Laragh impress in big win over Lavey

Senior Football Championship

Laragh United 2-17

Lavey 1-12

Paul Fitzpatrick at Kingspan Breffni

Laragh pulled away in the final quarter as they recorded a one-sided win over Lavey in this SFC clash before a good crowd at HQ tonight.

Laragh’s dominance was built on the foundation of Fergal O’Rourke’s laser-like kick-outs. Fergal McKenna was influential at midfield all through and Jack McKenna had an excellent second half but Man of the Match was Paul Smith, who pulled the strings at centre-forward and contributed some fine scores.

At the end of a tense first half, Laragh held a four-point lead, 1-6 to 0-5. They hit the front after 30 seconds when playmaker Smith cut through the centre and sent a great shot to the roof of the net.

Lavey responded with a well-taken point from Emmett Brady; after a shot dropped short at the other end, Laragh full-forward Paddy Rudden fisted over and although Lavey pulled one back with a Gerry Smith free on eight minutes, they would go almost 20 minutes without scoring as Laragh dominated.

The 2019 intermediate champions had inflicted a heavy defeat on their neighbours in the recent league semi-final and that may have been playing on the mind of the Lavey management as they set the team up very defensively, with 14 men behind the ball at times and just Shane Tierney up top.

Lavey were poor in this period as they failed to add speed to their counter-attacks when they did force turnovers and Laragh profited, a free from Paul Smith, a classy score from Niall Fitzpatrick and a fisted effort from midfielder Jack McKenna helping them into a comfortable five-point lead, 1-4 to 0-2.

Lavey, though, upped the ante. Gerry Smith found Karl Duke for an important score and then found space on the edge of the D and curled over with the left.

But a well-struck Paul Smith free and a Pauric O’Reilly point, again after a perfect O’Rourke kick-out, left it 1-6 to 0-5 at the midway point.

On the restart, Gerry Smith knocked over a free after a foul on Tierney; Pauric O’Reilly did well to convert a mark from the right wing but a good free from Gerry Smith and a point for Diarmuid Conaty made it 1-7 to 0-8.

Smith had been Lavey’s best player but pulled up injured and after a spell at full-forward, was withdrawn – and with him went the New Inns men’s chances.

Paul Smith landed two stylish points, Chris Conroy won and converted a free but a super Fergal McKenna point and one on the loop from Paddy Rudden made it 1-11 to 0-9 as the match entered the final quarter.

Then, Lavey were thrown a lifeline when a mistake at the back by Laragh handed Emmett Brady a simple chance to tap into the net from close range.

Laragh, though, responded well, Pauric O’Reilly palming over from a goal chance and Smith converting a tricky free.

Emmett Brady booted over an excellent point but Laragh were not to be denied and carved Lavey open on a few occasions in the closing stages.

A free from Smith and a point from Rudden from a big goal chance made it 1-16 to 1-11 and the goal Laragh had been threatening arrived when half-back Ian Leddy blasted home from close range in injury time.

Karl Duke had Lavey’s last score but there were acres of space at the back by now as they pushed up and Laragh punished them again with a late Jack McKenna point.

Lavey will rue 10 wides and the loss of Gerry Smith to injury but Laragh were thoroughly deserving winners and with three points on the board, have one foot in the quarter-finals.

Lavey: Conor Martin, Aodhagán Sheridan, David Conroy, Philip Smith, Darragh Tierney, Darren Jordan, Darragh Conaty (0-1), Gerard Smith (0-4, 3f), Peter Smith, Karl Duke (0-2), Chris Conroy (0-1f), Diarmuid Conaty, Emmett Brady (1-3), Shane Tierney (0-1m), Darren Monahan

Subs: Raymond King for Sheridan (21 mins), Paul Gilchreest for Conaty (37), Conor Smith for G Smith (47)

Laragh United: Fergal O’Rourke, Stephen Cooney, Darragh Tully, Ciaran Cooney, Lee Reilly, Jason Walsh, Ian Leddy (1-0), Evan Kelly, Fergal McKenna (0-2), Jack McKenna (0-2), Paul Smith (1-6, 4f), Jamie Cooney, Niall Fitzpatrick (0-1), Patrick Rudden (0-3), Pauric O’Reilly (0-3, 1m)

Subs: Sean Tierney for Fitzpatrick (44 mins), Philip Fitzsimons for D Tully (60)

Ref: James Clarke