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Ballyfin do enough to hold off Camross and book Premier IHC final place

The new fixtures for the hurling championships are here

Ballyfin 2-19 Camross 3-13
Laois Premier IHC

Ballyfin are through to the Laois Premier IHC final following a hard-earned three-point win over Camross in trying conditions in O’Moore Park this afternoon.

With a strong breeze blowing straight down the field towards the town end, Ballyfin played with the elements in the opening half but they took a while to make use of the advantage.

Though they got the first two points from Eanna Lyons and Gareth Dunphy, they were quickly cancelled out by Darrell Dooley and the first of Dan Delaney’s frees.

Ballyfin then hit three on the trot – from Dunphy (free), Lyons and Gary Hoffmeister – but a Daniel Delaney free ended that sequence and the same player did well to set up a goal for Tomas Keyes with the next attack.

At the water break Camross led 1-3 to 0-5 and Ballyfin had seven wides clocked up already.

They were more efficient in front of goal in the second quarter when they outscored Camross by eight points to two. Dunphy got four placed balls and one lovely effort from play while Richie Downey, Eanna Lyons and Darragh and David Connolly also hit one each from play.

Camross’s only scores in this period both came from Daniel Delaney – one a free and the other from play coming up to half time. At the break it was 0-13 to 1-5 to Ballyfin and a buffer that you felt was needed given the wind.

And Camross duly came out fighting in the second half. Eamon Duff initially put Ballyfin six up but the lively Tomas Keyes cancelled that out and then Darrell Dooley saw a long-range effort go all the way to the net.

But in an eventful minute of play, Ballyfin got a goal with the very next attack, Gareth Dunphy setting up Gary Hoffmeister for a well-taken goal.

But Camross got the next three points – frees from Daniel Delaney and Eoin Dowling and then Matthew Collier with a good score from play – only for Dunphy to respond with a much needed free for Ballyfin.

Again Camross got the next three points though, from Keyes and two from Delaney had it level in the 45th minute. A Dunphy free, however, had Ballyfin 1-16 to 2-12 up at the second water break.

The game’s crucial score came on the resumption, Darragh Connolly capitalising after Camross failed to clear the lines and he smashed a brilliant shot past Cillian Tiernan.

Though Daniel Delaney replied with another free, Ballyfin kicked on for home, helped by Camross being reduced to 14 after Dean Delaney was given a straight red card for a wild pull on Kevin O’Rourke.

Darragh Connolly caused all sorts of problems when he went in full-forward and he hit two points from play and Eamonn Duff got one.

Tomas Keyes blasted a late free to the net for Camross but it was too late to make any difference and Ballyfin go on to play Ballinakill or Portlaoise in the final in two weeks time.

SCORERS – Ballyfin: Gareth Dunphy 0-8 (four frees, two ’65s), Darragh Connolly 1-3, Gary Hoffmeister 1-1, Eanna Lyons 0-3, Eamon Duff 0-2 , Richie Downey 0-1, David Connolly 0-1. Camross: Daniel Delaney 0-8 (six frees), Tomas Keyes 2-2 (1-0 free), Darrell Dooley 1-1, Eoin Dowling 0-1 (free), Matthew Collier 0-1

BALLYFIN: Eoin Connolly; Ciaran Rowney, Max Connolly, Louis Duff; James Finn, Allan Connolly, Eamon Duff; David Connolly, Darragh Connolly; Kevin O’Rourke, Eanna Lyons, Richard Downey; Gareth Dunphy, Gary Hoffmeister, Cillian Rowney. Sub: Shane Conroy for L Duff (HT), Darragh Lyons for Hoffmeister (57), Sean O’Rourke for Darragh Connolly (62)

CAMROSS: Cillian Tiernan; Cian Delaney, Daniel Breen, Thomas Palmer; Robert Tyrell, Eoin Dowling, Craig Delaney; Colin Palmer, Robert Delaney; Darrell Dooley, Matthew Collier, Kevin Lalor; Tomas Keyes, Dean Delaney, Dan Delaney. Subs: Jack Phelan for R Delaney (HT), Niall Bennett for Lalor (43), Tomas Burke for Collier (58)

REFEREE: John Lalor (Shanahoe)

SEE ALSO – Check out all the weekend GAA coverage here

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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.