Action from the Laois SHC Round 1 clash between Rathdowney-Errill and Ballinakill at O'Moore Park . Photo: Denis Byrne
After suffering defeat in last year’s final, Rathdowney-Errill began their charge toward another Bob O'Keefe Cup with a comprehensive dispatching of Ballinakill in the opening round of the Laois Senior Hurling Championship at O'Moore Park this evening.
Rathdowney-Errill 1 - 21
Ballinakill 0 - 6
Laois Shopping Centre Senior Hurling Championship Round 1
Rathdowney-Errill came fast out of the blocks in this fixture, scoring five unanswered points to start this year’s championship. There were four different scorers as well, with Rathdowney-Errill showcasing their quality across the pitch.
Mark Kavanagh slotted over two frees, while Joe Fitzpatrick, Paddy Purcell and Jack Kelly also got their names on the score-sheet during that period of play.
Ballinakill did begin to get going though, as they cut into the early deficit thanks to Eamon Jackman (free) opening their account, and then the stylish Cha Dwyer split the posts twice in quick succession.
Jack Kelly and Mark Kavanagh hit back for Rathdowney-Errill, and while Cha Dwyer got another for Ballinakill, it would be their last score of the half. Rathdowney-Errill took full advantage of Ballinakill having no outlet up front because their defensive setup.
Ross King opened his account for this year’s championship, before his Laois senior colleague Kavanagh fired over another two points. His first was a free, and his second could’ve easily been a goal had it not been well touched over by Ballinakill keeper Paul Simms.
James Ryan then had another Rathdowney-Errill goal opportunity, but again Simms reacted instantly to the shot, and it was cleared wide. However, Paddy McKane did get another for Rathdowney-Errill, and a Kavanagh free before the break saw them lead 0-12 to 0-4 at half-time.
Rathdowney-Errill continued where they left off after the break, with Paddy McKane getting them up and running, and then Kavanagh added another two to his tally, one a free and the other from play.
Kavanagh punished further Ballinakill indiscipline after Paddy McKane was taken down by Ballinakill’s Shane McEvoy, who received a booking for the challenge.
Cha Dwyer saw three shots of his go wide of the posts, as Ballinakill were yet to get off the mark in the second half after ten minutes of play.
Tadgh Dowling grabbed another for Rathdowney-Errill, before finally Cha Dwyer returned Ballinakill to the board after twenty-five minutes without a score.
Eamon Jackman added another from a placed ball, but with eight minutes of normal time to go, Rathdowney-Erilll fired in a super goal. Eric Killeen passed to Paddy Purcell with his feet, and Purcell picked out the run of Ross King, who dispatched to the net from an acute angle.
Further scores followed from Kavanagh, Brandon McGinley and Paddy Purcell put further icing on the score-line for Rathdowney-Errill.
*See Tuesday's Leinster Express Sport for full coverage
Scorers: Mark Kavanagh 0-11 (0-8 frees), Ross King 1-1, Jack Kelly, Paddy Purcell and Paddy McKane 0-2 each, Joe Fitzpatrick, Tadhg Dowling and Brandon McGinley 0-1 each.
Team: Noel Brennan; Jimmy Corrigan, Brian Campion, John Purcell; Joe Fitzpatrick, Jack Kelly, Eric Killeen; Paddy McKane, John Keane; Mark Kavanagh, James Ryan, Tadgh Dowling; Paddy Purcell, Ross King, Brandon McGinley. Subs: Damien Madden for Keane (HT), Ray Bowe for Kelly (31 mins, blood sub), Jack Kelly for Bowe (34 mins), Ray Bowe for Madden (46 mins).
Scorers: Cha Dwyer 0-4, Eamon Jackman 0-2 frees.
Team: Paul Simms; Eoin Simms, Brian O’Mara, William Barry; Shane McEvoy, Seamus Dwyer, Padraig Lalor; Daniel Bergin, MJ Dunphy; Cha Dwyer, Eamon Jackman, Gearoid Lynch; Edward Dwyer, Evan Dunne, Conor Delaney. Subs: Michael Moran for McEvoy (49 mins), Dylan Byrne Gray for Lynch (50 mins).
REFEREE: George Boyham (Clough-Ballacolla)