St Paul's strike early to claim Laois JFC honours against Ballyfin

Andrew Egan

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Andrew Egan

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sport@leinsterexpress.ie

St Paul's strike early to claim Laois JFC honours against Ballyfin

The St Paul's team which defeated Ballyfin on Saturday. Pic: Denis Byrne.

Three first half goals from St Pauls allowed them to build a lead that Ballyfin, despite an improved second half performance, couldn’t come back from.

St Paul's 3-7

Ballyfin 2-6

The game kicked off with fireworks, as both sides struck for early goals. St Pauls’s goal came as a result of incisive running from the talented Emma Lawlor, as she laid it on a plate for Shannon Costello. Ballyfin hit straight back after they were awarded a penalty, and Niamh O’Rourke made no mistake from the spot.

Emma Lawlor and Eadaoin O’Neill swapped points, before Lawlor again turned provider, as she chipped a ball over the top of Ballyfin’s defence for Denise Lawlor, and she rounded goalkeeper Aoife McEvoy to place into an empty net.

Emma Lawlor then got on the score sheet with a point, but two Sinead O’Rourke frees cut the deficit to two. However, Shannon Costello grabbed another goal before the break, as St Pauls went in with a sizeable advantage.

Rebecca Balfe and Sinead O’Rourke traded scores at the beginning of the second period, before St Pauls were handed a boost, as Niamh Crowley’s re-entered the field after being sin-binned earlier.
Another bursting run from Emma Lawlor resulted in a white flag being waved, before she added her fourth point of the day to make it 3-5 to 1-4 in St Pauls’s favour.

Ballyfin looked down and out at that stage, but credit to them for making it a contest right until the end. Edel Gilligan played a give and go with Odie Fitzpatrick, and finished coolly for Ballyfin’s second goal. Emma Lawlor placed over a free for St Pauls, but Sinead O’Rourke and substitute Michelle Lynch split the posts to close the gap to three.

However, Denise Lawlor scored the insurance point, as St Pauls ran out deserving champions, and will now make the transition to the intermediate ranks for next year, where they will hope to kick on once again.

ST PAUL'S

Scorers: Shannon Costello 2-0, Emma Lawlor 0-5 (0-1 free), Denise Lawlor 1-1, Rebecca Balfe 0-1.

Team: Sinead O’Rourke; Maeve Owens, Anne Lawlor, Zoe Keegan; Aoife Langford, Niamh Crowley, Emily Gleeson; Isabelle O’Toole, Emma Murphy (C); Rebecca Balfe, Shannon Costello, Louise Gorman; Kerrie Costello, Denise Lawlor, Emma Lawlor. Subs: Cassie Dunne for K Costello (29 mins), Clodagh Brogan for Owens (29 mins), Kate Tynan for Gorman (37 mins), Alannah O’Toole for Gleeson (49 mins)

BALLYFIN

Scorers: Sinead O’Rourke 0-4 (0-3 frees), Niamh O’Rouke (pen) and Edel Gilligan 1-0 each, Eadaoin O’Neill and Michelle Lynch 0-1 each.

Team: Xoife McEvoy; Aobha Bergin, Cathy Kane, Aine O’Rourke; Rena Duff, Sarah Bergin, Rachel Wheeler; Siobhan Fitzpatrick, Niamh O’Rourke; Eadaoin O’Neill, Odile Fitzpatrick, Sinead O’Rourke; Helena Dempsey, Marie O’Rourke, Edel Gilligan. Subs: Yvonne O’Neill for N O’Rourke (20 mins), Michelle Lynch for A O’Rourke (38 mins)

Referee: Brendan Hickey (Graiguecullen)