Na Fianna Óg 4-17 O’Dempsey’s 4-15
Laois U-20 ‘B’ FC Group A Round 3
This was a crucial night of U-20 football in both ‘A’ and ‘B’ grades. Reigning U-20 ‘B’ champions, Na Fianna Óg, are looking to once more claim the title at this level, and they’ve made a strong start.
After defeating Park-Ratheniska at the weekend, 2-9 to 0-9, the Arles-Killeen, Arles-Kilcruise, and Barrowhouse amalgamated outfit were hoping to make it three wins out of three when they travelled to Killenard this evening.
O’Dempsey’s had enjoyed a good victory at home over Killeshin the last day though and were always going to be a challenge here.
With this game being played thirteen aside, it allowed for a free-flowing and end-to-end sixty minutes of football under lights.
Na Fianna Óg enjoyed a five-point lead at the break thanks to first-half goals from Jamie Conway and Darragh Kealy.
While O’Dempsey’s managed to pull a goal back early in the second half through Joe Finn, Na Fianna Óg hit back.
Colin Dunne and Aodhan Lowry scored further goals for them and it looked like this one was over. However, O’Dempsey’s, to their credit, battled to the bitter end.
Eoghan Nerney, Sam Molloy and Ben Coen fired in goals for O’Dempsey’s to get them within two points, but Na Fianna Óg managed to just about hang on.
Na Fianna Óg were on the front foot early on in the Old Pound, as they raced into a three-point lead. Darragh Kealy, TJ Burke and Lee Day all raised white flags for the away team.
O’Dempsey’s responded strongly with four on the trot though. Ben Coen kicked two, one from play and one from a free, while Eoghan Nerney and Dan Punch also placed over points.
Lee Day levelled for Na Fianna Óg with a free before they almost scored a fortuitous goal. Colin Dunne’s effort looped over O’Dempsey’s keeper, Joe LaCumbre, but hit the post and the ball was cleared.
Aodhan Lowry, who had a lively game around the middle of the park, put Na Fianna Óg back ahead with a superb outside of the boot score.
O’Dempsey’s replied with points from their full-forward line, as Eoghan Nerney and Sam Molloy (mark) edged them back ahead.
However, Na Fianna Óg hit the next 1-3 to take control of proceedings. Two points from Colin Dunne and one from Aaron Moore were followed by the first of their four goals.
Lee Day tried to thread an over the top ball through, but O’Dempsey’s goalkeeper Joe LaCumbre intercepted it. However, the ball only fell as far as Jamie Conway, who showed composure to tuck home.
While Ben Coen landed the next two points for O’Dempsey’s, Na Fianna Óg fired in their second goal before the break.
Colin Dunne’s shot from distance fell short, but the ball wasn’t cleared properly from O’Dempsey’s. Darragh Kealy was quickest to react, as he crashed in the rebound.
Sam Molloy scored the final point of the half for O’Dempsey’s, but they trailed 2-8 to 0-9 at this stage.
Colin Dunne kicked off proceedings for the second half by sending over a 45′. O’Dempsey’s needed to respond, and they did exactly that with their first goal.
Sam Molloy’s shot was blocked down well by Shane Giltrap, but Joe Finn was on hand to fire in the rebound on this occasion.
Na Fianna Óg wiped out that goal though by registering the next three points. Colin Dunne curled over a delightful score from play, before Lee Day raised two more white flags for Na Fianna Óg.
Coen and Day traded scores after that, with Coen grabbing two to his name. Jack Behan, who made a bright impression from the bench the last day, started tonight and registered his first score of the evening for Na Fianna Óg.
Then Dunne managed to crash in his side’s third goal to put nine points between the teams. While Joe Finn replied for O’Dempsey’s with a point, Na Fianna Óg fired in goal number four soon after.
Aodhan Lowry charged forward and played a one-two with Jack Behan before fisting to the net. O’Dempsey’s appeared down and out now, as Na Fianna Óg enjoyed an eleven-point advantage.
However, credit to the Killenard men, as they refused to give up and fought back valiantly. Coen started the comeback with a converted free before Eoghan Nerney slotted in a goal.
While Aodhan Lowry replied for Na Fianna Óg with a long-range point, O’Dempsey’s hit back with two more quick-fire goals.
Coen assisted the first one, as he set up Sam Molloy to palm home. Then Coen scored the next one minutes later, as he crashed one into the net from close-range.
Na Fianna Óg were shell-shocked, but their main man Dunne settled their nerves a bit. Dunne crucially scored the next two points to put four between the teams.
Coen popped over two more frees before the finish, but O’Dempsey’s didn’t have time to grab a fifth goal that would have won it for them.
Na Fianna Óg now look like they’re through following their third win.
Their final two games against Killeshin and Crettyard/Spink are likely to decide whether they finish first or second in this group.
SCORERS— Na Fianna Óg: Colin Dunne 1-6 (two frees, one 45′), Aodhan Lowry 1-2, Lee Day 0-5 (two frees), Darragh Kealy 1-1, Jamie Conway 1-0, TJ Burke, Aaron Moore and Jack Behan 0-1 each O’Dempsey’s: Ben Coen 1-9 (0-5 frees), Sam Molloy (one mark) and Eoghan Nerney 1-2 each, Joe Finn 1-1, Dan Punch 0-1
NA FIANNA ÓG: Jamie Burke; Shane Giltrap, Kodi Dunne; Sean Phelan, Jamie Conway, Ben Slattery; Aodhan Lowry, TJ Burke; Aaron Moore, Colin Dunne, Darragh Kealy; Lee Day, Jack Behan. Subs: Luke Donoher for Phelan (53), Simon George for Slattery (56)
O’DEMPSEY’S: Joe LaCumbre; Eimhin O’Neill, Darragh Fox; Liam O’Mahony, Sean Gutierrez, Michael Gill; Derek Dunne, Stephen Lennon; Joe Finn, Ben Coen, Dan Punch; Eoghan Nerney, Sam Molloy. Subs: Dylan Fitzpatrick for Dunne (38), Darren Keogh for LaCumbre (44)
REFEREE: Brendan Hickey (Graiguecullen)