Laragh enjoy late Leinster triumph
A perfect GAA advertisement
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.