Home Sport GAA Munnelly leads the way as Arles-Kilcruise book their place in IFC semi-final

Munnelly leads the way as Arles-Kilcruise book their place in IFC semi-final

Ross Munnelly
Ross Munnelly

Arles-Kilcruise 2-11 Crettyard 2-6
Laois IFC Quarter-final

Ross Munnelly scored 1-7 as Arles-Kilcruise got the better of their neighbours Crettyard this evening in Annanough to book their place in this year’s Laois IFC semi-final.

The meeting of the last two relegated sides from senior was always going to be an interesting clash but an assured second-half display from Arles-Kilcruise helped them through.

Kilcruise had looked good after the opening quarter when they led 1-4 to 0-1 at the first water break – but two goals in as many minutes for Crettyard helped them to a 2-4 to 1-5 lead at the break.

Cretty would have the benefit of the tricky wind in the second half and it seemed Kilcruise’s task was made more difficult when Colm Munnelly picked up a yellow card on the stroke of half time, a far from ideal scenario given that he had been tasked with the job of keeping tabs on Evan O’Carroll.

But they switched Kevin Meaney back to full-back to mark O’Carroll and took over out the field for the second half. Crettyard could only muster two second-half points and that was never going to be enough.

Early points from play from Munnelly and David Conway put Kilcruise into an early lead and while O’Carroll hit back with a free, it was cancelled out by Munnelly at the other end and then Diarmuid Nolan got the game’s first goal after a powerful run from Caomhan Brennan and good flick on by Conway.

A David Conway mark then had Kilcruise 1-4 to 0-1 up at the first water break.

But that six-point lead was wiped out in a matter of minutes. First Evan O’Carroll fired an absolute bullet of a shot to the top corner and then Cristoir Maher drilled home a penalty after Colm Munnelly’s goal line clearance saw him handle the ball on the ground.

With the momentum completely changed, Kilcruise could barely get the ball up the field in that second quarter and while Munnelly did land one badly-needed point from distance, three O’Carroll points  (two frees) left Crettyard leading by two at half time.

Colm Munnelly’s booking ended his battle with O’Carroll but Meaney was an obvious alternative as Mark Wall went to midfield. Kilcruise also pushed Conal Brennan to the half-back line and PJ Lawlor to the half-forward line following the introduction of Sean Meaney and the switches served them well.

Three Munnelly points in a row put them ahead and while O’Carroll levelled things up again with a free, Conall Brennan came up to point to give Kilcruise the lead once more, 1-9 to 2-5, at the water break.

And Munnelly got his goal early in the final quarter when his shot dropped into the net. Whether he was going for a goal or not was immaterial. Suddenly there were four up.

Conway and Munnelly added frees to stretch the lead to six and Crettyard’s only response was a late free from O’Carroll.

The loss brings a disappointing season to an end for Crettyard, who reached last year’s final in some style before going down to Clonaslee.

But Kilcruise march on to a semi-final against either Mountmellick or Park-Ratheniska in two weeks time.

Timahoe and O’Dempsey’s meet in the other semi-final tomorrow evening.

SCORERS – Arles-Kilcruise: Ross Munnelly 1-7 (0-4 frees), David Conway 0-3 (one free, one mark), Diarmuid Nolan 1-0, Conal Brennan 0-1. Crettyard: Evan O’Carroll 1-6 (0-5 frees), Cristoir Maher 1-0 (penalty)

ARLES-KILCRUISE: Jamie Coogan; Conal Brennan, Mark Wall, Cialann Mulhall; PJ Lawlor, Colm Munnelly, Shane Creed; Alan McLoughlin, Kevin Meaney; Fran Egan, Caomhan Brennan, Patrick Feeney; Ross Munnelly, David Conway, Diarmuid Nolan. Subs: Sean Meaney for Feeney (35), Kevin O’Neill for Creed (47), Liam Whelan for Caomhan Brennan (58), Aaron Moore for Conway (61)

CRETTYARD: Eoin O’Shea; Pierce Nash, Sean O’Shea, Conor Mulhall; Cormac Murphy. Pa Brennan, Michael Jordan; James Brennan, Pa O’Reilly; Niall Purcell, Evan O’Carroll, Seamus Dowling; Michael Nash, Cristoir Maher, Philip Brennan. Subs: Ciaran Hosey for S O’Shea (injured – 15), Mark Lyons for Jordan (43), Jason Dunne for P Nash (58)

REFEREE: John Flynn (The Rock)

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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.