Thursday, March 02, 2023

 South Leinster Senior Football ‘A’ League Final

The Knockbeg College which captured the  South Leinster Senior Football ‘A’ League following the defeat of Patrician Newbridge in Laois Hire O’Moore Park on Wednesday               Photo: Denis Byrne

St Mary’s College Knockbeg 3-13

Patrician SS Newbridge 2-15

By Mark Comerford

ST Mary’s College Knockbeg have been crowned South Leinster Senior Football ‘A’ League champions, beating Patrician SS Newbridge in a nerve wrangling final in Laois Hire O’Moore Park on Wednesday. The Kildare school looked to have the game sewn up on more than one occasion, but Knockbeg showed serious resolve to win the game in the dying seconds.

Knockbeg’s starting 15 included no less than ten Laois players, including three each from Ballylinan and Arles Kilcruise as well as one each from Timahoe, St Joseph’s, Graiguecullen and Stradbally.

The Knockbeg fans, as they always do, created a rousing atmosphere in the stands prior to throw-in and throughout the game. But Newbridge were undeterred and hit the ground running, racing into a 1-5 to no score lead inside the opening seven minutes including a fantastic soccer-style goal from Harry Redmond.

Knockbeg had to wait until the 12th minute for their first score – a free from Conall Bergin – but once it came, the floodgates began to open. Patrick Julian smashed the ball into the Newbridge net in the 19th minute to make it 1-6 to 1-3.

Newbridge kicked two more points before Bergin went on a tear, raising four white flags without reply, getting his side firmly back into the contest leaving it 1-8 to 1-7 at the break.

Knockbeg did not make life easy for themselves, coughing up five points in succession at the start of the second half, giving themselves a mountain to climb yet again. But they battled their way back and drew level in the 54th minute when substitute, Josh Brady got his team’s second goal.

Five minutes later and Knockbeg went in front for the first time through a fine goal from Mikey Murphy. Murphy used his height to great success towards the end as the St Joseph’s man plucked high balls right out of the sky, winning marks, scoring a goal and adding a whole new dimension to his team.

But Newbridge immediately replied with a terrific goal of their own thanks to Cillian Maher in the last seconds of normal time, getting on the end of a long ball into to punch into the net amidst a goal-mouth scramble.

With the game looking destined for extra time, Knockbeg went the length of the field where Bergin slotted the winning point in the 61st minute, bringing an end to a breathless encounter.


Knockbeg: Conall Bergin 0-7 (0-5fs), Mikey Murphy 1-2 (0-2 marks), Patrick Julian and Josh Brady 1-0 each, Ben Slattery (f), Jack Byrne, Cillian Maher and John Phiri 0-1 each

Newbridge: Ben Loakman 1-3 (0-1f), Jack Mahon 0-5 (0-1f), Harry Redmond 1-0, Conor Sheerin, Ian McLoughlin and Eoin Curtin 0-2 each, Ryan Kearney 0-1

KNOCKBEG: Oisin Ramsbottom (Timahoe); Matthew Farrell (Palatine), Jesse McEvoy (Ballylinan), Cian Cashman (Palatine); Darragh Loughman (Ballylinan), Jamie Conway (Arles Kilcruise), Ben Slattery (Arles Kilcruise); John Phiri (Asca), Jack Doyle (Palatine); Mikey Murphy (St Joseph’s), Connall Bergin (Grangenovlin), Aodhán Lowry (Arles Kilcruise); Patrick Julian (Ballylinan), Cillian Maher (Stradbally), Jack Byrne (Graiguecullen).

Sub: Josh Brady (Eire Óg) for Julian (43m)

PATRICIAN NEWBRIDGE: Ronan Collins; Sean Browne, James Loughman, Aidan Joyce-Bowles; Conor Sheerin, Conor Walsh, Jack Butler; Jack Mahon, Sean Hennessy; Ryan Kearney, Eoin Curtin, Harry Redmond; Ian McLoughlin, Ben Loakman, Sam Ryan.

Subs: Joe Dunne for Hennessy (h/t), Cian Byrne for Ryan (40m), Karl Heuston for McLoughlin (63m)

Referee: Brendan Hickey (Laois)

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