Sarsfields go the extra mile in Laois U-21 Championship thriller with Stradbally Parish Gaels

Sarsfields 3-13 Stradbally Parish Gaels 0-21

Andrew Egan

Reporter:

Andrew Egan

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sport@leinsterexpress.ie

Sarsfields see off Portlaoise in Laois U-21 Quarter-Final

ean Moore, Sarsfields retains possession

A thrilling game on Sunday afternoon between Sarsfields and Stradbally Parish Gaels saw Sarsfields edge themselves over the line to set up a final date with St Joseph's-Barrowhouse.


Sean Moore got Sarsfields off to a terrific start with two points, one from play and one a free. Stradbally Parish Gaels responded with four points unanswered. Eoin Buggie, Conor Whelehan and two from Tom Shiel put Stradbally Parish Gaels ahead. Stradbally Parish Gaels looked to have the beating of Sarsfields in most sectors of the pitch, even at this early stage.


A great score from Benny Lawlor was followed by a fantastic outside-of-the-boot free from Shiel. Stradbally Parish Gaels could have had a goal when Benny Lawlor ran through the Sarsfields defence, but Shane Dempsey pulled off a sublime save. The rebound fell to Sean Daly, who popped it over the bar.


Stradbally Parish Gaels went six clear with another Shiel free. Sean Moore minimized the gap back to four, with two points that mirrored each other. Both times he got the ball, turned sharply and shot over. Stradbally Parish Gaels pulled five clear with a second half point from Jack Deegan, after he fisted over a Tom Shiel free.


Sarsfields then grabbed the first goal of the game, as great build up play evolved into an easy finish for Sean Moore. Stradbally Parish Gaels replied with a point from Shiel, but Sarsfields would gain steam from their goal, as they fired four unanswered points.


Moore pointed over two frees, which sandwiched a Darragh Connolly point. Half-time substitute Jason Maher would give Sarsfields the advantage. A point from centre back Eoin Buggie was the first of three points for Stradbally Parish Gaels in response. Substitute Jamie Fenlon moved Stradbally Parish Gaels one clear, before Conor Whelehan extended it to two.


Sarsfields would again reply, this time with two points in a row. The first was a long range score from Max Connolly, followed by another Moore free. Stradbally Parish Gaels looked to have won it with two points from Geoff Kennedy and John Clancy, but Sarsfields again showed what they were made of, with another a goal.


A great run by Jason Maher was stopped inside the box, and Clifford Ward awarded the penalty. Up stepped Moore, and he converted calmly. Stradbally Parish Gaels went down the other end, with Shiel converting a free, which ushered the game to extra time.


Sarsfields began with a Moore free, and then what would prove to be the critical goal was scored by the brilliant Darragh Connolly, as he made a peerless run, and finished accuarately. Another point rapidly followed, Moore the scorer. Stradbally Parish Gaels ended the half with two points, Geoff Kennedy and Shiel on target.


Stradbally Parish Gaels began the second period of extra time with a Shiel point, which was followed with one from Liam Knowles. Gary Hofmeister then pointed from a difficult angle in response, and a point from Liam Knowles proved too late for Stradbally Parish Gaels.

STRADBALLY PARISH GAELS


Scorers: Tom Shiel 0-8 (0-6 frees), Conor Whelehan, Conor Stapleton, Eoin Buggie, Geoff Kennedy and John Clancy 0-2 each, Jack Deegan, Jamie Fenlon and Benny Lawlor 0-1 each.
Team: Jack Larkin; Conor Stapleton, Liam Knowles, Andy Daly; Sean Daly, Eoin Buggie, Conor Whelehan; Geoff Kennedy, James O’Connor; Michael Kennedy, Jack Deegan, Justin Lalor; Benny Lawlor, Tom Shiel, Sean Dundon. Subs: Jamie Fenlon for Dundon (40 mins), Colum Dunne for M Kennedy (45 mins), John Clancy for Lalor (48 mins), Charlie O'Brien for Lawlor (59 mins).


SARSFIELDS


Scorers: Sean Moore 2-9 (1-0 pen, 0-5 frees), Darragh Connolly 1-1 , Max Connolly, Jason Maher and Gary Hoffmeister 0-1 each.
Team: Shane Dempsey; Ethan Lawlor, Oisin Morris, Barry Conroy; Gareth Dunphy, David Connolly, Darragh Connolly; Max Connolly, James Hilliard; Evan Hunt, Jason Caffery, Cathal Cleary; Stephen Conroy, Sean Moore, Gary Hofmeister. Subs: Jason Maher for Hofmeister(half time), Conor Mangan for Caffrey (36 mins), Conor Comiskey for S Conroy (45 mins), Hofmeister for Maher (60 mins), Ben Conroy for Cleary (60 mins).

Referee: Clifford Ward (Portarlington)