LARAGH LAND THE CUP
JUNIOR A kingpins Laragh added another cup to their cabinet with a comprehensive victory over Junior B champions Rathnew on Saturday.
They were that little bit better all over the field with their attacking unit far superior without making it count on the scoreboard.
It was a game that never really got into a flow with lots of stopping and starting and missed chances adding to its stagnation.
Laragh opened up the Rathnew defence at will with the likes of John Nolan getting on a lot of ball and causing problems while full forward Mark Miley led Alan Clarke on a merry dance of Bray creating space for his teammates to exploit.
They never capitalised on this however with a ball dropped or a pass going astray meaning the chance was lost.
Rathnew were beaten by their own undoing many times with passes going astray and gifting possession back to Laragh.
James Hunter won a couple of balls at full forward but Laragh full back Peter Merrigan was more than equal to the task at hand which was made much easier midway through the first half when Keith Doyle was given a straight red card. Outnumbered and with poor service Rathnew found it difficult to get a score.
They registered the first point of the game, Nigel Darragh converting a free won by Hunter, but Laragh hit back with 1-02 by the sixth minute.
John Nolan kicked a free when Steve Olohan was fouled before Olohan got in on the act by splitting the posts following a Gary Cullen interception to set up the attack.
From the kick out Laragh won the ball and Mark Miley gained possession outside the 45 with Alan Clarke for company. Miley launched a ball into the space he vacated and Keith Lawlor pounced on the opportunity for the game’s first goal.
There wasn’t another score for sixteen minutes as the game turned scrappy and both teams, Laragh especially, were guilty of missing chances.
Hunter inexplicably let the ball out of his grasp after a beautiful catch and turn left Merrigan for dead while Laragh kicked a number of chances wide.
In the midst of it all Keith Doyle was given a straight red card as things got heated between the teams.
They were also adamant that a goal should have stood which referee Mattie Dowling waved wide.
Rathnew goalkeeper John Sayer was beaten by a shot that came back off the legs of Bobby Dignam, acting as an umpire, and then knocked into the net.
Dowling said it was going wide and therefore gave a kick out whereas the Laragh management were certain it was either going to hit the post or going into the net before the ball hit Dignam.
That created another flash point and brought a bit of life back into the game when it fallen into a lull and Josh Graham kicked a point to get the scoreboard back working.
Laragh responded with 1-01, corner forwards Lawlor and Stephen Curley doing the damage. Graham converted a free just before half time and Laragh led by 2-03 to 3 points at half time.
The second half was another low scoring affair and once Rathnew failed to launch a reasonable comeback it was all pretty elementary for Laragh to win.
They were a little more clinical with the chances and substitute Liam McEvoy got the third goal of the game.
He took a shot from the 21 that almost certainly was for a point but it looped over the Rathnew defence on the line into the top corner.
It is the last match of a successful year for both teams and this Laragh team will certainly look back on 2017 with joy as one of the greatest years in their history.
They’ll give the Intermediate championship a good rattle next year.
Scorers – Laragh: Keith Lawlor 1-01; Stephen Curley, Liam McEvoy 1-00 each; John Nolan (1f) 0-02; David McDonald, Steve Olohan, Mark Miley 0-01 each.
Rathnew: Josh Graham (2f) 0-03; Nigel Darragh (f), James Hunter 0-01 each. LARAGH: James Nolan; Ross Doonan, Peter Merrigan, Ciaran Byrne; Craig McCoy, Gary Cullen, Andrew Kenny; David McDonald, Damien Hanlon; John Nolan, Steve Olohan, Aaron Lynham; Stephen Curley, Mark Miley, Keith Lawlor. Subs: Myles Conway for Aaron Lynham, Liam McEvoy for Stephen Curley (both HT); Dan Power for Steve Olohan (40 mins); Alan Smyth for Ciaran Byrne, Brendan Ward for John Nolan (both 52 mins).
RATHNEW: John Sayer; Chris Murphy, Alan Clarke, Eric Doyle; Luke Corcoran, Lee Kavanagh, James Doyle; Tommy Doyle, Robert Byrne; Josh Graham, Mick Nolan, Bryan Murphy; Keith Doyle, James Hunter, Nigel Darragh. Subs: Gavin Byrne for Mick Nolan (BC), John Healy for Luke Corcoran (both 35 mins); Dale Franey for Nigel Darragh (37 mins); Jamie White for Bryan Murphy (52 mins).
Laragh celebrate their Swan Cup success.
Mick Hagan and Ray Barry present the Swan Cup to Laragh captains Peter Merrigan and Damien Hanlon.
Mark Miley on the ball for Laragh.
Laragh’s Damien Hanlon is chased by Lee Kavanagh of Rathnew.