MIDLANDS PARK HOTEL 15 'A' FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL
St Joseph’s cruised to a comfortable victory over Stradbally Parish Gaels in the 2021 U15 Football Final at a Sunny Laois Centre of Excellence on Saturday afternoon. They lead from start to finish in the game and despite being level at the first water break, it was the closest Stradbally Parish Gaels got. St Joseph’s carried a three-point lead into the half time break but a dominating performance in the second half, particularly in the final quarter powered them over the line to claim the silverware.
St Joseph’s 4-15
Stradbally Parish Gaels 0-8
St Joseph’s started the better of the sides and they were first off the mark courtesy of their captain and man of the match Darragh Farrell. Tadhg Dineen doubled their lead after a superb run from full back finished with a brilliantly taken point.
Stradbally eventually opened their account 10 minutes in thanks to full forward Fionn McEvoy. They did have a huge goal chance midway through the first quarter when Oran Darcy broke through on goal, but St Joseph’s goalkeeper Sean Rowan was alert to palm the effort away for a ‘45’. Further points for Stradbally from McEvoy and a David Donohue free left it level at the first water break.
The second quarter was all one-way traffic as St Joseph’s began to win their battles in all sectors of the field. Sam Lynch pointed for them soon after the water break and they did have the ball in the net soon after when Reese Halloran put the ball into the net, but it was ruled out for a square ball. Despite enjoying the majority of possession in the second quarter, they carried only a three point lead into half time after two frees from Farrell had increased their lead to three.
To their credit, Stradbally did keep in touch after half time break and two quick fire points from Oran Darcy reduced the deficit to just two points with 37 minutes on the clock. Farrell and Donohue traded points before the decisive moment in the game. Farrell turned provider this time and some neat work involving himself and Callum Hogg set Conor Murphy up to fist to the net to make it a six-point game at the second water break.
Stradbally never recovered from the hammer blow and the fourth quarter was all about St Joseph’s. Some of their play was unstoppable and they began to really dominate. Their fitness levels showed, and their support play was incredible. Two Callum Hogg point just after the second water break all but ended the game as a contest and ended any hopes of a Stradbally comeback.
Ben Murphy, Farrell and Conor Murphy all pointed for St Joseph’s as points on the scoreboard began to rack up. St Joseph’s went on a goal rage right at the death as they scored three goals in the final stages. Farrell got two, both excellent goals while Conor Murphy also picked up his second when his first attempt fell kindly to him and he made no mistake second time around. Fionn McEvoy got a consolation free at the end for Stradbally Parish Gaels but it was St Joseph’s day in Portlaoise as they powered over the line in emphatic style to bring home the silverware.
St Josephs: Darragh Farrell: 2-7 (0-4F), Conor Murphy 2-1, Ben Murphy 0-3, Callum Hogg 0-2, Sam Lynch, Tadhg Dineen 0-1 each.
Stradbally Parish Gaels: Fionn McEvoy 0-3 (0-1F), David Donohue 0-2 (0-1F), Oran Darcy 0-2, Adam Murray 0-1.
St Josephs: Sean Rowan; Evan Brophy, Tadhg Dineen, Charlie Crehan; Robbie Murphy, Callum Hogg, Rian Lafford; Eoin Johnson, Logan Brennan; Sam Lynch, Darragh Farrell, Jack Deegan; Ben Murphy, Conor Murphy, Reese Halloran. Subs: Bobby Rowan for Reese Halloran (55), Dylan Harrington for Evan Brophy (57), Seamus Lynch for Ben Murphy (57), Shane Brennan for Jack Deegan (62).
Stradbally Parish Gaels: Anthony Skelly; Cormac Deegan, PJ Daly, Ben Dillon; Rhys Kelly, Blaine Corcoran, Conor McDonald; Lia McDonald, Eoin Shortall; Oran Darcy, Pauric Ramsbottom, David Donohue; Cathal Buggie, Fionn McEvoy, Liam Daly. Subs: Ronan McNamara for Ramsbotom (55), Colm Dundun for Oran Darcy (57), Jack Conlon Delaney for Lia McDonald (63). Adam Murray for Daly (64)
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