Laois Shopping Centre ACFL Division 1 Rd 10
The Heath 0-13
By Pat Delaney
WHEN midfielder Barry Kelly struck the O’Dempsey’s third goal in the 46th minute of this second meeting of the sides at the Heath on Thursday night he killed off the game. All this happened after they played 40 minutes of the game with 14 men and for good measure picked up a yellow and black card as well.
Kelly’s goal was the Killenard side’s 31st goal of the competition and puts them four points clear of the chasing pack. Throw in a total of 122 points and it surely constitutes a record,
For the hosts the story is quite the opposite. This was their seventh loss in succession and with the result coming in of Arles Kilcruise winning back to back games it condemns the Heath to propping up the table.
Despite the scoreline the home team held their own for three quarters of the contest but never managed a three pointer that might have made a difference.
O’Dempsey’s arrived on the back of another victory over Portlaoise in their previous outing and despite showing several changes picked up where they left off. Inside five minutes John Kelly had beaten the home defence for a goal followed by a point from defender Cormac O’Hora.
The Heath opened their account with a James Phelan point from play and another from a free by Chris Bergin. Andrew Booth and John Kelly traded points as the game swung from end to end.
Seven minutes before the interval O’Dempsey’s were dealt a blow with defender Conor Meredith being issued with a red card to the dismay of the Killenard followers.
However, as so often happens, it made no difference to the team with the extra man as they posted points by Barry Kelly and Eoin Finlay leaving the visitors in front by 1-7 to 0-5.
The Heath improved on the resumption and introduced Daithi Carroll in attack and shot two early points by Andrew Booth and Chris Bergin but Barry Kelly, enjoying a great season, opened the visitors’ second half account with a great point from play. Jimmy Nerney pulled another one back for the hosts and a goal separated the sides.
When it looked like the Heath were about to cause an upset they were hit with two superb goals. First the danger man Dan McCormack struck a rocket like shot past Joe Walsh and then, after a brace of points by Peter O’Leary and Eoin Finlay, it was midfielder Barry Kelly who slammed the door on the Heath challenge with a left foot drive into the roof of the net.
Chris Bergin replied with a brace of points but the league leaders added to their tally with points by Barry Kelly and Dan McCormack and although the home team finished strongly with three great points the goal they craved never looked like materializing.
The league leaders could do the Heath a favour this week when Arles Kilcruise will provide the opposition and the Heath journey to Ballyroan-Abbey for a relegation scrap.
O’DEMPSEY’S: Padraig Bannon; Cormac O’Hora (0-1), Peter O’Leary (0-1), Chris McCormack; Brian Meredith, Robbie Kehoe, Conor Meredith; Barry Kelly (1-3),Rory Bracken; Liam Whelehan, Eoin Finlay (0-4), Barry Howlin; John Kelly (1-2), Dan McCormack (1-1), Tom Behan.
Subs: Tom Kehoe for Whelehan (45m), Daithi Howlin for Behan (49m), Ciaran McManus for Howlin (55m)
THE HEATH: Joe Walsh; James Conroy, Ciaran Booth, Conor Fitzpatrick; James Phelan (0-1), Mark Dowling, Gary Roe-Smith; PJ Daly, Jimmy Nerney (0-2); Conor Booth, Shane Forde, Robbie Ging; Chris Bergin (0-5), Andrew Booth (0-4), Dylan Kavanagh.
Subs: Daithi Carroll (0-1) for Conroy (h/t), Kevin Bergin for Conor Booth (35m), Shane Booth for Daly (48m)
Referee: Brendan Hickey (Graiguecullen)