Post-match brawl sours sweet Laragh victory
LARAGH showed that they are more than up for the challenge of this championship after claiming their second win on the spin up against Donard-The Glen in Hollywood on Sunday evening.
Last year’s Junior ‘A’ champions travelled up the Wicklow Gap in search of a second win after their narrow one-point victory over Ashford two weeks ago, however a brawl directly after the final whistle between both camps has tainted what was a fantastic victory for Decky Byrne’s side.
Tadhg Fennin’s Donard were looking for their first triumph after their draw against Carnew Emmets in Shillelagh.
Donard-The Glen posted the first score of the game with a beautiful 45 off the left boot of Alan Daly, who was the most prominent player for the Glen throughout.
Laragh hit the net after five minutes as David Miley fired past goalkeeper Mark Moore after a good pass from John Nolan.
The game was level a couple of minutes later as Brian Lennon and Colin Osborne pointed.
Donard had to settle for longrange point attempts in the early stages as Laragh’s defence were putting a lot of pressure on the attackers and regaining possession.
Donard were struggling in this period to string passes together.
Once Laragh had claimed back possession, they were very quick on the break with some rapid hand passing.
Laragh went two points up 10 minutes in as a John Nolan scored a free and David Miley fired over a beauty.
Damien Hanlon in the midfield was dictating a lot of the play in the middle of the park with his tall frame and strong running causing all sorts of problems for the opposition.
Completely against the run of play 16 minutes in, Donard scored a goal to make it 1-4 apiece.
A long run by Colin Osborne was not stopped by the Laragh defence, he eventually played the ball to Brian Lennon, who slotted the ball past James Nolan in the Laragh net.
Donard did kick five wides in the first half playing against the wind. They wasted some good opportunities to go into half-time in the lead.
John Nolan’s free taking has always been a strength in his game, and he showed that time and time again in the first half, scoring three from three attempts.
The game was fairly fiery in the opening period with many off the ball clashes not spotted by referee Brendan Furlong.
Donard did pull two points back again through full-forward Alan Daly to level it up before the break, though the last of these points was dubious as it looked to have gone just wide.
The game was anyone’s for the taking as referee Furlong sounded his whistle for the second half to begin.
In the opening seconds, Laragh scored two quick-fire points through Mark Miley and his namesake David to grasp the advantage.
They played some very attrac- tive football in these early stages as they showed that they can hold their own in the hampionship.
The turning point in this game came in seven minutes into the half as Laragh grabbed the goal they were looking likely to get through full-forward Mark Miley.
The ball broke into free space after a mix up in the Donard defence, Miley was the quickest to pounce and he finished low into the bottom corner. A finish that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the Premier League.
Donard had plenty of possession in Laragh territory but failed to convert any of their chances, firing five consecutive wides before adding to their first half tally.
All of Donard’s good play was coming through Alan Daly as he was all over the field attempting to rally his team on.
They finally got their score through Kevin Osborne, with Brian Lennon also pointing adding to his goal and point in the first half.
Laragh captain Damien Hanlon was again dominating proceedings in midfield with his strength in the air and his powerful running. Donard were finding it difficult to stop him throughout.
Donard did have a goal chance as a goalmouth scramble led to the ball being blocked several times by Laragh defenders in their numbers and was eventually parried away by keeper James Nolan.
Eoin Kelly did hand pass the ball over the bar immediately after the scramble.
Donard had to try to overcome a three point deficit as they clock hit 55 minutes.
They were in desperate need for a goal, but it was Laragh who went up the other end and extend their lead to five, as another John Nolan free was converted and substitute Steve Olohan put the ball over the bar.
Three minutes from time, Laragh could have finished the game off as Mark Miley was one on one with Mark Moore after a superb long ball by Damien Hanlon, but Miley’s shot crashed against the post.
The game went into stoppage time and Brendan Furlong pointed to the penalty spot after Alan Daly was taken down just inside the box.
Daly himself stepped up to take, but his strike was parried away by James Nolan to prevent a late Donard-The Glen fight back.
The final whistle was blown to the delight of the Laragh contingent, particularly their followers, who came out in numbers to support their local side.
There were unpleasant scenes after the match though as both teams and management clashed into an ugly brawl.
Scorers: Laragh – David Miley 1-3; John Nolan 0-5 (4f); Mark Miley 1-1; Damien Hanlon 0-2 (1f); Steve Olohan 0-1.
Donard Glen: Brian Lennon 1-2 (1f); Alan Daly 0-5 (1f, 1 45); Colin Osborne 0-1; Kevin Osborne 0-1; Eoin Kelly 0-1.
Laragh: James Nolan; Ian Merrigan, Gary Cullen, Brendan Ward; Andy Kenny, Alan Smith, Jamie Cullen; Dave McDonald, Damien Hanlon; Craig McCoy, John Nolan, David Miley; Peter Merrigan, Mark Miley, Eric Olohan. Subs: Aran Lynham for A Smith (47min) Steve Olohan for E Olohan (56min)
Donard-The Glen: Mark Moore; Gerard Healy, Alan Tutty, Kevin Osborne; Eoin Kelly, Harry Mangan, Bill Flynn; Colin Osborne, John Hanbridge; Conor Kelly, Lawrence Daly, Brian Lennon; Ray Halloran, Alan Daly, Dermot Daly.
Referee: Brendan Furlong