Abbeyleix 2-9 Ballypickas 3-11
Laois JHC ‘A’ Final
Ballypickas have made an immediate return to the Intermediate grade as they defeated neighbours Abbeyleix in the JHC final this afternoon.
Ballypickas led by nine points at one stage but Abbeyleix battled back to leave one in it as we headed for injury time.
However, veteran Paddy Boggan scored the crucial goal in the first minute of injury time as Ballypickas claimed glory.
Abbeyleix, playing against the stiff breeze, got the first two points of the game through Conor Bergin and Shaun Fitzpatrick and almost had a goal too.
The lively Sam Quinn got through one-on-one with Noel Concannon but the veteran keeper Noel Concannon thwarted him.
That proved to be an important save as Ballypickas got on top in the game after that.
Mike McKeogh was accurate on frees and then a delightful long ball from Colin Kinsella found MJ Lalor who buried it to the net from close range.
Sam Quinn replied for Abbeyleix but Daire McWey responded to leave it 1-4 to 0-3 at the first water break.
The wind seemed to strengthen when play resumed and Ballypickas made hay as McKeogh added three more frees and Noel Leech tapped one over.
Abbeyleix went 18 minutes without a score before midfielder Enda McWey finally pointed to leave Ballypickas 1-8 to 0-4 ahead at half time.
Just as in the first half, Abbeyleix began the new period with two points – one each from Conor Bergin and Cathal Doyle – before being rocked by the concession of a second goal.
Mike McKeogh’s long range effort held up in the breeze and Daire McWey was on hand to smash the sliotar to the net.
Conor Bergin responded for Abbeyleix but Daire McWey and MJ Lalore left Ballypickas nine points clear with 20 minutes to go.
Conor Bergin added his fourth placed ball for Abbeyleix but they trailed 2-10 to 0-8 at the second water break.
The game needed an Abbeyleix goal to make the closing stages interesting and it arrived when Shaun Fitzpatrick charged down the terrace side and cut in to drive the sliotar home.
Enda McWey then drove over a point and the gap was back to four with eight minutes of normal time to play.
And the margin was one with five minutes to go when Shaun Fitzpatrick forced the ball to Joe Bergin who pulled on it along the ground and into the net.
The gap remained at the minimum as we entered four minutes of additional time – with Ballypickas landing the decisive blow in the first minute of it.
Keeper Noel Concannon’s long range free caused chaos and Paddy Boggan looked like the one who got the final touch.
SCORERS – Ballypickas: Mike McKeogh 0-7 (all frees), Daire McWey 1-2, MJ Lalor 1-1, Paddy Boggan 1-0, Noel Leech 0-1 Abbeyleix: Conor Bergin 0-4 (three frees, one 65), Shaun Fitzpatrick 1-1, Joe Bergin 1-0, Sam Quinn 0-1, Enda McWey 0-2, Cathal Doyle 0-1
BALLYPICKAS: Noel Concannon; Tim Cass, Kieran Bowe, Micheal Downey; Willie McDonald, Liam Lalor, Colin Kinsella; Aaron O’Dea, James Hennessy; Thomas Whelan, Paddy Boggan, Noel Leech; Mike McKeogh, MJ Lalor, Daire McWey. Subs Ricky Nolan for Whelan (37), Colin Rowan for O’Dea (42), Ger Whelan for Boggan (49), Paddy Boggan for Leech (52), Eimhin Hennessy for Kinsella (59, inj)
ABBEYLEIX: David Sheeran; Eamon Fitzpatrick, Alan Lynch, David Walsh; Tomas Moore, Steven Reilly, Liam Doyle; Enda McWey, Davin McEvoy; Conor Bergin, Cathal Doyle, Shaun Fitzpatrick; Sam Quinn, Joe Bergin, Tommy Walton. Subs: JJ Murphy for Moore (39), Eoin Egan for Walton (46)
REFEREE: JJ Gorman (Clough-Ballacolla)
SEE ALSO – Check out all the weekend GAA coverage here