When these sides met last month in their group fixture it was Stradbally who took the spoils, but Graiguecullen exacted revenge for that with a solid win in the league semi-final in O’Moore Park on Sunday night.
ACFL DIVISION 1
In what was a niggly affair from the get go, Graiguecullen took the lead early on through a brace from Colm Doran although Stradbally briefly hit back with a typically neat Colm Kelly goal followed by a Cormac Delaney point. Stradbally’s revival was abruptly halted when Graigue found the back of the net through the boot of centre forward Colm Doran who fired home from 10 yards in the tenth minute. A second goal five minutes later stretched Graigues advantage to five when corner forward Ambrose Doran challenged goalkeeper Derek Beale, and in the ensuing tussle full back Paul Begley inadvertently punched the ball into his own net.
Stradbally hit back with two points in a row, a converted free from Tom Shields and a fine long range effort from busy midfielder Darragh Mulhall to reduce that deficit. Graigue finished the first half with the score of the game.
Half back Ian Fleming, who was impressive throughout sent a long ball up the stand side to full forward Barry Brennan who collected under pressure and neatly moved it to Mark Doogue who duly despatched from 35 yards giving Graigue a 2-4 to 1-3 lead at the break.
Two early second half points from Stradbally, a pointed free from Colm Kelly and a second long range effort from Mulhall got within touching distance of the Carlow border men but that would be as close as Stradbally would get for the remainder of the hour. Two excellent individual points from Danny O Reilly were the pick of the second half scores which ensured Graiguecullen never relinquished their hard earned lead running out 2-10 to 1-8 winners.
SCORERS - Stradbally: Colm Kelly 1-3 (0-2 frees), Darragh Mulhall, Tom Shiels (frees) 0-2 each, Cormac Delaney 0-1; Graiguecullen: Colm Doran 1-2, Paul Begley (1-0 og), Danny O’Reilly, Barry Brennan (0-1 free) 0-2 each, Brian McGuire, Mark Doogue, Shane O’Neill, Lee Murphy 0-1 each
STRADBALLY: Derek Beale; Damien Murphy, Paul Begley, Liam Knowles; Jamie Kavanagh, Eamon Conlon, Colm Begley; Darragh Mulhall, Darren Maher; Alan Delaney, Padraig Langton, Conor Delaney; Tom Shiels, Colm Kelly, Cormac Delaney. Subs: Ger Byrne for C Beale (18mins), Greg Ramsbottom for A Delaney (45mins), Liam Delaney for Conlon (48mins), Paddy Fitzpatrick for Maher (56mins), Jody Dillon for Langton (56mins)
GRAIGUECULLEN: Patrick Scully; Danny O’Reilly, Mark Timmons, Chris Hurley; James Bolton, Bobby Doyle, Ian Fleming; Michael Hand, Brian McGuire; Shane O’Neill, Colm Doran, Jamie Parr; Mark Doogue, Barry Brennan, Ambrose Doran. Subs: Lee Murphy for Doogue (38mins), Luke Alsysbury for C Doran (46mins), Terry Haughney for Doyle (56mins), Wayne Humphries for Timmons (56mins)
Referee: Eddie Kinsella (Courtwood)
See next week’s Leinster Express for a full report on the ACFL Division 1 Final