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Laragh maintain promotion push

posted 31 Aug 2011, 03:36 by Unknown user   [ updated 31 Aug 2011, 03:44 ]
Laragh Utd 1-15
Ballyconnell First Ulsters 0-11

Laragh remain very much on track for promotion from division three of the ACFL following a gritty home win over Ballyconnell First Ulsters.

While fully deserved, Laragh's victory wasn't quite as handsome as the final scoreline suggests and it wasn't until the last ten minutes when they out-scored their opponents by four points to one that the destination of the spoils became crystal clear.

The west Cavan side asked a lot of questions of their hosts in the first half in particular and must have fancied their chances of nicking something from the match.
However a 36th minute goal from the winners' Enda Cullivan proved crucial as it gave Laragh a cushioned lead, 1-8 to 0-7, which they managed to consolidate from there to the death.

Laragh were quickest out of the blocks at the start of the game and the aforementioned Cullivan continued his good form of late with two fine points inside the first four minutes.

The loss through injury moments later of Liam Brady seemed to disrupt the fluidity of Laragh's play and, slowly but surely, Ballyconnell became more and more into the game.

Employing the direct, long passing game to good effect, Ballyconnell always threatened and thanks too to a fine platform from midfield, the west county side gave Laragh a lot to think about as the first half gathered pace.

The outstanding Ronan Reilly spearheaded Ballyconnell's fightback and two points on the trot from him plus a gem from Shane O'Reilly saw the visitors hit seven points without reply between the 6th and 17th minutes to put the cat amongst the pidgeons.

Trailing by five points, 0-2 to 0-7 with 11 minutes remaining in the first half, the Stradone-based crew upped their workrate and with Paddy Rudden very influential in the last third of the field, the hosts began to eat into their opponents' vaunted lead.

Points from the aforementioned Cullivan, Ruairi Power and Rudden helped turn things around for Laragh as they drew level, 0-7 to 0-7, at the interval.

Laragh raced from the traps on the restart and conjured up a decent goal chance but Ronan Fitzpatrick pulled off a great save to deny Paddy Rudden a three-pointer.
Collectively, Laragh ratcheted up the quality of their football in the second half and after good work by Rudden, the alert Cullivan netted in the 36th minute, a score that was sandwiched by a point apiece from Seamus Cooney and Rudden as Laragh went onto enjoy a 1-9 to 0-7 lead by the three quarter hour mark.

Ballyconnell kept nipping away at Laragh's ankles though and refused to lie down and die.

Instead, points from Ronan Reilly (two) and Shane O'Reilly more than cancelled out a fine Paddy Rudden point (46th) as the tempo of the game increased almost visibly.
Ballyconnell seemed to sense that a shock win beckoned as they sought to eat into their opponents' 1-10 to 0-10 lead entering the final ten minutes.

However it was in that period that Laragh showed their mettle, using the cushioned lead provided by Cullivan's goal to race past the finishing post with three fine points from the galloping Philip Fitzsimons as fuel.

Laragh Utd: Martin Smith; Paddy King, Shane O'Rourke, Enda Clarke; Philip Fitzsimons (0-3), Declan King, Liam Brady; Declan Brady, Colin Oates; Darragh Brady, Seamus Cooney (0-1), Derek Hand; Ruairi Power (0-2), Enda Cullivan (1-5), Paddy Rudden (0-4).
Subs: Gerry Murray for L Brady (inj); Martin Joe Smith for R Power.

Ballyconnell First Ulsters: Ronan Fitzpatrick; Patrick McKiernan, Niall Crowe, Donal Fee; Wayne O'Grady, Peter Reilly, Niall Martin; Niall Cassidy, Shane McPartland; Darragh McGovern, Daithi Neary (0-1), Padraig Reilly; Shane Reilly (0-3), Ronan Reilly (0-7), Daithi Reilly.
Sub: Barry Reilly for D Reilly.