Under lights on Monday night, Stradbally made the short trip to Kellyville as they looked to progress in this year’s championship. A second half St Joseph’s rally fell just short as Stradbally held on to claim a hard-fought two point victory.
Laois Junior Football Championship
St Joseph’s 0-10
St Joseph’s certainly started the better of the two sides as they dominated the opening quarter, chalking up three consecutive points as Michael Keogh, Gavin Moore and full-forward Danny Hickey all hit the target to give St Joseph’s an deserved early lead.
Stradbally gradually caught up with the tempo of the game and registered their first score through Jody Dillon after twelve minutes, before Darragh Mulhall raised the white flag five minutes later to cut the deficit to a single point.
Conor Brady drew the sides level on the twenty minute mark with a well-taken point from twenty-five yards as Stradbally looked to have recovered from their sluggish start. Shortly after, Mick Byrne edged St Joseph’s back in front as he applied the finishing touch to a counter-attacking move with five minutes left until the break.
With the half time whistle fast approaching Stradbally stole the lead in a two minute siege on the Joseph’s defence. Jody Dillon converted his second free of the game to level the sides once again, before Conor Brady brought his tally to 1-1 for the half as he pounced on the loose ball in the square for the first goal of the night gifting Stradbally with a three point cushion at the interval.
Opposing full-forwards, Jody Dillon and Danny Hickey, exchanged points in the first and second minutes of the half respectively, before Stradbally claimed what was to be there last score for twenty-five minutes. With thirty-four minutes elapsed Stradbally were awarded a penalty for a blatant push in the square, and Jody Dillon made no mistake from the spot-kick to extend the Stradbally lead to six points.
Joseph’s began to tear down the Stradbally lead point-by-point with James Fleming, substitute Micheal Fleming, Joey Devoy all adding points in a ten minute bombardment on the Stradbally lead.
Wing-back Donal Ramsbottom claimed the score of the game with his seventy yard run finishing with an intelligent one-two pass with Michael Keogh before Ramsbottom raised the white flag. Jody Dillon restored a three point lead for Stradbally with two minutes remaining, before Danny Hickey closed the gap to two points with his third point of the night as the Joseph’s revival ran out of steam.
SCORERS - Stradbally: Jody Dillon 1-4 (0-2 frees), Conor Brady 1-1, Darragh Mulhall 0-1; St Joseph’s: Danny Hickey 0-3 (one free), Michael Keogh, Gavin Moore, Mick Byrne, James Fleming, Micheal Fleming, Joey Devoy (free) and Donal Ramsbottom 0-1 each.
STRADBALLY: Paul Maher; Alan Mulhall, Geoff Kennedy, Ciaran Moore; Jake Byrne, Richard Carolan, Kevin Holohan; Robbie Moore, Darragh Mulhall; Damien Fitzpatrick, Alan Delaney, Conor Brady; Derek Gorman, Jody Dillon, JP Cushen. SUBS: Gary Moore for Conor Brady; John Larkin for JP Cushen.
ST JOSEPH’S: Robbie Butler; Mark George, James McHugh, Gearoid Lacey; Donal Ramsbottom, Tom Dunne, Gavin Moore; Padraic Condron, Cathal George; Michael Keogh, Joey Devoy, Mick Byrne; Barry Brennan, Danny Hickey, James Fleming. SUBS: Micheal Fleming for James Feming; Peter Farrell for Mick Byrne; Aidan Brennan for Barry Brennan.