Home Gaelic Football Club Football Brilliant Byrne stars for Graigue while Kelly’s late goal crucial for Na...

Brilliant Byrne stars for Graigue while Kelly’s late goal crucial for Na Fianna Og Minor finalists decided

Graiguecullen Laois MFC 2021
Graiguecullen Laois MFC 2021

Graiguecullen 0-18 Portlaoise 3-3 
Laois Minor ‘A’ Football Championship Semi Final 

Jack Byrne was the star of the show in Rathleague this afternoon as Graiguecullen reached their first minor final since 2015.

He fired over nine points as this group of players scored their first ever win over Portlaoise.

U-13 and U-15 championships have been won by Portlaoise with final victories over Graiguecullen – but they exacted revenge today.

Portlaoise got off to a flying start as Kieran O’Donnell converted a penalty and kicked a point.

Graiguecullen kept in it with two Jamie Murphy points and a first for Byrne but they trailed 1-1 to 0-3 at the first water break.

Conor Harte and Byrne put Graiguecullen ahead on the resumption but O’Donnell soon had his second goal when he raced clear to rattle the net again.

But Graiguecullen refused to give in as Byrne, Roycroft, Harte and John O’Shea all pointed to leave them 0-9 to 2-1 ahead at half time.

Jack Byrne and O’Donnell traded efforts on the resumption but Graiguecullen were rocked in the 37th minute by conceding a penalty and being reduced to 14 men.

Scott Roycroft fouled O’Donnell as he headed for goal. Referee McCann showed him a black card and O’Donnell completed his hat-trick from the spot.

Despite being a man light, Graiguecullen outscored Portlaoise by five points to one in the time that remained.

Harte and O’Donnell traded efforts before the excellent Jack Byrne swung over four unanswered scores to leave it 0-15 to 3-3 at the second water break.

Graiguecullen dominated the remainder of the game with points from Roycroft, Byrne and Jamie Murphy to run out convincing winners.

SCORERS – Graiguecullen: Jack Byrne 0-9 (three frees), Jamie Murphy (one free) and Conor Harte (one free) 0-3 each, Scott Roycroft 0-2, John O’Shea (free) Portlaoise: Kieran O’Donnell 3-3 (2-0 pen, one free)

Graiguecullen: Cody Tucker; Danny McGrath, Sean McGrath, Emmanuel Del Amedia; Naoise Brennan, Mikee Horohan, Aaron Dorgan; Jamao Salvador, John O’Shea; Scott Roycroft, Jack Byrne, Conor Harte; Harry Forbes, Jamie Murphy, Aaron Scully

Portlaoise: Cian O’Gorman; Conor Ging, Sean O’Sullivan, Matthew Walsh; Conor Raggett, James Conroy, Dylan Cahill; Conor Brown, Colin McEvoy; Sean Devitt, Jamie O’Callaghan, Paul Flanagan; Tadhg O’Dwyer, Kieran O’Donnell, David Harrington. Subs: Paddy Reddin for Flanagan (ht)

Referee: Brendan McCann (Portlaoise)

Na Fianna Og 2-6 St Joseph’s 1-8
Laois Minor ‘A’ Football Championship Semi Final 

Na Fianna Og, an amalgamation of Arles-Killeen, Arles-Kilcruise, Barrowhouse and Crettyard, qualified for the Minor ‘A’ final in dramatic circumstances this afternoon.

This game was close throughout and was only decided in the final stages.

The sides were level at 1-4 apiece at the first water break and still deadlocked 1-6 each at half time.

In the end, a fantastic run by Sean Phelan resulted in Jonah Kelly sweeping in to score the match winning goal.

They will face Graiguecullen in the final in the coming weeks.

SEE ALSO – Clough-Ballacolla show their class to record comfortable win over Rosenallis

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.