Phelan's late strike proves difference for Rathdowney in tight affair
Laois SHC final
Rathdowney/Errill claimed their third title in five years in O'Moore Park yesterday with a hard-fought win in a disappointing final.
Jason Phelan's goal with six minutes remaining was the crucial score as Rathdowney finally pulled clear. They had led from midway through the first half but poor shooting and resolute Camross defending meant that they were never more than three points up until Phelan struck.
Camross, who won the intermediate final earlier in the day, started brightly and two Zane Keenan points (one a superb sideline cut from almost 70 yards) had them two up after five minutes. But Rathdowney worked their way into the game and despite hitting eight first-half wides were 1-7 to 0-6 ahead at the break.
A brilliant goal from Niall Holmes sparked the game into life early in the second half but Rathdowney never panicked and points from Alan Delaney, John Purcell and Jason Phelan had them three up with 10 minutes remaining. Great work from John Purcell set Phelan up for the goal.
Camross threw everything forward in the dying moments but there was no way through for the Brian Whelehan-trained side as Rathdowney held on and Liam Tynan lifted the Bob O'Keeffe cup amid jubilant scenes afterwards.
SCORERS -- Rathdowney-Errill: B Campion 1-2 (1-1f, 0-1 '65'), J Phelan 1-1, A Delaney 0-4 (0-4f), E Meagher 0-2, J Purcell and E Holohan 0-1 each; Camross: Z Keenan 0-7 (0-4f, 1 '65', 1 s-l), N Holmes 1-0, A Collier 0-2.
RATHDOWNEY-ERRILL -- N Brennan; E Fitzpatrick, L Mahon, B Campion; B O'Shea, P Mahon, J Fitzpatrick; S Dollard, J Corrigan; A Delaney, E Holohan, E Meagher; J Phelan, L Tynan, J Purcell. Subs: N Delaney for E Fitzpatrick (43), P Purcell for J Phelan (58), T Mahon for L Mahon (62).
CAMROSS -- T Doran; M Maloney, P Cuddy, P Guilfoyle; S Higgins, T Burke, L Burke; S Gilmore, A Collier; N Holmes, D Keenan, C Delaney; J Phelan, Z Keenan, D Culleton. Subs: K Cuddy for J Phelan (43), J Palmer for Culleton (48), G Burke for Gilmore (52), D Delaney for A Collier (60).
Ref -- B Reilly (Portlaoise).