Laragh in control
GAELIC GAMES JUNIOR A FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Laragh 0-19, Newcastle 1-7: High-flying Newcastle’s unbeaten run in group 2 of the Roadstone Junior A football championship came to a sudden halt at Ashford on Tuesday evening last.
With former Wicklow Minor football manager Brian Doyle at the helm Laragh scored a convincing victory over the north Wicklow side.
Having recorded four straight wins, Newcastle entered this game as warm favourities to continue their winning ways. while Laragh were aiming to score their first victory having played a draw with Coolboy and Baltinglass in their previous games.
Played in ideal conditions this game saw the winners collect vital points to ease away from the relegation zone for the moment.
Emerging with a nine-point winning margin, Laragh were fully deserving of this victory, having led 0-10 to 1-3 at the break.
The opening minutes saw Stephen Conway and Gary Cullen score a point apiece while Newcastle replied with points through Adam Merryman and Vincent Kingston which saw the sides level after eight minutes.
After both sides missed scoring chances the winners hit a golden spell and with Gary Cullen and Ciarán Nolan taking control at midfield which resulted in them scoring five points in a row through top scorer Stephen Conway (3, one free) and singles from George Windsor and the impressive David McDonald which left the score 0-7 to 0-2 at the end of the first quarter.
A Newcastle rally saw centreforward J.P. Kelly solo through the Laragh defence to score the only goal of the game on 19 minute and the same player added a point in the 23rd minute which proved to be their last score of the half as the winners upped the tempo once more which saw veteran Richard Cullen, Christopher Merrigan and Stephen Conway add a point each which left the half-time score 0-10 to 1-3.
After the break substitute Graham O’Brien reduced the deficit with a point. At this stage the winners laid siege in the Newcastle half of the field and with Liam McEvoy and David McDonald and Stephen Conway causing havoc which enabled them to score four points in a row from Stephen Conway (2, one free) and singles from Christopher Merrigan and Liam McEvoy, while Newcastle responded with points from Shane Cloake and Graham O’Brien as the game entered its final quarter.
With both sides striving to achieve victory it was the winners who finished the stronger by adding a further five points from David McDonald (2), Stephen Conway (2, one free) and Liam McEvoy, while the losers replied with a point from JP Kelly which left Laragh worthy winners in a good all round team performance
With both clubs having completed their league section of the campaign the end result sees Newcastle advance to semi-finals while Laragh who have made steady progress under their new manager must wait on other results which will decide if they are safe from a relegation play-off.
Laragh: James Nolan; Brendan Ward, Peter Merrigan, Hugh Cullen; Andrew Kenny, Thomas Cullen, David Merrigan; Ciarán Nolan, Gary Cullen (01); David McDonald (0-3), Christopher Merrigan (0-2), Stephen Conway (0-9, five frees); George Windsor (0-1), Liam McEvoy (0-2), Richard Cullen (0-1). Subs. - Danny Devitt for George Windsor; Darren Bracken for Ciarán Nolan; Simon Byrne for Richard Cullen.
Newcastle: Ian Lucy; Ciarán Doyle, Garry McGee, Brian Connolly; Christian Muillgan, Paul McGee, Johnny O’Brien; Adam Merryman (0-1), Richard Merryman; Ronan Lyng, JP Kelly (1-1), Seán Ownes; Vincent Kingston (0-1), Damian O’Neill, Shane Cloake (0-2). Subs. - Graham O’Brien (0 -2) for Seán Ownes; Darren O’Brien for Vincent Kingston; Robbie Daly for Richard Merryman; Barry Minogue for Brian Connolly; Declan Conway fot Damian O’Neill.
Referee: Con O Ceadaigh (Kilcoole).