Coun­sel crushed by late goal

Rochfort­bridge rule as Bar­rowsiders make early exit

Wexford People - - SPORT - ALAN AH­ERNE in Ra­theniska

GOOD COUN­SEL’S quest for a place in the knockout stages of the Top Oil Le­in­ster Post-Pri­mary Schools Se­nior foot­ball ‘A’ cham­pi­onship ended in bit­ter dis­ap­point­ment in Ra­theniska, Co. Laois, on Fri­day when a 55th-minute goal from St. Joseph’s (Rochfort­bridge) swung the out­come firmly in favour of the mid­lan­ders.

This was a must-win game for both schools, and only one was des­tined to sur­vive and stay in con­tention for the Brother Bosco Cup.

A draw would have been suf­fi­cient for Coun­sel, given that they had lost to Moate Com­mu­nity School by three points (2-6 to 1-6) whereas St. Joseph’s had failed by six (2-13 to 1-10) against their West­meath ri­vals in round one.

And it looked like the Bar­rowsiders might get that share of the spoils that would have done the trick as they en­tered the clos­ing stages just one point in ar­rears af­ter a tense, score­less ten-minute spell (1-6 to 1-5).

How­ever, they had no luck what­so­ever for the sec­ond Joseph’s goal that ended their in­ter­est, be­cause it ar­rived af­ter the ball fell into the arms of a grate­ful Jack Donoghue af­ter a fine block by a Coun­sel de­fender.

It could have gone any­where, but the ric­o­chet was very favourable to the re-in­tro­duced at­tacker, and he popped a pass in­side for sub­sti­tute David Hickey who fin­ished to the net with five and a half min­utes to go (2-6 to 1-5).

Time was run­ning out fast for Coun­sel to save their sea­son, and they didn’t help their cause when Robert Cog­ley and Adam Sin­nott kicked their fifth and sixth wides re­spec­tively from frees.

Of­faly Mi­nor Aaron Kel­leghan, a promis­ing mem­ber of a well­known foot­ball fam­ily from over the bor­der in Rhode, had been ex­cel­lent all af­ter­noon, and he fisted an in­sur­ance point from a David Hickey pass af­ter Coun­sel pushed for­ward and were left ex­posed at the back.

There was one last chance when Jack Ke­hoe ex­changed passes with Jamie Sheehan be­fore draw­ing a fine save out of Seán Martin, and the fi­nal whis­tle fol­lowed sec­onds later.

In truth, there wasn’t a lot ex­pected from the los­ing team based on their re­sults com­ing up through the Ju­ve­nile and Ju­nior grades. And while they didn’t ad­vance, they did battle hard in both en­coun­ters although a lot of han­dling er­rors and re­peated run­ning into the tackle ham­pered their chances of ad­vanc­ing on this oc­ca­sion.

The thick car­pet of grass on the pitch didn’t help ei­ther side, but from the off it was clear that Aaron Kel­laghan and his cor­ner-for­ward col­leagues, Eoghan Ah­ern and Jack Torpey, were very dan­ger­ous as a unit.

Eoin Ryan – pushed up from wing-back to cen­tre-for­ward since the Moate game – did give Coun­sel a bright start with a point af­ter 45 sec­onds, but the mark­ing was non-ex­is­tent when St. Joseph’s struck for a morale-boost­ing goal in the third minute.

Liam Gan­non found Jack Torpey in the left cor­ner, and he was able to bear down on Kyle Martin’s goal un­chal­lenged be­fore di­rect­ing his shot to the net via the net­min­der’s body.

The Coun­sel de­fence looked vul­ner­a­ble un­til Eoin Ryan was moved back to pro­vide ex­tra cover, and Martin had to be at his best to keep out a first-time Aaron Kel­leghan drive off the ground from a Torpey pass in the sixth minute.

Eoghan Ah­ern then supplied Kel­leghan for his open­ing point be­fore the full-for­ward latched on to a long de­liv­ery and made it 1-2 to 0-1 in the ninth minute.

Kel­laghan missed a handy free but then con­verted his next at­tempt, with Coun­sel hit­ting back at the end of the first quar­ter with a fine solo point from Cathal Doyle.

