Laois Premier Intermediate Hurling Championship

REPORT: Ballyfin save their Premier Intermediate status with hard fought win

Colt Shanahoe will have to fight it out in a relegation play off with Mountrath

Andrew Egan

Reporter:

Andrew Egan

Email:

sport@leinsterexpress.ie

REPORT: Ballyfin save their Premier Intermediate status with hard fought win

Colt Shanahoe still have some work to do to maintain their Premier Intermediate status

The recently amalgamated Colt-Shanahoe outfit have endured a tough first year of Championship together, and a defeat to Ballyfin on Sunday morning means they will be forced to face into a Premier Intermediate relegation final. Ballyfin, on the other hand, are safe and while they won't make a semi final, they can now turn their full focus to football knowing their Premier Intermediate hurling status is safe.

Ballyfin 1-15

Colt-Shanahoe 1-11


Eamonn Duff delivered the first score of the game for Ballyfin from a free, as Ballyfin played with a decent breeze behind them in the first half. Colt-Shanahoe stormed back though, as Henry Keyes unleashed a rocket of a shot into the top right corner of the goal.

Ballyfin replied well to the early setback, with Darragh Connolly scoring their first point from play, while Eamonn Duff knocked over another free. Henry Keyes fired over another great score for Colt-Shanahoe, this time a long-range point, to nudge them back ahead.

Ballyfin were starting to get on top though, as George Lanham expertly caught a long-range puck-out from his goalkeeper, Sean Lowry, and turned on a sixpence to split the posts. Eamonn Duff pointed another placed ball, before Rhian Bergin responded for Colt-Shanahoe with a lovely point from play.

Ballyfin continued to control the contest though, as they picked off four points in succession. Midfielder Darragh Connolly grabbed two excellent scores from play, while centre-back James Finn sent one over from inside his own half.

Eamonn Duff got another from a free, and while Rhian Bergin stopped the rot for Colt-Shanahoe with a free down the other end, Duff nailed a 65’ to give Ballyfin a 0-10 to 1-3 lead at half-time.

Colt-Shanahoe got off to an ideal start as well, with Rhian Bergin sending over a free inches above the bar. James Keyes almost got in for a second Colt-Shanahoe goal, but Ballyfin goalkeeper Sean Lowry stood up strong to the effort.

David Connolly, who was impressive the last day out in Ballyfin’s defeat to Portlaoise, fired over Ballyfin’s opening score of the second-half. However, Colt-Shanahoe seemed to sense nerves throughout the Ballyfin team, and two Rhian Bergin points from placed balls left only two points separating the sides.

Eamonn Duff, who was steady from frees for Ballyfin, settled them down a bit with a superb effort from distance against the wind. Colt-Shanahoe were slowly reeling Ballyfin in though, and another two points from their main man Rhian Bergin meant there was only one in it now.

George Lanham got a vital score for Ballyfin before the second water break, and Ballyfin still led 0-13 to 1-9. The momentum was with Colt-Shanahoe in the second-half though, and Rhian Bergin landed another free upon the resumption of play.

Eamonn Duff hit back with a point for Ballyfin after some strong running from Allan Connolly, but a quick puck-out from Colt-Shanahoe keeper Darragh Hiney allowed Jack Delaney to cut it to just a single point once more.

Duff and Bergin exchanged frees, before Ballyfin struck for a crucial goal near the end through substitute Adam Walsh.

BALLYFIN

Scorers: Eamonn Duff 0-8 (0-6 frees, 0-1 65’), Darragh Connolly 0-3, Adam Walsh 1-0, George Lanham 0-2, David Connolly and James Finn 0-1 each


Team: Sean Lowry; Ciaran Rowney, Richie Downey, Cillian Rowney; Max Connolly, James Finn, Allan Connolly; David Connolly, Darragh Connolly; Eamonn Duff, Dermot McGill, Sean O’Neill; Louis Duff, George Lanham, Darragh Lyons. Subs: Gary Hoffmeister for D Lyons (HT), Adam Walsh for McGill (43 mins), Brendan O’Neill for L Duff (45 mins), Shane Conroy for O’Neill (57 mins)


COLT-SHANAHOE

Scorers: Rhian Bergin 0-9 (0-7 frees), Henry Keyes 1-1, Jack Delaney 0-1

Team: Darragh Hiney; Eoghan Brennan, Brian Guilfoyle, Ger Doolan; Aaron McGovern, Dayle Bergin, Shane Bowe; Robert Delaney, Jack Delaney; Henry Keyes, James Keyes, Cian Moffitt; Mark McDonald, Brian McDermot, Rhian Bergin. Subs: Owen Joyce for Moffitt (51 mins), Dylan Cuddy for McDonald (59 mins)


REFEREE: Anthony Stapleton (Rathdowney-Errill)