Two games kick-started the Laois Junior Football Championship on Friday night, with title contenders Rosenallis squaring up to Stradbally and O’Dempsey’s coming to blows with Mountmellick - resulting in wins for Rosenallis and Mountmellick.
Rosenallis opened their 2014 championship campaign with a deserved seventeen point victory over Stradbally in Emo on Friday evening. Having reached the semi-final stage last year before eventually falling to Courtwood, they’ll be eager to take it all the way this year.
Rosenallis led at the break by a two goal margin of 2-5 to 0-5, with Mark Dunne and Kenneth Farrell grabbing the goals. Ronan Murray, James Jackson and John Lennon all contributed first half points for the eventual winners, while Jody Dillon and Podge Fitzpatrick led the charge for Stradbally.
Stradbally battled back in the second half and grabbed goals through Jody Dillon and Benny Lalwor, but Rosenallis continued to power ahead. James Jackson and Ruairi Fennell brought Rosenallis’ goal tally to four for the day, while Darren McEvoy, John Lennon, Mark Dunne, Ronan Murray and Kenneth Farrell all added points as Rosenallis finished up comfortable victors on a scoreline of 4-17 to 2-6 to progress to the next round.
In the other game on Friday night, Mountmellick secured a six point victory over O’Dempsey’s in Portarlington.
O’Dempsey’s were on the back-foot from the start as Mountmellick were awarded an early penalty that was cooly converted to give them an early three point advantage. Mountmellick extended their lead to four points shortly after, and this proved to be the catalyst that O’Dempsey’s needed as they replied almost immediately with points from Matthew Finlay and Shane Nerney.
Hatch Finlay brought O’Dempsey’s to within a point of Mountmellick right before the break with a fisted goal to leave the half-time score at 1-5 to 1-4.
Mountmellick found an extra gear in the second half and pressed on as they added their second goal to go five points clear, before O’Dempsey’s clawed back to within a point of the eventual winners once again thanks to points from Hatch Finlay and Tommy Kehoe with six minutes remaining on the clock.
Mountmellick finished strongly with five late points to secure a six point victory and progress to the next round.