Action from the Laois SHC Round 1 clash between Clough-Ballacolla and Abbeyleix at O'Moore Park . Photo: Alf Harvey
An impressive second-half performance from Clough-Ballacolla reversed a two-point half-time deficit to see them run out nine point victors over Abbeyleix in the opening round of the Laois Senior Hurling Championship in O'Moore Park on Saturday night.
Clough-Ballacolla 0 - 26
St Lazarian's Abbeyleix 1 - 14
Laois Shopping Centre Senior Hurling Championship Round One
Clough-Ballacolla took an early two point lead thanks to points from Stephen Bergin and a Picky Maher free, but Abbeyleix hit-back with Colm Walsh and an Eoghan Fennelly free. Maher and Dayne Peacock traded points before Aidan Corby edged Clough-Ballacolla into a one-point lead with ten minutes played.
Abbeyleix roared into life two minutes later when Jamie Coffey got a flick on Eoghan Fennelly's tempting ball across the square to lift the only green flag of the day and give them the lead. Clough-Ballacolla closed the gap to a point through Maher, but Abbeyleix compounded their lead with points from Peacock and Enda Rowland - the latter and former Poc Fada champion scoring from his own puck out with the aid of a stiff breeze.
Points from Maher (3) and Eoin Doyle were returned by Colm Walsh, Peacock, Fennelly, Rory McEvoy and Eoin Reilly as Abbeyleix led by four points heading into the final five minutes of the half.
Clough-Ballacolla narrowed the gap to two points before going in at the break with a brace of frees from Picky Maher and Aidan Corby's third of the half to see them trail 1-11 to 0-12 at the interval.
The second half proved to be less of a contest as the wind-assisted Clough-Ballacolla dominated.
They emerged from the break and scored the first eight points of the half without reply to retake the lead, and they never looked back. Four points from Picky, two from Aidan Corby and singles from Mark Hennessy and Jordan Walshe had them in a commanding position.
Abbeyleix reopened their account through a Fennelly free, but points from Willie Dunphy and Tom Delaney increased the Clough-Ballacolla lead further.
Abbeyleix managed just two more through Jamie Coffey and Eoin Reilly as Clough-Ballacolla romped home with points from Jordan Walshe (2), Robbie Phelan and John Dwyer to see them comfortably past the Abbeyleix challenge.
*See Tuesday's Leinster Express Sport for full coverage
Scorers: Stephen 'Picky' Maher 0-12 (0-9 frees), Aidan Corby 0-4, Jordan Walshe 0-3, Stephen Bergin, Eoin Doyle, Mark Hennessy, Willie Dunphy, Tom Delaney, Robbie Phelan and John Dwyer 0-1 each.
Team: Danny Hanlon; Diarmuid Conway, Darren Maher, Eoin Doyle; Michael McEvoy, Lee Cleere, Ronan Broderick; Tom Delaney, Aidan Corby; Willie Dunphy, Jordan Walshe, Sean Corby; Mark Hennessy, Stephen Maher, Stephen Bergin. Subs: Robbie Phelan for Hennessy (46 mins), Brian Corby for Broderick (47 mins), John Dwyer for S Corby (56 mins).
Scorers: Jamie Coffey 1-1, Eoghan Fennelly 0-3 (0-2 frees, 0-1 65), Dayne Peacock 0-3, Enda Rowland (0-1 free, 0-1 puck out), Eoin Reilly (0-1 free) and Colm Walsh 0-2 each, Rory McEvoy 0-1.
Team: Enda Rowland; Oisin Carroll, Alan Lynch, Aaron Carroll; Barry Walsh, Jake Cranny, Mark Cahill; Declan Phelan, Rory McEvoy; Colm Walsh, Eoghan Fennelly, Dayne Peacock; Eoin Reilly, Jamie Coffey, Ciaran Byrne. Subs: Ciaran Carroll for C Walsh (44 mins), Stephen Thompson for Peacock (44 mins), Daniel Coffey for McEvoy (52 mins), David Walsh for O Carroll (56 mins).
REFEREE: Alan Doheny (Castletown)