St Joseph’s 3-8
Mountmellick Gaels 2-6
By Alan Hartnett
THIS five-goal thriller turned in St Joseph’s favour 16 minutes from time when their opponents Mountmellick Gaels were harshly reduced to 14 men.
The Gaels were leading by two points when full forward Darragh Hanlon collided with Liam Kealy.
The tackle was certainly high but it seemed as if Kealy had slipped just before Hanlon attempted to tackle him, which made it look worse than it probably was. Nevertheless, referee Maurice Deegan produced a straight red card and St Joseph’s went on to kick 2-2 in the time that remained to win by five.
In what was a low-scoring game overall, Mountmellick Gaels opened it thanks to Niall Mullen after some good work from Colm Coss.
Kevin Campion opened St Joseph’s account and the same two players swapped points again to leave us deadlocked after 22 minutes.
Darren Fitzpatrick set up Mark Grennan to regain the lead for the Gaels which sparked the game into life for the final five minutes of the half.
St Joseph’s grabbed the game’s first goal. Michael Keogh put Jason Campion through on goal and his shot was half-blocked by keeper Eoghan Keogh but in a desperate attempt to stop the ball from crossing the line, Gearóid Hanrahan handled the ball on the ground and a penalty was awarded which James Doyle coolly converted.
The Gaels weren’t perturbed and they went straight down the other end to grab a goal of their own. Darragh Hanlon showed his strength to get past Tom Dunne before centring the ball to Brendan Reddin, who curled a shot into the bottom corner.
Matty Campion levelled matters with a sensational curling point from under the stand but Mountmellick finished the half with a flourish. Colm Coss, who is currently enjoying a spell with Athlone Town in the League of Ireland First Division, found Hanlon but he was fouled inside the area and Mark Grennan found the top corner from the ensuing penalty kick.
Niall Mullen then landed another free to leave the scoreboard reading 2-4 to 1-3 in Mountmellick’s favour.
St Joseph’s quickly set about eating into Mountmellick’s advantage on the restart as a brace from Dane Dunne and another from Matty Campion cut the deficit to the minimum.
Niall Mullen kicked his fourth point of the evening but shortly afterwards Darragh Hanlon received that red card and the complexion of the game changed.
St Joseph’s regained the lead eight minutes from time when the industrious Michael Keogh set up Jason Campion and he fired the ball into the corner of the net.
Matty Campion and James Kelly pushed St Joseph’s three clear while Colm Coss kept Mountmellick’s resistance going with a late free.
But that was as close as they would come and Danny Hickey settled matters in injury time, when he fisted Matty Campion’s ball to the net to send St Joseph’s through with five points to spare.
ST JOSEPH’S: Dan Nelligan; Adam Campion, Tom Dunne, Cian Maher; Danny Hickey (1-0), Donal Ramsbottom, James Kelly (0-1f); Ian Donnolly, Kevin Campion (0-2); Liam Kealy, James Doyle (1-0p), Dan Dunne (0-2, 1f); Michael Keogh, Matty Campion (0-3, 2f), Jason Campion (1-0). Subs: Murtagh Condron for A. Campion (23m, black card), Dylan Doyle for Maher (40m), David Brennan for J. Campion (59m)
MOUNTMELLICK GAELS: Eoghan Keogh; Ben Forde, Gearóid Hanrahan, Oisin Morris; Laurence Kenny, Darren Fitzpatrick, David Kelly; Colm Coss (0-1f), James Hillard; Mark Grennan (1-1, 1-0p), Niall Mullen (0-4, 3f), Brendan Reddin (1-0); Jason Caffrey, Darragh Hanlon, Mark Dowling. Subs: Michael Lawlor for Caffrey (12m, inj), Karl Donoher for Kelly (14m, inj), Ciarán Rochford for Mullen (55m, black card), Martin Ford for Grennan (59m), Daniel Wall for Dowling (59m, black card)
Referee: Maurice Deegan (Stradbally)