Action from the Laois SFC Round 1 clash between Ballyroan Abbey and Emo at O'Moore Park on Tuesday evening. Photo: Alf Harvey
In what was another thrilling meeting between these two sides after their drawn game last week, Ballyroan Abbey emerged from O'Moore Park with a narrow one point victory over Emo after a controversial finale tonight.
Ballyroan Abbey 1 - 10
Emo 0 - 12
Laois Shopping Centre Senior Football Championship Round 1 - Replay
In a game marred by late controversy with a string of yellow, red and black cards as tempers tempted to boil over, Ballyroan Abbey kicked the final score of the game 11 minutes from the end as a tense finish ensued.
Ballyroan Abbey wasted no time in getting their noses in front in this fixture, MJ Tierney sending over a close range free in the opening minute and, as Emo had done in this same tie last week, they went on to score a goal in the initial minutes.
Marty Scully roamed forward with the ball and laid it off to Diarmuid Whelan who breezed through the Emo defence before unleashing a rocket into the top corner with two minutes on the clock.
Emo hit the next three points on the bounce through a brace of Paul Lawlor frees and well-taken point from Nigel Murphy to erase their slow start. Ballyroan kept in front with points from Shaun Murphy and beautifully curled effort from Scott Conroy, while Emo kept within a point through Nigel Murphy and Darren Strong at the midpoint of the half .
Ballyroan Abbey increased their cushion to three with a Tierney free closely followed by Diarmuid Whelan's first white flag of the evening as we entered the final five minutes of the half.
Both sides hit one more point apiece before the interval with Lawlor trading a free with a Tierney 45 to leave the score set at 1-6 to 0-6 - the exact same half-time score as when they met last weekend, except with Ballyroan Abbey leading.
The second half proved to be a tense encounter with little to separate the sides.
Ballyroan Abbey reopened the scoring thirty seconds after the restart when Tierney's shot blazed over the crossbar from close in. Emo replied through a Jack Owens free from 40 metres, but Ballyroan Abbey stayed four points ahead with a Whelan free.
Emo began to get on top from here and rattled off the next three through Owens, Stephen Norton and Nigel Murphy to be back within a point with 15 minutes to go.
Tierney sent over a free for Ballyroan Abbey ten minutes from the end, but Emo instantly replied with two of their own through James Hilliard and Paul Lawlor to draw level with 51 minutes on the clock.
Ballyroan edged ahead for what would be the final time three minutes later with MJ Tierney sending over what would ultimately be the winning point after turning back onto his trusty left boot.
With five minutes of injury-time played, the final 11 minutes of the game were shrouded with debated officiating decisions. Finbarr Crowley saw the line for controversial second yellow card, as did MJ Tierney, while Darren Strong and Shane Murphy picked up black cards with a host of others seeing yellow in separate incidents.
Emo had an opportunity to force extra-time with a with a Jack Owens free in the fifth minute of injury-time, but his effort sailed wide of the right-hand upright as Ballyroan advance to the next stage.
*See Tuesday's Leinster Express Sport for full coverage
Scorers: Michael Tierney 0-6 (0-3 frees, one ’45), Diarmuid Whelan 1-2 (0-1 free), Shaun Murphy and Scott Conroy 0-1 each.
Team: Andrew Bonham; Mark Cahill, Gavin Tynan, Cian Moffitt; Aaron Carroll, Michael Brennan, Jamie Whelan; Cathal Doyle, Shaun Murphy; Marty Scully, Scott Conroy, Ciaran Carroll; MJ Tierney, Diarmuid Whelan, Padraig McMahon. Subs: Ciaran Byrne for Moffitt (BC, 26 mins), John Rodgers for C Carroll (48 mins), Ruairi Dunne for M Brennan (65 mins).
Scorers: Paul Lawlor 0-4 (0-3 frees), Nigel Murphy 0-3, Jack Owens 0-2 (frees), Darren Strong, Stephen Norton and James Hilliard 0-1 each.
Team: Niall Gorman; Paddy Dunne, James O'Rourke, Liam Crowley; Shane Murphy, Brian Gorman, Johnny Booth; Darren Strong, James Hilliard; Stephen Norton, Nigel Murphy, Jack Owens; Rorie Meredith, Paul Lawlor, Finbarr Crowley. Subs: Cian Langford for Meredith (26 mins), David Gorman for Booth (56 mins), Christopher Gleeson for Strong (BC, 58 mins), Thomas Scully for S Murphy (BC, 60 mins).
REFEREE: Seamus Mulhare (The Heath)