Arles-Kilcruise's David Conway takes on Ballylinan's Alan Farrell in their Laois SFC Round 2 clash. Photo: Denis Byrne
James Redmond’s goal with just five minutes remaining helped 14-man Ballylinan through to the next round of the Laois Senior Football Championship over a stubborn Arles-Kilcruise in a replay.
Ballylinan 2 - 6
Arles-Kilcruise 0 - 9
Laois Shopping Centre Senior Football Championship Round 2 Qualifier - Replay
There was a penalty goal from Ross Munnelly in the last-minute of the first game between these sides for Arles-Kilcruise, and there was a goal within the first minute of this replay. However, it went Ballylinan’s way.
Cathail Dunne reached to pluck out midfielder John Kealy’s long ball in, and Dunne delivered a cool finish from his catch by side-footing it past Ciaran Lawlor cooly.
We had to wait eight minutes for another score, but Ballylinan’s Andy McEvoy knocked over a free to continue their solid start. Arles-Kilcruise began to slowly get back into the game though, with Chris Conway opening their account through a free, before his brother David Conway burst in from the wing to fist over.
Arles-Kilcruise flying wing-back Cialann Mulhall had a half-chance soon after, as the ball broke kindly to him in space, but the angle proved a little tough, and he fired into the side-netting.
Ballylinan centre-back Alan Farrell fired over a beauty from out near the sideline to get them back on the board, but they failed to score in the last quarter of the half. Chris Conway and Ross Munnelly points from placed balls left the minimum in it approaching half-time.
Chris Conway had another goal chance for Arles-Kilcruise, as he played a give and go with Caomhann Brennan, but his low effort was expertly saved by Tom Wright in the Ballylinan net.
Stephen Miller looked like he might have another snuff at goals, as he jinked past his man, but he opted to fist the ball over and take the safety of the point.
As we entered stoppage time Ballylinan’s Ciaran Farrell was involved in an off the ball incident with David Conway, and referee Brendan McCann was left with no option but to send off the Ballylinan attacker.
Ballylinan were dealt another blow when their corner-forward Andy McEvoy was forced off through injury. They did draw first blood though, as Cathail Dunne floated over a lovely weighted 45’.
Dunne stuck over another three minutes later, this time from a free. He then made it three on the trot by scoring one from play to put his side three in front.
Arles-Kilcruise were struggling to get anything going against 14-man Ballylinan up front, and Larry Wall’s men were kept scoreless for the first sixteen minutes of the second-half.
David Conway finally ended their drought by firing over a nicely struck point, and despite not scoring this half, Arles-Kilcruise were still within two.
Neither side took control after though, as both were guilty of some very poor and unnecessary mistakes. However, when nothing looked on, Laois legend Ross Munnelly, who had been well marshalled throughout by Ballylinan, fired over a score from nowhere to leave the minimum in it.
Despite the good job they had done on Munnelly, Ballylinan left him with the most space they had all game in the last ten minutes, and he expertly fired over the equaliser.
However, Arles-Kilcruise got dealt a hammer blow when James Redmond buried Ballylinan’s second goal into the back of the net. The ball broke to him after Alan Farrell’s shot had struck the uprights, and Redmond made no hesitation with the finish.
Munnelly left two in it again with a free, but despite Arles-Kilcruise’s effort for a goal, they came up short, and Dunne fisted over the last score for Ballylinan.
Ballylinan now play Courtwood in round three, while Arles-Kilcruise take on Crettyard in the relegation semi-final.
*See Tuesday's Leinster Express Sport for full coverage
Scorers: Cathail Dunne 1-4 (0-1 45’, 0-1 free), James Redmond 1-0, Andy McEvoy (free) and Alan Farrell 0-1 each.
Team: Tom Wright; Conor Behan, Oisin Leonard, Kevin Byrne; Cathal Leonard, Alan Farrell, Robbie Dohoher; John Kealy, Jamie Farrell; Andy McEvoy, Ciaran Fennessy, Seamus Lacey; Ciaran Farrell, Cathail Dunne, James Redmond. Subs: Richie Ryan for Donoher (24 mins), Pauraic McEvoy for A McEvoy (32 mins, inj), Larry Kealy for Fennessy (60 mins)
Scorers: Ross Munnelly 0-4 (0-2 frees), Chris Conway (frees) and David Conway 0-2 each, and Stephen Miller 0-1 each.
Team: Ciaran Lawlor; Sean Meaney, Colm Munnelly, Anthony McElroy; Cialann Mulhall, John P Conway, Conall Brennan; Stephen Miller, Kevin Meaney; Chris O’Donovan, David Conway, PJ Lawlor; Chris Conway, Caomhann Brennan, Ross Munnelly. Subs: Brendan Conway for O’Donovan (41 mins), Dermot Nolan for Lawlor (48 mins), Jason McLoughlin for McElroy (52 mins).
REFEREE: Brendan McCann (Portarlington)