Laois Shopping Centre Senior Football Championship Rd 1
Clonaslee/St Manman’s Gaels 1-9
By Denis J. Croke
KILLESHIN were left with a mountain to climb after Adam Deering was red carded in the 26th minute after striking Gerard Dunne. But at the final whistle they sat astride the summit after a string second half performance.
In fairness to Clonaslee/St Manman’s there was never more than a few points separating the sides over the hour, even after Killeshin struck for their second goal at the mid-point of the second half.
One feature of this game was the number of goalmouth incidents and if either side had had that little bit of luck we could have finished with a sack-full of goals.
Early on Clonaslee/St Manman’s looked the far livelier. They got off to a flying start scoring three points in the opening five minutes, Martin Stapleton from play and two from Glen McEvoy, one a free.
Championship debutante Michael Doran got Killeshin off the mark in the ninth minute and a minute later he turned provider when he put Luke Attride in on goal and he calmly slipped the ball under the keeper to the net.
Doran then added another point to turn a three point deficit into a two point lead in the space of three minutes.
Darren Hogan and Eoin Lowry swapped points before John Rigney and Shane Stapleton combined to set up Killian Horgan for a goal which handed the lead back to Clonaslee/St Manman’s.
In between these points Clonaslee/St Manman’s John Rigney send in a loverly diagonal pass which Elliot Scully got a hand to but not enough to direct on goal.
With four minutes remaining in the half Deering saw red while Scully landed a great point from a very narrow angle that left Clonaslee/St Manman’s leading by two points at the break, 1-5 to 1-3.
The break came at the right time for Killeshin who went in, regrouped and came back out playing with intent despite being a man short. Within minutes of the restart they were back on level terms thanks to Cathal Brennan (free) and Eoin Lowry. The latter score might well have been a goal as Lowry’s grazed the crossbar.
A John Rigney pint put Clonaslee/St Manman’s back in front, but only briefly.
The Lowry brothers combined for Killeshin to retake the lead when Eoin broke down the wing before passing across to Evan to tuck under the keeper and that gaol separated the sides after Mark McDermott landed a good pint in the 41st minute.
Paddy Hyland pulled back a point for Clonaslee/St Manman’s and they were desperately unlucky not to have had a goal when John Rigney’s rasping shot came back off the butt of the post.
Simon Attride found the target for the winners from out wide on the left as play was becoming disjointed with the introduction of substitutes.
Clonaslee/St Manman’s were the ones to benefit from these changes with sub Damien McCaul converting two frees to close the gap to the minimum with five minutes of normal time remaining.
These were nervous times for Killeshin as Clonaslee/St Manman’s went in search of the point that would level the game. However, there was to be just one more score, and that was a point from Killeshin’s Eoin Lowry.
Killeshin can now look forward to a meeting with last year’s beaten finalists, Ballylinan while Clonaslee/St Manman’s face a touch task in Stradbally next time out.
KILLESHIN: Shane Coakley; Barry Ryan, David McDermott, Paraic Bolton; Shane Bolger, Arnie Mahon, Kevin Ryan; David Aston; Luke Attride (1-0), Eoin Lowry (0-3), Adam Deering; Evan Lowry (1-0), Cathal Brennan (0-1f), Michael Doran (0-2).
Subs: Mark McDermott (0-1) for Aston (h/t), Simon Attride (0-1) for L. Attride (42m), Jeremy Mahon for Bolton (50m, inj), Paddy Walsh for Brennan (54m)
CLONASLEE/ST MANMAN’S GAELS: Conor Gorman; Rory Stapleton, Ger Reilly, Diarmuid Conroy; John Rigney (0-1), Willie Young, Marty Stapleton (0-1); Shane Stapleton, John Scully; Glen McEvoy (0-2, 0-1f), Killian Horgan (1-0), Paddy Hyland (0-1); Ger Dunne, Darren Hogan (0-1), Elliot Scully (0-1).
Subs: Damien McCaul (0-2f) for McEvoy (44m), Sean Condon for P. Hyland (52m), William Murray for S. Stapleton (54m)
Referee: Clifford Ward (Portarlington)