Mark goes the ex­tra Mi­ley!

A per­fect GAA ad­ver­tise­ment

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - SPORT -

LARAGH’S Ju­nior ‘ A’ foot­ball champions: The gift that keeps on giv­ing. That’s the ad­ver­tis­ing logo I’d use if Decky Byrne’s men want to market them­selves over the com­ing months.

They pro­vided a thrilling fin­ish to their county fi­nal with Kil­coole and they left it late to send Laois rep­re­sen­ta­tives, Kil­ca­van, pack­ing from Joule Park, Aughrim, last Saturday af­ter­noon, but, my word, they did it in some style.

Watch­ing Laragh play foot­ball this weather is so en­ter­tain­ing and de­li­cious that you can imag­ine some­one say­ing to the for­mer Rath­new boss back in Lyn­ham’s of Laragh – in a French ac­cent – “Decky, with these end­ings you are re­ally spoil­ing us”.

Myles Con­way and John Nolan had the crowd on their feet in Joule Park, Aughrim, in the dy­ing mo­ments of the county fi­nal and it was Mark Mi­ley, Keith Lawler and that man John Nolan who de­liv­ered in spades against a phys­i­cal Kil­ca­van. Nolan is get­ting so used to clinch­ing vic­to­ries that one of these days he’ll pull a box of Milk Tray out of his nicks and say to the Laragh crowd, “And all be­cause the Laragh sup­port­ers love tense end­ings”.

And he’d play the part of the dar­ing hero with aplomb, to be fair; big heroic head on him and the right boot of an an­gel. Wouldn’t any dot­ing father be happy to see his beloved daugh­ter ar­riv­ing home from the disco with that bucko on her arm. In years to come when these mag­i­cal days are but dis­tant mem­o­ries and peo­ple are dis­cussing their ad­ven­tures it will be like that old Harp ad and Sally O’Brien. “And John Nolan, and the way he might win a match for you”.

This was no laugh­ing mat­ter for Laragh on Saturday, though. This Kil­ca­van out­fit brought a se­ri­ous phys­i­cal­ity to the game that se­verely tested a very weary Laragh squad. In­sert hang­over ad­ver­tise­ment here: Beech­ham’s Re­solve: For the Morn­ing After.

It was ob­vi­ous (and only right) that the cel­e­bra­tions had went on for quite some time fol­low­ing the win over Kil­coole, but it’s tes­ta­ment to the bot­tle and spirit (see what I did there) in this Laragh squad that they were able to hang on to Kil­ca­van for the ma­jor­ity of the game and then pro­duce a fan­tas­tic fin­ish to clinch vic­tory and take an­other step in their first foray into Le­in­ster.

With 20 min­utes on the clock, Kil­ca­van were look­ing fairly tasty with their Snap, Crackle and Pop style of foot­ball. Their very handy cen­tre-half for­ward Oliver Dick­son opened the scor­ing and it was Laragh’s Keith Lawler who brought the ‘Just Do It’ at­ti­tude to the game and he fired over three points as the Wick­low champions strug­gled to con­tain the Kil­ca­van men and they trailed 0-04 to 0-03 with the 20th minute ap­proach­ing.

And then Kil­ca­van broke down the field and lovely feet from mid­fielder Barry Man­gan took him around Steve Olo­han and his fed Ja­son Ma­her who clev­erly dropped the ball and poked it home past James Nolan to make it 1-04 to 0-03.

A John Nolan free was their last score of the half and three min­utes after the restart the Laois rep­re­sen­ta­tives were look­ing good at 1-06 to 0-04.

How­ever, there’s al­ways one, as Tayto once told us, and un­for­tu­nately for Kil­ca­van, they lost half­back Sean Man­gan to a sec­ond yel­low and this was a fairly ma­jor turn­ing point in this game.

Laragh kept in touch with the Laois men for the next 20 min­utes with points from Nolan and then came the mo­ment of magic, the Im­pos­si­ble is Noth­ing mo­ment. Damien Han­lon takes a quick free to Myles Con­way, Con­way feeds Keith Lawler who slips a tasty ball to the fly­ing Mark Mi­ley and he races in and buries the ball past the ad­ven­tur­ous and highly en­ter­tain­ing Kil­ca­van goal­keeper Derek O’Con­nell.

Laragh’s tails are up now, be­cause they’re worth it, and Keith Lawler splits the posts and the sides are level. And then Laragh win a free out on the stand side­line. Nolan goes short to Con­way who re­turns to Nolan and the half-for­ward ram­pages down on the Kil­ca­van goal and fists over the bar for the lead score.

Back come Kil­ca­van but their race is run be­cause once Laragh pop, they can’t stop.

Laragh march on to face the West­meath champions in two weeks. The whole county will be hop­ing they can keep the Fin­ger Lickin’ Good ad­ven­ture going.

Laragh, prob­a­bly the best Laragh in the world!

Scor­ers – Laragh: John Nolan 0-05 (2f), Keith Lawler 0-03, Mark Mi­ley 1-00, Damien Han­lon 001.

Kil­ca­van: Ja­son Ma­her 1-00, Ro­nan Gorry 0-02, Sean Man­gan 0-01, Michael Ber­ming­ham 0-01, Manus Dunne 0-01, Gearoid Treacy 0-01, Oliver Dixon 0-01, Michael Tarpey 0-01.

Laragh: James Nolan; Bren­dan Ward, Peter Mer­ri­gan, Ciaran Byrne; Craig McCoy, Gary Cullen, An­drew Kenny; Davie McDon­ald, Damien Han­lon; John Nolan, Steve Olo­han, Dan Power; Myles Con­way, Mark Mi­ley, Keith Lawler. Subs: Jamie Cullen for C Byrne (H/T), Liam McEvoy for D Power (H/T).

Kil­ca­van: Derek O’Con­nell; John McEvoy, De­clan Conroy, David Ryan; Sean Man­gan, Michael Ber­ming­ham, Manus Dunne; Barry Man­gan, Gearoid Treacy; Ja­son Ma­her, Oliver Dixon, Ro­nan Gorry; Gor­don Lalor, Michael Tarpey, Evan Hunt. Subs: Pa­trick Gorry for G Lalor (26min), Paul Bolton for J Ma­her (H/T), John Car­roll for O Dixon (42min), Robert O’Neill for M Tarpey (50min), Rory O’Con­nell for K McEvoy (60min).

Ref­eree: David Hickey (Car­low)

Laragh’s Steve Olo­han has his legs taken away by the Kil­ca­van de­fence.

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