A scoring burst of 1-2 without reply in the first seven minutes set the foundation victory for a Clonaslee victory on Thursday evening in Rosenallis.
Football Laois Shopping Centre IFC Rd 1
Clonaslee St Manman’s 2-12
Having comprehensively beaten Ballyfin in the league campaign, Clonaslee went into Thursday’s came as favourites and a 2-8 to 0-1 half time lead supported this prediction.
Clonaslee won the throw up and utilised their corner forwards kicking a long diagonal ball into space to the impressive John Rigney who put the ball low and hard into the left hand corner for the game’s first goal.
He followed this up with a point a minute later and Glen McEvoy pointed a free to put Clonaslee ahead by 1-2 before Ballyfin’s first, and only score of the half, came from Louis Duff in the ninth minute.
Clonaslee very much dominated the opening half while Ballyfin failed to get any foot hold. Ballyfin’s evening went from bad to worse in the 13th minute when centre back Ciaran Fingleton was given a black card for a tackle on Dermot Conroy in the square; Glen McEvoy slotted the resulting penalty into the net giving Clonaslee a considerable margin which they built on for the remainder of the half.
John Rigney and Ger Dunne were in fine scoring form and were a constant thorn in the sides of the Ballyfin defenders, kicking some fine scores including one notable point from Rigney under immense pressure from Ballyfin defenders.
The Clonaslee defence insured that any pressure they were put under was quickly closed down and Ballyfin saw a number of their shots go wide or drop short as a result. As half time drew close, spectators who had hoped for a close contest between the neighbours were disappointed with a very one sided 2-8 to 0-1 scoreline.
Similar to the beginning of the opening half, Clonaslee won the throw up but solid Ballyfin defending won back the ball and midfielder James Finn converted a long range point for the first score of the half.
Dan Molloy added to this with a point for his side after good play by Eoin Dunphy. The introduction of Jason Horan to the Ballyfin side proved to be an effective strategy and he won much possession in midfield and passed effectively. Ballyfin wides persisted in the second half however and often the wrong pass was executed which ultimately proved costly. Ballyfin outscored their rivals by three points in the second half but Clonaslee’s strong opening half ensured that victory was never in doubt.
SCORERS - Clonaslee: Glen McEvoy 1-4 (1-0pen, 0-4f) John Rigney 1-3, Ger Dunne 0-3, Michael Hyland and Niall Hogan 0-1 each. Ballyfin: Louis Duff, James Finn and Darragh Connolly 0-2 each, Dan Molloy and George Lanham 0-1 each.
CLONASLE ST MANMAN’S: PJ Fitzpatrick; Shane Conroy, Willie Murray, Mark McEvoy; John Molloy, Conor McEvoy, Dermot Conroy; Darren Hogan, Seamus Rosney; Ger Reilly, Willie Young, Michael Hyland; John Rigney, Ger Dunne, Glen McEvoy. Subs: Niall Hogan for Ger Reilly, Patrick Downey for Michael Hyland.
BALLYFIN: Paul Houlihan; Barry Roche, Alan Strong, Mick McHugh; Eoin Dunphy, Ciaran Fingleton, George Lanham; Cathal Phelan, James Finn; Gareth Dunphy, James Moore, Dan Molloy; Darragh Connolly, Louis Duff, Sean Moore. Subs: Ciaran Duff for Ciaran Fingleton (BC), Jason Horan for Mick McHugh, David Brophy for Dan Molloy, Mick McHugh for Eoin Dunphy.
Referee: Brendan McCann (Portarlington)