Castletown-Slieve Bloom pulled off a shock on Friday evening, decisively beating last years’ finalists Borris-Kilcotton by five points, who will undoubtedly look back ruefully at some of the fifteen wides they hit; nine in the first half alone.
Laois SHC Round 2 Qualifier
Castletown Slieve Bloom 2-19
The intensity of the opening few minutes was very much with Castletown-Slieve Bloom who got off to a flying start, three points from the on form Brendan Reddin and a point from main man Ben Conroy put them 0-4 ahead.
Borris-Kilcotton’s PJ Scully got his sides first point with seven minutes on the clock, when he went for goal from a close in free and it rebounded off the Castletown-Slieve Bloom goalkeeper, and Scully slotted over the bar. John Wall added to their tally with a point following good play in the forward line.
Brian Stapleton, Owen Bergin and captain Noel Delaney defended well for Borris-Kilcotton but the pace of the Castletown-Slieve Bloom forwards proved difficult to curtail. Brendan Reddin and Ben Conroy were the only scorers for Castletown-Slieve Bloom in the opening half, totting up twelve points between them but Ryan Mullvaney and Martin Phelan looked constant threats up front and were on hand to set up Reddin and Conroy.
Borris-Kilcotton continuously misjudged the ball they were sending into the full forward line; often sending it too long which contributed to their comprehensive wide total. PJ Scully kept them within grasp of their opposition scoring four points in the remainder of the half and Scully, along with Joseph Campion, set Kevin Finlay up for a superb point, punishing a poor puck out by the Castletown-Slieve Bloom ‘keeper.
This saw Borris-Kilcotton trailing by five points at half time; 0-12 to 0-7. Their scores in the opening half weren’t as well orchestrated as those of Castletown-Slieve Bloom; a lot of ball sent into the forwards was hit with hope compared to the decisive passes into the Castletown-Slieve Bloom forwards.
Borris-in-Ossory-Kilcotton started the second half with a glimpse of the form that earned them a spot in the final last year. The backs defended tighter and their delivery of ball of the forwards was much more accurate than in the opening half. Points from John Wall, PJ Scully and a great individual score from Neil Foyle, catching the ball from the puck out and scoring under pressure saw their side claw their way back into the game.
Ryan Mullaney and Brendan Reddin interrupted this scoring spree with a point each but Borris-in-Ossory-Kilcotton continued to press on. Patrick Whelan came up from wing back to score a fine point, Neil Foyle added another while PJ Scully converted two more frees which closed the gap to a point to cheers from the Borris-in-Ossory-Kilcotton supporters.
This was as close as Borris-in-Ossory-Kilcotton got to Castletown-Slieve Bloom as they responded emphatically to this revival with Finion Cuddy sending a long ball into Ben Conroy in the full forward line, whose hand flicked it into the back of the net. PJ Scully converted two frees from a tight angle to keep the pressure on but when Brendan Reddin set Martin Phelan up for his well taken goal, which swung the game in Castletown-Slieve Bloom’s favour, made it evident that it wasn’t to be Borris-in-Ossory-Kilcotton’s day as they trailed 2-16 to 0-16 with nine minutes remaining.
Fionan Cuddy punished a poor Borris-in-Ossory-Kilcotton puck out sending the ball over the bar. Borris-in-Ossory-Kilcotton substitute Robert Jones added a consolation point and Scully had a chance of a late goal for his side but it rebounded and Foyle pointed.
SCORERS – Castletown-Slieve Bloom: Ben Conroy 1-10 (0-6 frees), Brendan Reddin 0-6, Martin Phelan 1-0, Ryan Mullaney, John Gaughan, Finion Cuddy and James Hooban 0-1 each. Borris-Kilcotton: PJ Scully 0-12 (0-9 frees), Neil Foyle 0-3, John Wall 0-2, Kevin Finlay, Patrick Whelan and Robert Jones 0-1 each.
CASTLETOWN-SLIEVE BLOOM: John-Paul Bennett; Evan Cuddy, Gearoid Gaughan (yellow card), Enda Conroy, Tom Delaney, Paul Cuddy, Declan Keenan, Finion Cuddy, James Hooban, Ryan Mullaney, Martin Phelan, Loughlin Hegarthy, Brendan Reddin, Ben Conroy, Kevin Conroy (yellow card). Subs: John Gaughan for Loughlin Hegarthy (42 mins), Seamus Lyons for John Gaughan (51 mins), John Lowry for Declan Keenan (57 mins).
BORRIS-KILCOTTON: Eoin Fleming, Noel Delaney, Owen Bergin, Stephen Finan, Jim Fitzpatrick, Matthew Whelan, Patrick Whelan, Colm Stapleton, Kevin Finlay, John Wall, Joseph Campion, PJ Scully, Daire Quinlan, Neil Foyle, Brian Stapleton. Subs: Robert Jones for Daire Quinlan (42 mins).
Referee: Anthony Stapleton (Rathdowney Errill)