Action from the Laois SFC Round 2 clash between St Joseph’s and The Heath at O’Moore Park. Photo: Denis Byrne
Second-half strikes from Aidan Brennan and Adam Campion helped St Joseph’s advance past a spirited The Heath side and into Round 3 of this year’s Senior football championship, while The Heath now face into another relegation semi-final.
St Joseph’s 2 - 10
The Heath 0 - 12
Laois Shopping Centre Senior Football Championship Round 2
Chris Bergin got The Heath off to a lively start after he floated one over with not even a minute on the clock. Bergin did see a free go wide shortly after though, and James Kelly replied with a nicely weighted 45’ though for St Joseph’s. They took the lead then when the returning Brian Daly slotted over a free.
The Heath responded strongly, with Bergin adding another two points to his tally from frees. St Joseph’s failed to capitalize on two scoreable opportunities after that, with Brian Daly and Dylan Doyle both registering wides.
Teenage talent Josh Lacey brought his shooting boots with him for St Joseph’s though, as he split the posts twice in quick succession, with his first effort one of the scores of the match from quite a distance in tough conditions.
The Heath hit form again though, with Brian Ging leveling it after a swift counter-attacking move from The Heath saw them catch St Joseph’s with not enough bodies back. Bergin’s right boot kicked another two scores, both from placed balls, as The Heath went two to the good.
Brian Daly replied, curling over his second free, but The Heath goalkeeper Joe Walshe, who saved a penalty in the last round against Portarlington, charged up the field to fire over a free.
Scores proved few and far between, particularly towards the end of the first-half because of the rain-soaked conditions. That meant The Heath held a two point cushion on a score-line of 0-7 to 0-5 at the break.
St Joseph’s needed a fast start to the second-half, and while Evin Keane got in for a point for The Heath at the throw-in, St Joseph’s struck back with a goal.
Conor Kealy’s effort dropped just under Joe Walshe’s crossbar, but Noel Garvan, who was brought on as a half-time substitute, played it across the square to the onrushing corner-back Aidan Brenna, who volleyed soccer-style to the net.
The Heath midfielder Jimmy Nerney replied for The Heath, but St Joseph’s then carved out another goal chance. This time Michael Keogh fired over the crossbar from close-range though.
Josh Lacey kicked his third point of the game for St Joseph’s, with his attempt just creeping in between the uprights. Everything was going against The Heath at this stage, and Brian Ging then received a black card from Michael Tarpey.
It went from bad to worse as well for The Heath, as St Joseph’s struck for goal number two. A fine team move involving Michael Keogh and Josh Lacey resulted in Adam Campion finishing to the net.
Jimmy Nerney had a half-chance down the opposite end for The Heath, but his blazing effort went well wide of the goalmouth.
Bergin and Dylan Doyle exchanged scores then, before The Heath were awarded a lifeline. St Joseph’s keeper Aaron Cooney jumped on top Andrew Booth, and Michael Tarpey waved a penalty.
However, Cooney atoned for his error with a brilliant save from the spot from The Heath’s Bergin.
Joe Walshe (45’) and Andrew Booth left three in it, but St Joseph’s finished with a Dylan Doyle insurance score to send them through to Round 3.
Scorers: Chris Bergin 0-5 (0-3 frees), Joe Walshe 0-2 (0-1 free, 0-1 45’), Brian Ging, Evin Keane, Andrew Booth, Jimmy Nerney and Daithi Carroll 0-1 each
Team: Joe Walshe; Neil Keane, Denis Booth, Dylan Kavanagh; Mark Dowling, Alan Whelan, James Phelan; Jimmy Nerney, Shane Forde; Daithi Carroll, PJ Daly, Brian Ging; Ciaran Booth, Evin Keane, Chris Bergin. Subs: Liam Kinsella for B Ging (44 mins, black card), Robbie Ging for Kavanagh (54 mins), Aidan Bergin for Phelan (55 mins), Andrew Booth for Daly (55 mins)
Scorers: Josh Lacey 0-3, Aidan Brennan and Adam Campion 1-0 each, Brian Daly (frees) and Dylan Doyle 0-2 each, James Kelly (45’), Jack Lacey and Michael Keogh 0-1 each
Team: Aaron Cooney; Aidan Brennan, Cathal Fleming, Tom Dunne; Jack Lacey, James Kelly, Donal Ramsbottom; Adam Campion, Brian Daly; Mikie Dempsey, Dylan Doyle, Bernard Wheatley; Josh Lacey, Conor Kealy, Michael Keogh. Subs: Noel Garvan for Wheatley (HT), Colin Campion for Fleming (HT), Noel Leech for C Campion (49 mins)
REFEREE: Michael Tarpey (Kilcavan)