Kyle Martin kept out another ef­fort on goal, this time from Shane Flem­ing, and the scor­ing dried up as the game moved to­wards half-time.

Kel­leghan’s ac­cu­rate left boot put St. Joseph’s clear by 1-4 to 0-2 in the 20th minute, and Adam Sin­nott re­sponded from a free af­ter a foul on A.J. Red­mond to leave Coun­sel trail­ing by four at the break.

They did cre­ate one half-chance for a goal sec­onds be­fore the in­ter­val, but a shot across the square by re­cent ar­rival Robert Cog­ley was stopped and cleared by a de­fender.

Mark Ke­hoe was in­tro­duced to part­ner club­mate Em­met Cullen at mid­field, and the lat­ter did his best to bring the fight to St. Joseph’s af­ter the break.

Pádraig Dempsey also pros­pered from his move to right half-back, be­cause it was his long punt from that po­si­tion in the 37th minute that led to their goal.

It was caught in­side the de­fen­sive cover by Cathal Doyle, and he fin­ished coolly to leave St. Joseph’s on the back foot.

In­deed, Dempsey won the kick-out that fol­lowed and soloed for­ward for an in­spir­ing equal­is­ing point, and now we had a re­ally tight game on our hands.

Coun­sel sub­sti­tute Dy­lan Whe­lan was un­for­tu­nate not to be awarded a free in the sec­onds be­fore Aaron Kel­leghan re­stored the St. Joseph’s lead un­der a lot of pres­sure in the 39th minute (1-5 to 1-4).

Jack Torpey then gave the Luke Dempsey-coached mid­lan­ders a two-point cush­ion, but Coun­sel re­duced it to one when a Jack Ke­hoe hand­pass led to a lon­grange score from Whe­lan at the end of the third quar­ter.

Men­tors Leigh O’Brien, John Tubritt and Pádraig Ke­hoe were long­ing for a lev­el­ling point at that stage be­cause, in such a low-scor­ing game, chances are that it would have been enough to ad­vance.

Wides from Pádraig Dempsey and Em­met Cullen (free) were the best their side could muster though, prior to that game-clinch­ing sec­ond Joseph’s goal, and there was to be no way back from that crush­ing blow.

Good Coun­sel: Kyle Martin (Rathnure); Pádraig Bai­ley (Geral­dine O’Han­ra­hans), Tommy Ryan (Gusser­ane, capt.), Páraic Wick­ham (Adamstown); Eoin Dunne-Codd (Gusser­ane), Jack Ke­hoe (Horeswood), Dar­ragh Kent (Horeswood); Em­met Cullen (Gusser­ane), Pádraig Dempsey (Mul­li­na­vat, 0-1); Rory O’Con­nor (Rath­garogue-Cushin­stown), Eoin Ryan (Gusser­ane, 0-1), A.J. Red­mond (Rathnure); Cathal Doyle (Tagh­mon-Cam­ross, 1-1), Seán O’Con­nor (Rathnure), Adam Sin­nott (Tagh­mon-Cam­ross, 0-1 free). Subs. - Robert Cog­ley (Ban­now-Bal­lymitty) for R. O’Con­nor (28), Mark Ke­hoe (Gusser­ane) for Kent (HT), Dy­lan Whe­lan (Fethard, 0-1) for Dunne-Codd (37), Jamie Sheehan (Gusser­ane) for Red­mond (37), Seán Cos­grave (Graigue­na­managh) for S. O’Con­nor (57).

St. Joseph’s: Seán Martin; Billy Arthur, Ciarán Daly, Liam Wal­dron; Liam Mo­ran, Micheál McCor­mack, Josh Ga­han; Niall Smullen, Gavin Flood; Shane Flem­ing, Jack Donoghue, Liam Gan­non; Eoghan Ah­ern, Aaron Kel­leghan (0-6, 1 free), Jack Torpey (1-1). Subs. - David Hickey (1-0) for Donoghue (41), Donoghue for Flood, inj. (46), Bran­don Kelly for Torpey (54).

Ref­eree: Pat Mo­ran (Laois).

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