Impressive Rathdowney-Errill defence powers side to victory

Borris Kilcottons' Joseph Campion on the break as Rathdowney Errills' Joe Fitzpatrick challenges. Photo Denis Byrne.
After a first-half shoot-out where they were level six times and were scoring at a point a minute for the first 14 minutes, Rathdowney-Errill took control in the second-half to run out eight point winners.

After a first-half shoot-out where they were level six times and were scoring at a point a minute for the first 14 minutes, Rathdowney-Errill took control in the second-half to run out eight point winners.

Laois Shopping Centre Senior Hurling Championship Rd 1

Rathdowney/Errill 1-18

Borris-Kilcotton 1-13


Defending was non existent in the opening 30 minutes as the forwards had the freedom of O’Moore Park in a game that had more the feel of a challenge match than the opening round of the championship.

Rathdowney-Errill held a two point lead at the break but the intensity went up several notches soon after the restart when Neil Foyle goaled for Borris-Kilcotton. They added two points in quick succession to take a 1-12 to 0-14 lead after 35 minutes.

That was as good as it got for last year’s beaten finalists as they only added one further point for the remainder of the game. Led by Joe Fitzpatrick, Brian Campion and James Corrigan, the Rathdowney-Errill defence took complete control while at the other end Ross King was in supreme form scoring 1-10 in total with his goal turning the game decisively back in favour of his side.

Borris-Kilcotton did hit the crossbar with ten minutes to go from a Daire Quinlan shot but that was a rare foray forward as they were comprehensively outplayed in the closing 20 minutes.

Rathdowney-Errill will be concerned that King was the only player who scored more than once in the game but if their defence remains as mean as it did in the second-half, they will have a solid platform to push for their fifth title since 2006.

The first-half was a free for all for the forwards and after a free scoring opening seven minutes the sides were locked at 0-4 apiece with points raining over from all distances and angles.

Rathdowney-Errill pulled away with the next three points from Alan Delaney, Ross King and Colm Stapleton but Borris-Kilcotton responded with five in a row from Joseph Campion and two frees apiece from Matthew Whelan and PJ Scully.

The scoring spree was interrupted when Colm Stapleton needed treatment for an injury after an accidental clash of heads which forced the Borris-Kilcotton man off.

Rathdowney-Errill took control again before the break scoring five of the last six points leaving them 0-12 to 0-10 ahead after a breathless opening period.

The second-half started in the same vein as the first with scores galore keeping the scoreboard operator on their toes. Ross King opened the scoring with a point but Borris-Kilcotton responded emphatically with a goal from Neil Foyle who side stepped Noel Brennan before slotting the ball to the back of the empty net. After a Ross King free, Joseph Campion and PJ Scully pointed for Borris-Kilcotton to put them in front but from there to the finish, it was effectively one way traffic.

The Rathdowney-Errill defence got on top in every position and they returned, with interest, any ball that came their way.

The incredible accuracy of the first-half also dropped with the sides finishing with 21 wides between them.

The game turned decisively after a clever quick free from Patrick Purcell caught the Borris-Kilcotton defence napping. Ross King took full advantage, cutting through the remaining defenders before driving the ball to the back of the net.

Scores were hard to come by at each end but Daire Quinlan had a chance to get Borris-Kilcotton back in it but his shot his the crossbar.

After Ross King and PJ Scully exchanged frees, Rathdowney-Errill held a slender 1-15 to 1-13 entering the closing minutes, but they rounded off the win with the last three points with King, Shane Cleere and John Purcell finding the target.

Scorers: Rathdowney-Errill: Ross King 1-10 (0-7f, 0-1’65); Darren King 0-1; Shane Dollard 0-1; James Corrigan 0-1; Alan Delaney 0-1; Patrick Purcell 0-1; Brian Campion 0-1f; Shane Cleere 0-1; John Purcell 0-1. Borris-Kilcotton: PJ Scully 0-6 (0-4f); Joseph Campion 0-3; Neil Foyle 1-0; Matthew Whelan 0-2f; John Wall 0-1; Patrick Whelan 0-1.

Rathdowney-Errill: Andrew Kavanagh; John Keane, Brian Campion, Vincent Cleere; Alan Delaney, James Corrigan, Joe Fitzpatrick; Liam O’Connell, Patrick Purcell; Darren King, Shane Dollard, Enda Meagher; John Purcell, Ross King, Shane Cleere. Subs: Tadgh Dowling for Darren King (HT), Paddy Bergin for Alan Delaney (63mins).

Borris-in-Ossory/Kilcotton: Eoin Fleming; Steven Finan, Eoin Bergin, Noel Delaney; Patrick Whelan, Matthew Whelan, Jim Fitzpatrick; Colm Stapleton, Kevin Finlay; Neil Foyle, Joseph Campion, John Wall; Robert Jones, Daire Quinlan, PJ Scully. Subs: Danny Fitzpatrick for Colm Stapleton (16mins), Bill Meade for Steven Finan (blood) (28mins), Ciaran Comerford for John Wall (53mins)

Referee: Brochan O’Reilly (Portlaoise)