Laois Shopping Centre Senior Football Championship Rd 1
St Joseph’s 2-12
The Heath 1-9
By Denis J. Croke
WHEN these two sides met in the league The Heath had a point to spare in their first encounter but the Saints came back with a bang in their second game to win by 11 points. The question was could the Kellyville outfit, who were to lose the league final to O’Dempsey’s, come back from that disappointment and get back to winning ways.
The answer was that they could and they did, but for a period their prospects did not look too bright, but not in as emphatic way as they did on their last meeting.
There was little or nothing to choose between the sides for 36 minutes, although The Heath did look the livelier but could not get the scores needed to open up a gap.
But once Dylan Doyle struck for the Saint’s second goal six minutes after the restart to whole trend of the game altered. The Heath lost all confidence and amazingly failed to score for 17 minutes in the second half. So in the end they could have no complaints about the outcome.
The Heath started positively with Evin Keane (free) and Shane Forde raising white flags in the first few minutes.
But by the sixth minutes the sides were level, Dylan Doyle and Dan Dunne (free) on target for St Joseph’s.
Play was interrupted over the next six or seven minutes as play was stopped on a number of occasions for players to receive attention having picked up injuries such was the intensity of the play, all legal it has to be said.
The stalemate was broken when Keane edged The Heath back in front from a placed ball, but that lead was short-lived. And they might have had a goal after Brian Ging placed Andrew Booth but Dan Dunne denied him.
They were to pay the price for that miss as St Joseph’s worked the ball swiftly to the opposite end of the pitch with Adam Campion picking out Keogh to slice his way through the defence and bury the ball in the top corner.
But The Heath’s response was almost immediate. Minutes later Keane passed to Brian Ging who darting run carried him past the cover before firing across JP Nerney and finding the far bottom corner of the net.
At this stage The Heath were playing the better football with a brace of points from Keane frees giving them a three point lead by the 28th minute.
Brian Daly (free) and Ciaran Booth exchanged points and the Kellyville outfit were to finish the half strongly adding a brace of points through Michael Keogh to in at the breaking training by just one point, 1-6 to 1-5.
Within minutes of the restart the sides were level, Brian Daly fisting over a point for the Saints.
That man Keane soon had The Heath in front, levelling the game from a free and then scoring from play in the 35th, but few would have envisaged that they would not score again until the 52nd minute.
In the meantime St Joseph’s did as they liked and it all started with a 36th minute goal. In a sweeping move involving Tom Kelly, Mikie Dempsey and Dylan Doyle ended with the ball being worked to Dylan Doyle to find the net.
This seemed to knock the wind out of The Heath and St Joseph’s made full use of this collapse. Dean Brophy, Mattie Campion and substitute Enda Butler all pointed to give their side a four point lead by the end of the third quarter.
The Heath had one scoring chance in this period when substitute Chris Bergin got a view of the goal but his shot went straight at Dan Dunne to save.
They did manage one point before the final whistle, a free from Colin Nestor but it was sandwiched between two from Keogh.
St Joseph’s can now look forward to building on this victory and will be looking forward with a degree of confidence.
ST JOSEPH’S: Dan Dunne (0-1f); Aidan Brennan, Tom Dunne, Adam Campion; Dean Brophy (0-1), Donal Ramsbottom, James Kelly; Cathal Fleming, Brian Daly (0-3, 0-1f); Tom Kelly, Michael Keogh (1-4), Mikie Dempsey; Dylan Doyle (1-1), Brendan Hickey, Mattie Campion (0-1).
Subs: Enda Butler (0-1) for Hickey (h/t), Ian Donnelly for Ramsbottom (58m, inj)
THE HEATH: JP Nerney; Neil Keane, Robbie Dowling, Alan Whelan; Mark Dowling, James Nerney, Ciaran Booth (0-1); Denis Booth, Daithí Carroll, Dylan Kavanagh, Brian Ging (1-0), PJ Daly; Evin Keane (0-6, 0-5f), Shane Ford (0-1), Andrew Booth.
Subs: Chris Bergin for A. Booth (27m), James Phelan for J. Nerney (h/t), Colin Nestor (0-1) for Kavanagh (40m), Cathal Whelan for R. Dowling (44m), Mark Dunne for Ging (48m, black card), Liam Kinsella for Daly (58m)
Referee: Maurice Deegan (Stradbally)