Despite this being a very tight affair in the first half, with Donie Brennan rolling back the years for Arles-Killeen, Emo’s younger outfit powered on in the second half to victory.
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Emo’s centre-forward Nigel Murphy, who would finish with an impressive tally of 2-4, had a goal chance on the offset. Good teamwork from James Hilliard, Jack Owens and Darren Strong resulted in Murphy’s chance, but he pulled it wide.
Niall O’Rourke opened the scoring for Arles-Killeen, and Donie Brennan doubled that advantage with a score off his trusty left boot.
Emo replied very well, scoring the next four. Darren Strong opened their account, before Murphy atoned for his earlier miss with three nice points from play, showcasing his pace and skill.
After brilliant defending from Arles-Killeen, Donie Brennan scored his second on the counter-attack for them, and the corner-forward levelled with super score. Brennan received the ball and struck straight over despite pressure from Emo defenders.
Darren Strong got Emo back in front with a lovely score off his left, but two points from Brennan, sandwiched between one from Sean O’Shea put Arles-Killeen back ahead.
Paul Lawlor left one it with free, and Jack Owens grabbed the equaliser for Emo just before the break, after he broke forward at pace.
Lawlor opened the scoring for Emo in the second half, as he sold Joe Mulhare a trademark dummy before he fisted over the bar.
Jason Enright replied with a free, but Arles-Killeen failed to score until the last few minutes, as Emo took full control.
Jack Owens, who will be involved with Laois U-20’s on Saturday away against Carlow, got Emo back in front after he picked up a breaking ball, charged forward, and turned on his left and placed over.
Nigel Murphy’s first goal came after a fine move involving Owens, Stephen Norton and Rorie Meredith, as Murphy bundled the ball to the net.
James Hilliard then punched over Michael Leigh’s bar after some strong running from wing-forward Owens. Hilliard then turned provider, as he held the ball up well, before offloading to Stephen Norton, and the Longford native placed over.
Emo looked to have being dealt a blow when Shane Murphy received a black card, but it was almost a blessing in disguise. Liam Kitchen, who had been substituted at half-time, was brought back on, and scored Emo’s second goal.
Owens and Murphy points brought Emo’s advantage to eleven, before Arles-Killeen finally returned to the scoreboard, with two Brennan frees and one point from play from Conor Keigthley.
However, Emo would wipe those three points out with Murphy soccer-style finishing to the net for them.
Scorers: Nigel Murphy 2-4, Jack Owens 0-3, Liam Kitchen 1-0, Paul Lawlor (0-1 free) and Darren Strong 0-2 each, Stephen Norton and James Hilliard 0-1 each
Team: Niall Gorman; Patrick Dunne, James O’Rourke, Matthew Coman; Cian Langford, Brian Gorman, Shane Murphy; Darren Strong, James Hilliard; Stephen Norton, Nigel Murphy, Jack Owens; Rorie Meredith, Paul Lawlor, Liam Kitchen. Subs: Liam Crowley for Kitchen (10 mins), Dylan Langford for Kitchen (half-time), Kitchen for S Murphy (39 mins, black card), David Gorman for Norton (51 mins)
Scorers: Donie Brennan 0-7 (0-2 frees), Niall O’Rourke, Sean O’Shea, Jason Enright (free) and Conor Keigthley 0-1 each
Team: Michael Leigh; Thomas McWey, Joe Mulhare, James Mahon; Cathal Moran O’Brien, Dermot Julian, Enda O’Rourke; Shane Julian, Niall O’Rourke; Conor Keigthley, John Mahon, Sean O’Shea; Donie Brennan, Ian Scully, Jason Enright. Subs: Aidan O’Rourke for Enright (51 mins)
REFEREE: Joe Brennan (Crettyard)