O’Dempsey’s 2-12 The Heath/Park/Ratheniska 2-4
O’DEMPSEY’S turned in a powerful display of team football to end The Heath’s reign as Laois and Leinster minor football champions when they outplayed them in the minor football quarter final replay at The Old Pound on Saturday evening. This time O’Dempsey’s made no mistake and they were full value for their eight point victory as the Kelly brothers Eddie and Barry turned on the style up front and Oleg Shichiskeuw continued to make a name for himself in the county.
The Heath were not only relinquishing their county title but also The Leinster crown that they had won late in 2005 and they will surely rue the chances they missed in the drawn game. Eddie Kelly had a quiet game in the first clash of the clubs but he exploded into action on his home ground and his under 15 year old brother Barry showed his scoring skills as well as O’Dempsey’s qualified for a semi final meeting with Stradbally Parish Gaels.
If the O’Dempsey’s county players were somewhat quiet in the drawn game they showed their skills and experience in the replay and they were the forceful figures while Oleg from Kazakhstan added to his reputation with a superbly taken goal and an excellent point. O’Dempsey’s were intent on taking full advantage of their second chance from the throw in but despite dominating the opening half they were still only two points clear at the break against a dogged Heath side trying to hold unto their titles.
Conor Meredith opened the scoring from a free and Eddie Kelly added another score for the home side with a classy point in front of a very large and vocal attendance. Barry Whelan opened The Heaths account but O’Dempsey’s continued to attack and playing delightful football hit three points on the trot.
Eddie Kelly hit a brace of superb points and Oleg fired over a magnificent score as O’Dempsey’s led by 0-5 to 0-1 at the end of the first quarter. Barry Whelan got one back for The Heath but O’Dempsey’s were flying and Barry Kelly got in on the scoring with a fine point but from the kickout by Marty Dowling Nathan Carpenter won possession and soloed through the O’Dempsey’s defence and finished the ball in the back of the net and Barry Whelan added a point and the sides were level.
The Heath were not playing well but they were still very much in the game but within minutes that all changed when Oleg won possession and from 20m out he slipped the ball just inside the left post for a magnificent goal. Barry Kelly and Brian Nugent points gave O’Dempsey’s a five point lead but then just before the break The Heath were thrown a lifeline when after Padraig Whelan was brought down in the square Kieran ‘Rocky’ Hyland slotted home the spot kick to leave his side just two points in arrears at the break.
Liam Buggy cut that deficit to the minimum on the restart but alas that was to be the final score fro the defending champions as O’Dempsey’s dominated the remainder of the contest. The Heath fought doggedly but they could make no headway against an O’Dempsey’s defence that were now on top of their game and with Mark and Robbie Kehoe outstanding and with the Meredith brother Darragh and Conor dominating midfield.
Points from Conor Meredith and Brian Nugent gave O’Dempsey’s a four point lead with five minutes remaining and the game was still there for the champions if they were good enough but on the day they fell way short. Then the door was slammed shut on the champions when after the O’Dempsey’s attack had hit the timber twice Eddie Kelly pounced on the breaking ball and crashed it to the net. Kelly finished with a converted free for an eight point victory and a place against Stradbally Parish Gaels in the semi final.
Outstanding for The Heath in both games was Tony Connolly at centre back but the defending champions lacked penetration up front.
O’DEMPSEY’S: Kieran Hyland, Willie O’Connor, Mark Kehoe, Aidan Kirrane, Richard Whelehan, Robbie Kehoe, Giles Boland, Conor Meredith 0-2, Darragh Meredith, Oleg Shichiskeuw 1-1, Eddie Kelly 1-5, Tom Behan, Conor Kehoe, Brian Nugent 0-2. Subs: Simon Powell for Tom Behan, Wesley Dempsey for Kirrane, Ronan Kirrane for Dempsey.
THE HEATH/PARK/RATHENISKA: Marty Dowling, Paul Kelly, Jimmy Furlong, Jimmy Nerney, David Booth, Tony Connolly, Barry Dunne, Colin Nestor, Evin Baldwin, Alan Dunne, Lima Buggy 0-1, Kieran Hyland 1-0, Barry Whelan 0-3, Shane Booth, Nathan Carpenter. Subs: Joe Joe Salmon for Alan Dunne, Padraig Whelan for Baldwin, Joey Egan for David Booth, John Boooth. REFEREE: John Flynn (The Rock).
The Heath/Park/Ratheniska 0-8 O’Dempsey’s 1-5
THE Heath had home advantage in the drawn game and nearly made it count as they fought desperately to hold on to their title but the concession of a first half goal proved to be the crucial score as O’Dempsey’s hit a late point to snatch a deserved draw.
Both scores came from O’Dempsey’s centre forward Conor Kehoe and while his side missed a number of late chances to win the game The Heath had more than enough possession and chances to have had the game well wrapped up before then. While The Heath were the defending champions O’Dempsey’s were probably the favourites with so many of the county minor panel in their ranks and also with a large number of senior club players on view.
It was the introduction of a foreign national, one Oleg Shichiskeuw from Kazakhstan that had the most profound chance on the game as he not only showed huge footballing skills to carry the ball at The Heath defence but shot a superb point as well.
O’Dempsey’s with senior club players Conor and Darragh Meredith, Robbie Kehoe and Eddie Kelly on board came to The Heath as favourites but The Heath were to fight with serious intent all the way to hold on to their crown. Kieran Hyland hit a super score to open the account for the home side but an Eddie Kelly free had the sides level before a Barry Kelly free edged the champions ahead again.
Then in the 15th minute came the all important goal when a great run by Conor Meredith ended with Conor Kehoe’s shot taking a deflection and deceiving Marty Dowling and he picking the ball out of his own net. That left The Heath chasing the game and from there to half time it was a keenly contested game as Conor Kehoe and Barry Whelan and Eddie Kelly and Whelan traded points to leave O’Dempsey’s ahead at the break 1-3 to 0-4.
The Heath played their best football in the opening quarter of the second half and first Colin Nestor narrowed the gap as he converted a 46m free and then Barry Whelan levelled. Then Oleg signalled his arrival with a smashing point but The Heath continued to dominate and again Nestor landed a massive long range free and then the excellent Tony Connolly started and finished a superb team move to give the home side the lead with six minutes remaining.
The Heath now had chances to wrap up the game but failed and after Oleg was fouled as he attacked at the other end Conor Kehoe knocked over the equaliser. O’Dempsey’s had three chances to win the game in injury time but all of them sailed wide of the target and The Heath held out for a draw and managed to hold on to their title until another day.
THE HEATH: Marty Dowling, Paul Kelly, James Furlong, James Nerney, Tony Connolly 0-1, Colin Nestor 0-2, Barry Dunne, Evin Baldwin, Liam Buggy, Padraig Whelan, Alan Dunne, Kieran Hyland 0-1, Barry Whelan 0-4f, Shane Booth, Nathan Carpenter. Subs: Jo Jo Salmon for Alan Dunne, David Booth for Baldwin.
O’DEMPSEY’S: Kieran Hyland, Willie O’Connor, Mark Kehoe, Brian Behan, Richard Whelehan, Robbie Kehoe, Aidan Kirrane, Darragh Meredith, Conor Meredith, Tom Behan, Conor Kehoe 1-2, Barry Kelly, Giles Boland, Oleg Shichiskeuw 0-1, Eddie Kelly 0-2f, Brian Nugent.
REFEREE: John Flynn (The Rock).421