Slieve-Bloom Castletown pick up third football title this year

Laois County Boards Pat Sullivan presenting Captain John Lowry with the U21 F.C B Cup on Sunday. Photo Denis Byrne.
Slieve Bloom-Castletown made it a hat-trick of B titles this year, as they added the U-21 title to their Minor and Junior titles in Rosenallis on Sunday morning.

Slieve Bloom-Castletown made it a hat-trick of B titles this year, as they added the U-21 title to their Minor and Junior titles in Rosenallis on Sunday morning.

Slieve Bloom-Castletown were quick to register the first score of the game when Ben Conroy split the posts with less than a minute on the clock, before he then followed up with a close-range free to open up a two point gap between the sides with only three minutes on the clock.

St Manman’s replied through a superb Niall Corbett free from forty metres, before PJ Fitzpatrick darted through on goal before calmly slotting the ball low past the oncoming keeper to catapult St Manman’s into a two point lead.

Eager not to be outdone, Slieve Bloom-Castletown grabbed a goal of their own three minutes later. Centre-forward, James Mullaney, carried the ball through the heart of the Clonaslee defence before burying the ball low across the face of the goal to raise the green flag for Slieve Bloom-Castletown’s first goal.

St Manman’s responded well with a point from Niall Corbett a minute later, but Slieve Bloom-Castletown went straight back on the attack and claimed their second goal of the day, this time through Ben Conroy to see them take a three point lead with seventeen minutes gone in the game.

Unhappy to enter the dressing room three points down at the break, St Manman’s went on the attack for the final ten minutes of the half and racked up three points through Niall Corbett, PJ Fitzpatrick and Niall Hogan to level the proceedings approaching the half-time whistle.

Ben Conroy rounded off the scoring for the half with his third point of the morning to see Slieve Bloom-Castletown lead by the narrowest of margins at the interval.

Unlike the first half, Slieve Bloom-Castletown dominated for the majority of the second half - despite what the final scoreline may suggest. St Manman’s 1-1 in the final ten minutes polished the final score to an extent, but in truth it was obvious from the fortieth minute what direction the cup would be traveling home.

Slieve Bloom-Castletown opened the second half with two points in as many minutes from Ben Conroy and James Mullaney, with the latter’s being a superb score under-pressure from distance to see them lead by three points.

Slieve Bloom-Castletown continued to dominate the proceedings with Ben Conroy (2) and Mullaney again raising the white flag to set the margin at six points after forty-four minutes of play as St Manman’s struggled to find their footing in the new half.

St Manman’s finally registered their first score in twenty-four minutes when Niall Corbett slotted his fourth free of the day, but a brace of frees two minutes later from man-of-the-match, Ben Conroy, extended the deficit to seven points with eleven minutes left to play.

Clonaslee, St Manman’s sprung Ciaran Hyland from the bench and it didn’t take him long to repay his manager’s faith in him as he split the posts with his first touch of the ball to leave six points separating the sides coming into the final ten minutes of the game.

Slieve Bloom-Castletown rounded off their scoring for the day with a well-worked short free from Ben Conroy to his captain, John Lowry, who made no mistake with the shot to raise the white flag and restore Slieve Bloom-Castletown’s seven point cushion.

St Manman’s were to have one last effort to salvage something from the game as Michael Hyland lobbed the ball into the square, with substitute Ciaran Hyland getting a fist to the ball to steer it into the Slieve Bloom-Castletown net, but that was to be as close as they’d come.

SCORERS - Slieve Bloom-Castletown: Ben Conroy 1-8 (0-5 free), James Mullaney 1-2, John Lowry 0-1; Clonaslee St Manman’s: PJ Fitzpatrick and Ciaran Hyland 1-1 each; Niall Corbett 0-4 (all frees), Niall Hogan 0-1.

SLIEVE BLOOM-CASTLETOWN: Gearoid Lowry; John Paul Bennett, Shane Farrell; Evan Cuddy, Francis Delaney, Darragh Delaney; Gearoid Gaughan, Ryan Mullaney; John Lowry, James Mullaney, Darragh Lyons; Ben Conroy, Padraig Delaney. SUBS: Paul Croke for Padraig Delaney; Fergal Burke for Francis Delaney; Martin Reddin for Darragh Lyons.

CLONASLEE, ST MANMAN’S: Gavin Burke; Conor Hyland, Dermot Conroy; Gerard Reilly, John Hyland, Conor McEvoy; Eoin O’Donovan, Michael Hyland; Willie Young, Niall Hogan, Niall Corbett; PJ Fitzpatrick, Aaron Culliton. SUBS: Aaron Wisely for Willie Young; Cormac Dunne for John Hyland; Patrick Delaney for Niall Hogan’ Ciaran Hyland for Gerard Reilly.

REFEREE: Vinny Dowling