Action from the Laois SHC 'A' Round 1 clash between Ballyfin and Clonaslee St Manman's at O'Moore Park . Photo: Denis Byrne
Ballyfin have begun life in the second tier of Laois’ hurling championships the way they hoped, as a Gareth Dunphy goal with ten minutes to go helped them pick up the points over Clonaslee St Manman’s.
Ballyfin 1 - 11
Clonaslee St Manman's 0 - 12
Laois Shopping Centre Senior ‘A’ Hurling Championship Round 1
Darragh Connolly, one of four Connolly’s on the Ballyfin side, opened the scoring in O’Moore Park. A further five minutes passed before our next score, as the rain came pelting down in Portlaoise.
Laois U-20 player Liam Senior equalised for Clonaslee St Manman’s, but on the resulting Ballyfin puck-out, Darragh Connolly slotted over his second.
Ballyfin went two to the good after Gareth Dunphy slotted over from an Allan Connolly free, but Clonaslee St Manman’s had a five minute spell where they were awarded three frees and full-forward Ciaran Hyland slotted them all over the crossbar.
That saw Clonaslee St Manman’s take to the front, and Liam Senior then fired over another one for his side. Two more Ciaran Hyland frees had Clonaslee St Manman’s into a healthy four point cushion with ten minutes left in the half.
Ballyfin finally got back on the board thanks to a converted placed ball from Laois star Eanna Lyons, who had missed one only a minute previous from a longer distance. Liam Senior grabbed another for Clonaslee St Manman’s, but Lyons struck over his second free to leave three separating the sides once more.
Senior then launched over his fourth of the half, and his finest one at that. Darragh Connolly got a point back for Ballyfin just before Brochan O’Reilly blew his whistle for half-time, with Clonaslee St Manman’s up by three.
Upon the resumption, Clonaslee St Manman’s Ciaran Hyland sent a free wide, while Ballyfin’s David Connolly also shot wayward of the posts, his sides seventh of the day.
Tommy Tynan got Clonaslee St Manman’s off the mark for the second half after he tapped over from a lovely weighted Patrick Hyland ball. Gareth Dunphy fired straight back for Ballyfin down the other end though, and then the men wearing green and white went on a run.
Scores from the hurls of Gary Hoffmeister (two) and Eanna Lyons (two) had Ballyfin back in front for the first time since early in the first half. Clonaslee St Manman’s were misfiring up front, but they did level it again thanks to a point from a Senior free.
Senior put Clonaslee St Manman’s back in front thanks to an accurate 65’ effort, but Ballyfin grabbed the first goal of the game through Gareth Dunphy. The wing-forward sensed danger after a short dropping ball was sent in, and Dunphy rebounded effort went into the back of the Clonaslee St Manman’s net.
The last ten minutes were tense and nervy, with both Senior and Lyons missing 65’s and frees for their sides. In the end Ballyfin held on, but improvements are required from both sides if they have any hopes of challenging for the Senior ‘A’ hurling championship.
*See Tuesday's Leinster Express Sport for full coverage
Scorers: Gareth Dunphy 1-2, Eanna Lyons 0-4 (0-3 frees), Darragh Connolly 0-3, Gary Hoffmeister 0-2.
Team: Dermot McGill; Cillian Rowney, Max Connolly, Louis Duff; Adam Walsh, Allan Connolly, Sean O’Neill; Brendan O’Neill, David Connolly; Gareth Dunphy, Eanna Lyons, Darragh Connolly; Gary Hoffmeister, Eamonn Duff, James Finn. Sub: Richie Downey for E Duff (58 mins).
CLONASLEE ST MANMAN'S
Scorers: Liam Senior 0-6 (0-1 free, 0-1 65’), Ciaran Hyland 0-5 frees, Tommy Tynan 0-1.
Team: Conor Gorman; Jonathon Carroll, Conor Hyland, Michael Hyland; Glen McEvoy, Willie Young, Rory Conroy; Liam Senior, Diarmuid Conroy; Tommy Tynan, John Rowney, Ger Reilly; Patrick Hyland, Ciaran Hyland, Bob Downey. Sub: Conor McEvoy for C Hyland (46 mins).
REFEREE: Brochan O’Reilly (Portlaoise)