Laois Shopping Centre ACFL Division 1 Rd 9
Ballyroan Abbey 1-11
By Pat Delaney
BALLYROAN Abbey, hoping to avoid four losses in a row, did all the right things in the opening quarter against Graiguecullen on Friday, were leading by five points and looking sharp. Graiguecullen were looking to get back to winning ways after O’Dempsey’s hit them for five in their last outing.
Scott Conroy and James Whelan landed early points for the hosts but suddenly Graiguecullen began to force the home team into mistakes and who better to punish any misdemeanours than full forward Danny Doogue. In the space of six minutes he converted three frees with Scott Conroy interrupting with another superb strike. Doogue added another to reduce the margin to a single point with 25 minutes played.
Scott Conroy replied for the Sky Blues before Graiguecullen lost their full back Bobby Doyle to injury, being replaced by Chris Hurley.
Ballyroan Abbey, with wind assistance, needed a score before the break and it arrived in style. Enda McWey won possession and fed Cathal Doyle who flicked the ball to Scott Conroy who in turn fed Padraig McMahon. Although the pass was not perfect he won possession and headed for goal. The keeper did his best but the experienced McMahon squeezed the ball just inside the left hand post to put five between the teams.
Graiguecullen responded in injury time with two superb points from Shane O’Neill and James Doogue leaving the hosts in front 1-8 to 0-8 at the interval.
These two late points lifted the visitors and after Ballyroan Abbey opened the second half scoring with a good point from Scott Conroy, Graiguecullen went down field. Ross Hennessey won possession, off-loaded to James Doogue who blasted to the net.
Ballyroan Abbey defender Aaron Carroll then soloed up field and kicked a great point. Graiguecullen then began to dominate and two good points had the teams all square.
Ballyroan Abbey were coming under pressure and went behind for the first time when Jamie Sheehan kicked a long range point after 40 minutes. Danny Alsybury landed another from play and that man Danny Doogue put three between the teams entering the final quarter.
Ballyroan substitute Mark McDonald landed a great point with ten minutes remaining. Graiguecullen introduced a number of subs including Ian Fleming and with his first touch he kicked between the uprights.
Three points separated the teams as the home team began to claw their way back but they kicked three wides. Then deep in injury time Graiguecullen’s Ross Hennessey rounded off a good performance with the insurance point.
This win sees Graiguecullen right back in the mix for a knock out place and their next two outings are against Portarlington and St Joseph’s.
Ballyroan Abbey without several first choice players face a difficult few games like an away trip to Rathleague and then relegation threatened the Heath.
GRAIGUECULLEN: Daniel Bolger; Eoin Alsybury, Bobby Doyle, Martin Doyle; Luke Alsybury, Brian Byrne, Danny Alsybury (0-1); Ross Alcock, Shane O’Neill (0-1); Aaron Forbes, Ross Hennessey (0-3), Jamie Sheehan (0-1); James Doogue (1-1), Danny Doogue (0-6), Luke Hand.
Subs: Chris Hurley for B. Doyle (20m), Mick Hand (0-1) for Byrne (47m), Ian Fleming (0-1) for L. Hand (50m)
BALLYROAN ABBEY: Trevor Phelan; Mark Cahill, Gavin Tynan, Aaron Carroll (0-1); James Whelan (0-1), Michael Brennan, Aaron McEvoy; Cathal Doyle, Shaun Murphy; Ciaran Carroll, Scott Conroy (0-4), Dylan Cuddy; Enda McWey (0-1), Padraig McMahon (1-3), Ruairi Dunne.
Sub: Mark McDonald (0-1) for Dunne (20m)
Referee: Brendan McCann (Portarlington)