Laois Shopping Centre Senior Football Championship Rd 1
Arles Kilcruise 1-11
By Gavin Cooper
COURTWOOD got their senior championship campaign off to a superb start with a resounding victory over Arles Kilcruise on Wednesday evening in O’Moore Park.
Courtwood came into the game as intermediate champions from last year, but that did not phase them as Niall Donoher got the first score of the game. Laois veteran, Ross Munnelly tapped over a free to get his Kilcruise’s first score.
Courtwood went in search of more, Luke Doyle and Donoher firing over for their side. Munnelly once again slotted over a free. Doyle got his second of the game after a wonderful score off his left foot.
Frees were the only chances that Kilcruise were getting as Chris Conway raised the white flag. Courtwood then went on a scoring blitz with Donoher starting it and getting his third of the game.
Luke Doyle curled over with his weaker foot before Alan Kinsella ran through the Kilcruise defence to slot over. Cian Doyle then made a sublime pass that cut the Kilcruise defence and allowed Luke Doyle to get his third point of the game.
Courtwood made their attacking prowess count as a Sean O’Flynn effort struck the post and Matthew Kelly was on hand to beat his man and fire home the rebound.
Chris Conway pointed his second free before Munnelly got his first score from play. Chris Conway was inches away from getting a goal had it not been for the crossbar.
Courtwood showed how it was done as Danny Luttrell drove the ball beyond Ciaran Lawlor after a superb run by Seth Mooney Burns. Donoher pointed his third of the game after great running by O’Flynn. Courtwood were almost in for their third goal only to be denied by the legs of Lawlor.
Chris Conway pointed a free to end the first-half’s scoring at which stage Courtwood held a healthy 2-9 to 0-7 lead.
Kilcruise needed a big second half and to create more chances from play having only scored one point from play in the first half. Courtwood were superb in the first half and were a great value for their lead.
Dunne got the second half scoring underway before a pass across the goal from Chris O’Donovan was deflected into his own goal by Rob Flynn. Kilcruise were now beginning to find their feet in the game.
However, Courtwood didn’t let the goal affect them as Donoher and a Luke Doyle free meant they led by seven points after 40 minutes. Munnelly pointed another free to keep the scoreboard ticking for his side.
The next score would prove the crucial one as Niall Dunne ran from midfield and buried the ball beyond Lawlor in the Kilcruise goal. Courtwood were cruising now as the clock ticked past the 45 minutes mark.
Courtwood didn’t rest on their laurels and man of the match Luke Doyle tapped into an empty net after a pass across goal from Kinsella. Courtwood now led by 13 and Kilcruise looked depleted.
O’Donovan and Munnelly tapped over but the game was over as a contest. Kelly raised another white flag as Courtwood were turning on the style. Conor Dunne got his name on the score sheet as he scored a wonderful point. Munnelly pointed yet another free as the game fizzled out.
Courtwood now move on to play county champions Portlaoise in the winners section while Kilcruise move into the qualifiers where they’ll play Ballylinan.
COURTWOOD: Matthew Byron; Barry Donnelly, Mark O’Halloran, Colm Wilson; Sean O’Flynn, Rob Flynn, Seth Mooney Burns; Niall Dunne (1-2), Conor Hogan (0-1); Danny Luttrell (1-0), Niall Donoher (0-4), Cian Doyle; Matthew Kelly (1-1), Luke Doyle (1-5; 0-1f), Alan Kinsella (0-1)
Subs: Andrew Flynn for Wilson (42m), Rory Doyle for Donoher (60m)
ARLES KILCRUISE: Ciaran Lawlor; Cialann Mulhall, Patrick Conway, Anthony McElroy; Stephen Miller, John P Conway, Conall Brennan; Chris O’Donovan(0-1), Kevin Meaney; David Conway, Brendan Conway, PJ Lawlor; Dylan Waters, Chris Conway (0-3fs), Ross Munnelly (0-7, 0-5fs)
Sub: Caomhann Brennan for Waters (36m)
Referee: Michael Tarpey (Kilcavan)