It was close, it was hard fought and it was poor. Last year’s beaten finalists Graiguecullen saw off the challenge of Ballylinan by a margin of three points in last Saturday’s 7pm throw in at O’ Moore Park.
Laois Senior Football Championship
The return of Gary Walsh wasn’t enough to edge the match in Ballylinan’s favour, but it did prove to be a big boost. He was their main attacking threat when introduced in the second half scoring four points.
Bar a short spell in the second half, Graiguecullen never looked in any great danger of messing this one up. Their performance however didn’t reflect the 1/10 forecast they were afforded by most bookies taking bets on senior football in Laois over the weekend.
Graigue held a three point half time lead, but it could have been closer had Brendan Kealy not dragged his shot wide of goal on 24 minutes after doing well to shake off his marker.
Without hitting top gear, Graiguecullen held off a spirited Ballylinan in hte second-half maintaining that three point lead.
Graiguecullen are ‘rewarded’ for this victory with a second round tie against Arles-Kilcruise. After Portlaoise, Kilcruise would be possibly considered the toughest team to draw, their preparations looking well after a strong league run. Graiguecullen actually came out four point winners when the sides met at the end of July, how much that will stand to them is yet to be seen.
See this week’s Leinster Express for full report on this game and on all the first round games in the Laois Senior Football Championship