Rathdowney-Errill 2-14 Rosenallis 1-16
Laois SHC Quarter-final
Rathdowney-Errill are through to the Laois SHC semi-finals after a narrow win over Rosenallis this afternoon but the win was overshadowed by another serious-looking injury picked up by star forward Mark Kavanagh.
Making his first championship appearance of the year, Kavanagh was looking sharp and fit and had 1-2 to his name when he went down in the 38th minute in obvious pain.
Having been cursed by injury through his career so far, you feared the worst when he went down again and the warm applause from the crowd as he was helped from the field was for a very popular young man who has suffered far too much in recent years.
In what was the first ever senior championship match between the sides, there was little to choose between them for long spells with Rathdowney-Errill’s goals – straight after half time and straight after second water break – crucial.
John Maher again played in the sweeper’s role for Rosenallis, freeing John Purcell to do the same at the other end.
Rathdowney-Errill were able to call on Mark Kavanagh and Joe Fitzpatrick to make their first starts of this championship though they were again without the injured Ross King.
For Rosenallis, again starting without county man John Lennon, Paddy Keating was heavily bandaged on his right leg but he was arguably the best player on the field in the opening half, hitting five points and causing plenty of problems with his direct running. His prominence forced Rathdowney-Errill to switch Joe Fitzpatrick across on to him but his fifth score in the 22nd minute had them 0-8 to 0-7 ahead.
John O’Loughlin with two and Fiachra C-Fennell with one were also on target for Rosenallis in that opening half but they were left to rue 10 wides in the first 30 minutes.
Rathdowney-Errill, who had led 0-6 to 0-5 at the first water break, then got the last three points of the half – from James Ryan, Paddy McCane and a Dylan Carroll free, to go in 0-10 to 0-8 up at half time.
Indeed a feature of Rathdowney-Errill’s first half was that they’d eight different scorers – with Paddy Purcell, Liam O’Connell, Jack Kelly, Kavanagh and Joe Fitzpatrick all on target too.
Rathdowney-Errill struck for the game’s crucial score a minute into the second half when Mark Kavanagh won a long ball and showed the Rosenallis defence a clean pair of heels before firing past Stephen Kelly. He added a sideline cut shortly afterwards but his next main involvement was when he went down with another serious looking knee injury.
The applause from the crowd was warm as Kavanagh made his way off and Rosenallis made a brief comeback with three points in a row from John Lennon, Fiachra C-Fennell and another Paddy Keating free but by the time the second water break arrived Rathdowney-Errill were 1-13 to 0-11 clear thanks to points from James Ryan and a Liam O’Connell ’65.
Rathdowney-Errill got their second goal straight after the water break when Dylan Carroll pounced but to Rosenallis’s credit, they battled bravely on.
They responded with three points – from Keating, O’Loughlin and Donagh Callally – but they had left themselves with too much to do. Sub David Poynton responded for Rathdowney-Errill but John Maher and Brian Fitzpatrick got points for Rosenallis to bring it back to one.
Fitzpatrick then got a goal to reduce the gap to one but that was in the fifth minute of injury time and it was the last act of the game.
Rathdowney-Errill held on.
SCORERS – Rathdowney-Errill: Dylan Carroll 1-3 (0-2 frees), Mark Kavanagh 1-2 (0-1 Liam O’Connell 0-2 (one free, one ’65), James Ryan 0-2, Joe Fitzpatrick 0-1, Paddy McCane 0-1, Paddy Purcell 0-1, Jack Kelly 0-1, David Poynton 0-1. Rosenallis: Paddy Keating 0-7 (three frees, one ’65), Brian Fitzpatrick 1-1, John O’Loughlin 0-3, Fiachra C-Fennell 0-2, John Lennon 0-1, Donagh Callally 0-1, John Maher 0-1
RATHDOWNEY-ERRILL: Damian Madden; John Purcell, Kevin O’Dea, Jimmy Corrigan; Joe Fitzpatrick, Liam O’Connell, Eric Killeen; Paddy Purcell, Jack Kelly; James Ryan, Dylan Carroll, Darren King; Paddy McCane, Mark Kavanagh, Shane Madden. Subs: Brandon McGinley for S Madden (HT), Padraig Rafter for Kavanagh (injured – 38), David Poynton for Killeen (60), John Keane for Carroll (60)
ROSENALLIS: Stephen Kelly; Joe Shelly, Marcus Redmond, Ruaidhri C-Fennell; Tomas Keating, Cathal C-Fennell, Matthew Bennett; Fiachra C-Fennell, David Dooley; Paddy Keating, John O’Loughlin, John Maher; Charlie Friel, Brian Fitzpatrick, Donnagh Callally. Subs: John Lennon for Bennett (30), Alex Marron for Redmond (injured – 46), Jack Conroy for Friel (48)
REFEREE: Alan Doheny (Castletown)