timmons landed a brace from centre back while teenager Conor Kelly got his senior career off to a flyer with a fine point.
Ciaran Booth got The Heath underway and then Graiguecullen keeper Danny Bolger had to be smart after ten minutes to deny Daithi Carroll from close range and his team countered to see youngster Conor Kelly land his second.
Timmons landed another and so did Kelly before a Brian Byrne free left it 0-7 to 0-1 at the water break.
Graiguecullen didn’t score for the next ten minutes as The Heath hit back through Brian Ging and Daithi Carroll.
But Graiguecullen stepped on the gas again as Kelly landed a brace and keeper Danny Bolger slotted a free.
The Heath finished the half with an Aaron Thornton point but they trailed 0-10 to 0-4 at the interval.
And the gap was nine five minutes into the second half when Conor Kelly’s attempt for a shot dropped short and Luke Hand fisted the ball to the net.
The Heath responded by introducing Robbie Dowling and moving James Phelan into the forwards. He stung the palms of Danny Bolger with a bullet of a shot before following that a few minutes later with a point.
Brian Byrne hit back for Graigue but James Phelan landed a second point and then set up a goal for Liam Kinsella to leave it 1-12 to 1-6 at the second water break.
But the influential Phelan was black carded for a foot trip on Ross Alcock after 50 minutes meaning The Heath would play the majority of the final stages with 14 men.
Brian Byrne edged Graigue seven clear but Cathal Whelan and Ciaran Booth tried to keep The Heath’s resistance going.
Whelan added another with the final kick as Graigue ran out four point winners.
SCORERS – Graiguecullen: Conor Kelly 0-6 (four frees), Mark Timmons 0-3, Luke Hand 1-0, Danny Bolger 0-1 (one free), Brian Byrne 0-3 (one free), Shane O’Neill 0-1 The Heath: Liam Kinsella 1-0, Ciaran Booth 0-2, James Phelan 0-2, Brian Ging 0-1, Daithi Carroll 0-1, Aaron Thornton 0-1, Cathal Whelan 0-2 (one free, one mark), Dylan Kavanagh 0-1
GRAIGUCULLEN: Danny Bolger; Trevor Collins, Ross Alcock, Eoin Alsybury; Danny Alsybury, Mark Timmons, Luke Alsybury; Shane O’Neill, Danny O’Reilly; Conor Kelly, Paul Mulready, Brian Byrne; Luke Hand, Michael Hand, Ross Hennessy. Subs: Martin Doyle for D Alsybury (35, inj), Padraig Murphy for M Hand (52), James Doogue for O’Neill (58), Bobby Doyle for Kelly (62)
THE HEATH: Joe Walshe; Gary Roe Smith, Mark Dowling, Neil Keane; Dylan Kavanagh, Denis Booth, James Phelan; Ciaran Booth, Liam Kinsella; Brian Ging, Conor Booth, Robbie Ging; Aaron Thornton, Andrew Booth, Daithi Carroll. Subs: Robbie Dowling for Booth (33), Cathal Whelan for A Booth (51), Andrew Booth for Ciaran Booth (62, inj)
Referee: Tom Kennedy (Killeshin)