Thursday 14 December 2017

Maher the hero for Clough-Ballacolla

Clough-Ballacolla 0-20 Camross 1-14 Laois SHC final

Clough-Ballacolla captain Darren Maher lifts the cup alongside his team-mates
Clough-Ballacolla captain Darren Maher lifts the cup alongside his team-mates
Willie Hyland attempts to block a pass from Camross' Joseph Phelan
Dwane Palmer is tackled by Darren Maher, left, and Clough-Ballacolla goalkeeper Danny Hanlon
Ciaran Collier, Camross, is closed down by Tom Delaney, Michael McEvoy, and John Delaney
Clough-Ballacolla's Willie Dunphy in action against Malvin Moloney, Newsdesk Newsdesk

A stunning second-half comeback from Clough-Ballacolla saw them claim their third Laois SHC title in seven years yesterday.

Trailing by six at half-time, Clough-Ballacolla scored 0-14 in the second half, with Laois star Stephen 'Picky' Maher to the fore, as they completed a league and championship double.

It was the proverbial game of two halves, as Camross had dominated the opening 30 minutes. Zane Keenan was in inspired form as he scored their first four points, seeing them into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead after ten minutes.

Clough-Ballacolla were offering little at the other end, apart from the efforts of Stephen Maher, and Camross pushed further ahead when a long-range free from Zane Keenan was misjudged in the Clough-Ballacolla full-back line, and ended up in the net.

Camross led 1-9 to 0-6 at half-time, with Keenan having scored 1-7 of that, but the second half belonged to Clough-Ballacolla.

Both teams traded a couple of points after the restart before a run of six points without reply saw Clough-Ballacolla get back on level terms by the 48th minute.

Zane Keenan stopped the rot for Camross with a score, but the teams remained level until the 58th minute, when Clough-Ballacolla took the lead for the first time thanks to a '65 from Stephen Maher.

Maher added two more frees before the final whistle to cap a wonderful comeback from Clough-Ballacolla, as they ran out three-point winners in the end, with Camross losing their second final in two years.

Scorers - Clough-Ballacolla: Stephen Maher 0-12 (9f, 1 '65), W Hyland 0-3, M McEvoy, A Corby, W Dunphy, R Phelan, S Bergin 0-1 each. Camross: Z Keenan 1-9 (1-3f, 1 '65), A Collier, D Delaney 0-2 each, D Gilmartin 0-1.

Clough-Ballacolla - D Hanlon; C Coonan, D Maher, E Doyle; JA Delaney, M McEvoy, L Cleere; R Broderick, T Delaney; S Maher, S Hanlon, W Hyland; R Phelan, W Dunphy, R Phelan. Subs: S Bergin for Corby (51), D Bergin for S Hanlon (56).

Camross - T Doran; M Phelan, M Moloney, J Phelan; D Dooley, G Burke, D Keenan; C Delaney, T Burke; A Mortimer, Z Keenan, C Collier; A Mortimer, D Palmer, D Delaney. Subs: A Moore for C Delaney (23), N Holmes for Palmer (30, inj), M Burke for M Phelan (36), D Gilmartin for Mortimer (51).

Ref - B O'Reilly (Portlaoise)

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