JP Nerney breaks out of defence for The Heath against John Rodgers, Ballyroan Abbey in last year's SFC at O'Moore Park. Picture: Alf Harvey.
Laois Shopping Centre ACFL Division 1A
Ballyroan Abbey 4-8
The Heath 1-13
Ballyroan Abbey got back to winning ways with a four-point away win to The Heath on Wednesday evening, scoring four goals along the way with Padraig McMahon firing 2-3 in the second-half.
Having won in the opening round with a good performance against Portarlington, Ballyroan Abbey then fell to consecutive defeats to Graiguecullen and Portlaoise. Their last fixture was played just two days prior, a heavy twelve-point defeat at home to Portlaoise.
The Heath had been on a two-win streak with wins against St Joseph’s and Arles-Kilcruise, but Ballyroan Abbey’s four goals broke their one-hundred per-cent record through first-half goals from Scott Conroy and Dylan Cuddy before former Laois servant Padraig McMahon bagged a brace at the start and end of the half.
Ballyroan Abbey opened the proceedings within the first minute, Padraig McMahon’s crossfield pass allowing Diarmuid Whelan to split the uprights via Scott Conroy. The Heath replied through centre-back James Phelan and Conor Booth did likewise directly after from a great pass from Brian Ging to put them ahead.
Ballyroan Abbey then hit two goals in as many minutes, Diarmuid Whelan supplying Conroy for the opener as he shot low past the goalkeeper. Dylan Cuddy followed up a minute later with a dipping shot into the top corner from distance to go ahead on a scoreline of 2-1 to 0-2 just five minutes into the game.
The Heath went on to outscore the visitors by five points to one, Mark Dowling hitting two following some nice passages of play while Chris Bergin, Robbie Ging and Conor Booth’s second brought them to within a point of Ballyroan.
Mark Dunne’s goal after twenty-five minutes brought his tally to 1-2 for the half and pushed them into the lead approaching the break. Chris Bergin and Jamie Whelan exchanged late points before Ballyroan Abbey were denied by the crossbar, leaving The Heath’s two point lead intact at the interval.
Ballyroan Abbey made a blistering start to the second-half, raiding The Heath’s defence for 1-3 within five minutes of the restart. Conroy set the ball rolling with the first point and then went on to provide the assist to McMahon’s goal, punishing a poor kick-out. McMahon added a further two points to give them a four-point cushion.
Chris Bergin and substitute Andrew Booth swapped scores with McMahon and Ciaran Carroll, and The Heath even had a late surge that closed the gap to two points with a Chris Bergin brace - the last of which was a brilliant effort from a tight angle.
Ballyroan Abbey finished strong with McMahon fisting to the net from close-range after a clever one-two with Whelan to seal the result, despite a late consolation point from Leon Holland.
Scorers: Padraig McMahon 2-3, Scott Conroy 1-1, Dylan Cuddy 1-0, Diarmuid Whelan 0-2 (0-1f), Jamie Whelan and Ciaran Carroll 0-1 each.
Team: Andrew Bonham; Cian Moffitt, Gavin Tynan, Ruairi Dunne; Jamie Whelan, Aaron Carroll, Robert Wall; Shaun Murphy, Cathal Doyle; Ciaran Carroll, Diarmuid Whelan, Dylan Cuddy; Enda McWey, Scott Conroy, Padraig McMahon. Subs: Paudie McDonald for McWey, Mark McDonald for Cuddy, Colin Kinsella for McMahon.
Scorers: Mark Dunne 1-2, Chris Bergin 0-5 (0-2f), Chris Booth 0-2, James Phelan, Robbie Ging, Andrew Booth and Leon Holland 0-1 each.
Team: Eoin Delaney; Gary Smith, Aidan Bergin, Alan Whelan; Mark Dowling, James Phelan, Conor Booth; James Nerney, Denis Booth; Dylan Kavanagh, Brian Ging, Mark Dunne; Chris Bergin, Shane Forde, Robbie Ging. Subs: Andrew Booth for Kavanagh, Seamus Mulhare for Forde, Jack Delaney for Dunne, Gary Smith for Aidan Bergin, Shane Booth for Robbie Ging, Leon Holland for Chris Bergin.
REFEREE: John Murphy (Crettyard)