Ballyfin Gaels relegate Clonaslee St Manman's Gaels from Laois SFC

Brian Moss

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Brian Moss

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sport@leinsterexpress.ie

Ballyfin Gaels relegate Clonaslee St Manman's Gaels from Laois SFC

Ballyfin Gaels are safe for another year.

Clonaslee St Manman’s Gaels are heading to the intermediate ranks after losing out to Ballyfin Gaels in the battle of this year’s senior championship also-rans.

Ballyfin Gaels 2-13

Clonaslee St Manman's Gaels 1-12

Ballyfin were in control from start to finish but St Manman’s could still have snatched victory form the jaws of defeat, had they brought their shooting boots, but it would have been an injustice to a Ballyfin Gaels side who showed the superior quality throughout.

Ballyfin were quickest out of the blocks and were two up through Sean Moore inside the first four minutes. Clonaslee St Manman’s hit back with a brace of unanswered points from Patrick Hyland and Willie Young to level affairs by the eighth minute; however from here it was Ballyfin Gaels who took the initiative for the remainder of the first half.

Ballyfin Gaels struck the first of their two first half goals in the ninth minute. A kick out mix up from St Manman’s gifted possession to Darragh Connolly, who set up corner forward Louis Duff to smash home.

James Finn was proving impossible to mark for St Manman’s and a minute later he set up Duff to add a white flag to his green one from close range, flashing over from 20 yards.

Finn was on hand to point himself in the 22nd minute to give his side a 1-6 to 0-4 lead which rightly reflected his side’s first half dominance.

Goal number two arrived for Ballyfin in the 28th minute. Dual player Ben Conroy surged forward and had his goal bound effort blocked by Conor Gorman in the St Manman’s goal, only to see the rebound fired home from first half sub Luke Kerr. Kerr’s goal saw Ballyfin lead 2-7 to 0-5 at the break.

The introduction of Darren Hogan at half time certainly made a difference to St Manman’s and they looked far more urgent in the early stages of the second period. Back-to-back points in the 43rd and 44th minute from Glen McEvoy and a second from Willie Young gave their side some hope, and they were now trailing by 2-11 to 0-9.

Things got even better for Manman’s when they again hit back-to-back points, but this time punctuated this burst of scores with a goal in the 57th minute.

Hogan was again involved, winning primary possession before dispatching to McEvoy who found marauding half back Liam Murray. He showed good composer to crash home, putting thoughts of a grandstand finish smash-and-grab into St Manman’s supporters minds.

However It wasn’t to be and an excellent long range point from the impressive James Moore settled Ballyfin and saw them deservedly home on a final score line of 2-13 to 1-12.

The result means that it's Clonaslee St Manman’s Gaels who will be playing intermediate football next year, where, in an ironic twist of fate they could well be facing their Gaels partners from this year should Annanough prove victorious in the Junior 'A' final.

For Ballyfin Gales its relief all around and they will hope this year’s scare will be enough to spur them on to greater things next season.

BALLYFIN GAELS

Scorers: Louis Duff 1-3, James Moore 0-4 (0-3 frees), Sean Moore 0-3 (0-2 frees), Luke Kerr 1-0, James Finn 0-2, Ben Conroy 0-1.

Team: Robbie Foran; Ciaran Fingleton, Shane Farrell, Richie Downey; Ciaran Fennelly, George Lanham, Darragh Connolly; Nick Cosgrove, Ricky Quillinan; James Moore, Ben Conroy, Dan Molloy; Sean Moore, James Finn, Louis Duff. Subs: Luke Kerr for Molloy (12 mins, inj), Shane Conroy for Cosgrove (50 mins), John Lowry for Fingleton (50 mins), Alan Strong for Quillinan (54 mins, inj), Brian Dowling for Finn (60 mins, BC).

CLONASLEE ST MANMAN'S GAELS

Scorers: Glen McEvoy 0-4 (0-3 frees), Willie Murray 1-0, Elliott Scully (frees), Will Young, Paddy Hyland (0-1 free) 0-2 each, Diarmuid Conroy, Sean Dunne 0-1 each.

Team: Conor Gorman; Jack Owens, Ger Reilly, Diarmuid Conroy; Willie Murray, Willie Young, Marty Stapleton; John Scully, Shane Stapleton; Michael Hyland, Glen McEvoy, Niall Hogan; Elliott Scully, John Rigney, Paddy Hyland. Subs: Darren Hogan for S Stapleton (half time), Sean Condon for Owens (34 mins), Sean Dunne for Rigney (37 mins, BC).

Referee: Clifford Ward (Portarlington)