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Laragh go joint-top

posted 19 Aug 2011, 05:36 by Unknown user   [ updated 19 Aug 2011, 05:42 ]

Laragh Utd 3-7
Ballymachugh 1-10

Laragh Utd took a significant step forward last weekend in their bid to clinch promotion from division three of the ACFL thanks, in part, to a late, late goal by Derek Hand.

With just two games left to play in the season, the Stradone-based crew currently lie joint top in the league alongside Mountnugent.

In what was a very eventful encounter, United hit the jackpot on the hour mark through Hand before following up with an injury time point from sub. Martin Joe Smith which put the icing on the cake.

With so much at stake, the game was a predictably tense and close affair with the sides tied together - for the third time in the match - in the 56th minute when James Kiernan pointed a free for the visitors.

Just three minutes later, Ballymachugh appeared to have victory in their grasp when Kiernan again split the posts but resolute Laragh remained focussed and finished with a flourish to seal a tremendous win.

In a tentative, evenly-contested opening ten minutes, Laragh led by just the odd point in three with James Kiernan's point for the Ballyheelan-headquartered side being sandwiched by efforts from Enda Cullivan and Seamus Cooney.

The game exploded into life between the 13th and 27th minutes when three goals were notched with the winners-elect bagging two of them.

Roving corner forward Declan King was causing quite a lot of problems for the visitors' defence from the get-go and when he was hauled down in the square, Paddy Rudden stepped up to ram home the resultant penalty kick.

Laragh were rocked out of their complacent mode though in the 20th minute when Killian Smith rattled the Laragh net with a fisted effort to help reduce the hosts' lead to the minimum, 1-3 to 1-2.

It was Ballymachugh's turn to rest on their laurels and six minutes later, they conceded their second goal of the game with Enda Cullivan on target for Laragh.
With the slippery sod adding to the excitement of the exchanges, the second half was no less enthralling as Laragh sought to embellish their narrow 2-3 to 1-4 half-time lead.

However it was Ballymachugh who enjoyed the best of the exchanges immediately after the restart but a hat-trick of wides by them in the opening four minutes was ominous.

Nevertheless, the chasing team finished the first half by slotting over the last two points and they proceeded to score the first two points of the second half which gained them parity at 1-6 to 2-3 after 44 minutes.

The third quarter made little impression on the scoreboard but the final quarter made up for the earlier lack of scores as both sides raced towards the chequered flag.
Paddy Rudden at first pointed (47) and then set up both Liam Brady and Darragh Brady (52) as United restored their one goal lead, 2-6 to 1-6.

Back came Ballymachugh though with sub. Harten and then top scorer Smith plus James Kiernan levelling matters at 1-9 to 2-6 before the last named came good again one minute from the end of normal time.

Hand's aforementioned goal was timely in the extreme as was a fantastic block by Colin Oates to deny Ballymachugh a goal.

Then two minutes into injury time sub. Smith made it third time lucky for Laragh after a loss in the league and the championship earlier this season to the green and gold brigade.

Laragh Utd:
Martin Smith; Paddy King, Shane O'Rourke, Enda Clarke; Philip Fitzsimons, Colm McKenna, Liam Brady (0-1); Declan Brady, Colin Oates; Darragh Brady (0-1), Seamus Cooney (0-1), Derek Hand (1-0); Declan King, Enda Cullivan (1-2), Paddy Rudden (1-1).
Subs used: Martin Joe Smith (0-1); Colm Hand.

Ballymachugh: Stephen Baxter; Anthony Baxter, Brendan McLarney, James McLarney; Christopher Rooney, Brian Donohoe, Finbar Sheridan; Padraig Sheridan, Philip Donohoe; James Kiernan (0-4), Richard Fitzsimons (0-1), Barry Kiernan; Kieran Goldrick, Aodhain Kiernan (0-2), Killian Smith (1-2).
Sub used:  Stephen Harten (0-1).