A superb Robbie Phelan hat-trick guided Clough-Ballacolla to a rare football title as they produced a ruthless second half display to put pay to the hopes of a plucky Rosenallis side in the opening U-14 county final in Portlaoise on Saturday morning.
The Ballacolla men led from start to finish and although Rosenallis gave them plenty to think about in the first half it was a different story after the break as the champions used the slight breeze to full effect and they fired over a succession of scores to cap a wonderful performance.
Rosenallis enjoyed plenty of possession in the opening half but were very wasteful in front of goal and by the time they got off the mark fifteen minutes after the throw-in they had already conceded 1-5 to leave them facing an uphill task. Three early points from the excellent Jordan Walsh set Clough Ballacolla on their way before Walsh turned provider for their first goal, finished in style by man of the hour Robbie Phelan.
James Kavanagh then hit two quick-fire points before Dylan Mooney converted a free at the other end to stop the rot. Jack Corr added another but Ballacolla’s second goal came soon after and it was that man Jordan Walsh who rounded off the move. Josh Bergin and Ciaran White traded scores as half-time approached but Rosenallis were given a glimmer of hope when Jack Claffey’s stoppage time goal cut the Ballcolla lead to six at the break.
Early scores were needed if Rosenallis were to get back in contention but they never came, and the killer blow of conceding a goal straight from the restart was one from which Rosenallis never recovered from. Robbie Phelan proved almost unplayable in that second half, winning everything that came his way and he bagged his second goal a minute in.
Dylan Mooney hit two nice scores to briefly suggest that all was not lost for Rosenallis but they wouldn’t score again and Ballacolla rattled over a further 1-7 in the last fifteen minutes to seal a super win. Robbie Phelan completed his hat-trick with a superb solo effort to beat Eoin Dunne for the third time with seven minutes to go.
A series of late Clough Ballacolla points from Diarmaid Conway, Jordan Walsh, Brian Corby , Lee Cleere and Josh Bergin rounded off a magnificent performance and Cleere stepped up to accept the well-deserved ‘C’ championship trophy.
SCORERS - Clough Ballacolla: Robbie Phelan 3-1, Jordan Walsh 1-5 (0-2 frees), James Kavanagh and Josh Bergin 0-2, Lee Cleere, Diarmaid Conway and Brian Corby 0-1 each; Rosenallis: Jack Claffey 1-0, Dylan Mooney 0-3 (two frees), Jack Corr 0-2.
CLOUGH-BALLACOLLA: Stephen Halley; Sean Clear, Craig Saunders, Chris Rafter; Jamie Devine, Robbie Phelan, Niall Saunders; Lee Cleere, Diarmaid Conway; Josh Bergin, Jordan Walsh, Cathal Dunne; Philip Henneberry, Brian Corby, James Kavanagh. Subs Used: Sean Phelan, David Hennessy, Lee Waite.
ROSENALLIS: Eoin Dunne; John Redmond, Devin Creagh, Pierce Kelly; Sean Doyle, Paul Maher, John Maher; Ciaran White, Glen Shaw; Jack Claffey, Jack Corr, Jack Friel; Jamie Kelly, Dylan Mooney, Onnagh Callally. Subs Used: Aaron Mooney, James Redmond, Gearoid Carroll, Cian Farrell.