Laois Shopping Centre Intermediate Football Championship Rd 1
Mountmellick Gaels 1-16
MOUNTMELLICK were stung last year when relegated and they came to Portarlington on Saturday evening in the hope they could get a positive start in their quest to return to the senior ranks.
Between them and a successful start to their campaign stood this year’s ACFL Division 2 champions, Courtwood who were equally determined to get off to a good start as they believe they can go all the way this year.
First half goals from Niall Dunne and Matt Kelly gave the initiative to Courtwood who held a five point lead at half time. Mountmellick came right back into the game in the second half and will consider themselves terribly unlucky not to have come away with a win.
Courtwood’s Rory Doyle opened the scoring with a point straight from the throw-in. Mountmellick had a couple of chances that came to nothing before Alan Kinsella and Danny Luttrell tacked on two points for Courtwood.
Six minutes in Jason Caffrey got Mountmellick Gaels off the mark but Kinsella cancelled this out with a point that might well have been a goal had it been a couple of inches lower.
Niall Mullen opened his account with a free which was cancelled out by Niall Dunne. A brace from Brendan Reddin had Mountmellick right back in the mix.
Courtwood took command after Kinsella fisted a point, and Matt Kelly drove low past Eoghan Keogh to the Mountmellick net.
Alan Kinsella and Danny Luttrell then converted frees to put Courtwood further ahead approaching half time.
Niall Mullen and Ryan Mullaney replied for Mountmellick to leave Courtwood leading 2-7 to 0-8 at the break.
James Mullaney, who had been introduced by Mountmellick just before half time opened the second half scoring with a point. When Mullen added another brace the gap was down to just two points.
Courtwood were unfortunate to concede an own goal after Matthew Byron had made a great save, one of three in the second half, and now Mountmellick’s increase in intensity was beginning to pay off.
It now turned into something of a shoot out between the two free takers, Courtwood’s Danny Luttrell and Mountmellick’s Niall Mullen as the two battled it out toe to toe.
Cian Doyle and Eoghan Keogh (free) also swapped points and with full time fast approaching Courtwood were hanging onto a single point lead.
And despite a few last minute scares the held out for a very satisfying victory.
COURTWOOD: Matthew Byron; Barry Donnolly, Andrew Mulhare, Mark O’Halloran; Sean O’Flynn, Robbie Flynn, Colm Wilson; Conor Hogan, Danny Luttrell (0-6, 0-5f); Matt Kelly (1-0), Niall Donoher, Rory Doyle (0-1); Alan Kinsella (0-4, 0-1f), Luke Doran (0-2), Niall Dunne (1-0).
Subs: Paddy Wilson for Flynn (45m), Cian Doyle (0-1) for R Doyle (49m)
MOUNTMELLICK GAELS: Eoghan Keogh (0-1f); Ethan Lalor, Gearoid Hanrahan, Laurence Kenny; Mark Dowling, Eoin George, Darren Fitzpatrick; Stephen Lynch, Colm Coss (0-1); Niall Mullen (0-8, 0-6f), Ryan Mullaney (0-2), Karl Donoher; Jason Caffrey (0-1), Conn Maher (1-0), Brendan Reddin (0-2).
Subs: James Mullaney (0-1) for Lynch (25m)
Referee: Des Cooney (St Joseph’s)