Bagenalstown Gaels 1-15
By Kieran Murphy
TWO first-half goals from corner forward Donnagh Callally hung like an albatross over the heads of Bagenalstown Gaels in this Leinster club intermediate hurling championship first round game at Fenagh Training Centre on Saturday.
The Laois visitors looked the sharpest in the opening half with two frees from Paddy Keating settling Rosenallis. There were fears Bagenalstown were struggling to hold on, particularly when Craig Doyle registered a couple of wides and then on 16 minutes Callally struck for the first Rosenallis goal.
That three-pointer was engineered by full-forward Brian Fitzpatrick who made ground at the Fenagh end of the ground before releasing Callally who found the net.
Trailing 1-3 to 0-1 Bagenalstown dug deep with Doyle scoring his second point of the half and Brian Doyle also contributed a long-range free.
On 20 minutes Craig Doyle soloed past a hesitant Rosenallis defence but his low shot was brilliantly deflected around his right-hand upright by keeper Stephen Kelly.
Brian Doyle added another Bagenalstown point but this was cancelled out by an effort from Jack Friel for Rosenallis. Keating and Fitzpatrick scores pushed out the Rosenallis lead to five points but Kealan Guidera underlined his ability and determination to compete at this level when he floated over a wonderful point from way out on the left.
Callally’s second goal came on 29 minutes when the Bagenalstown defence allowed him to hone in on his target without anyone getting in a worthwhile challenge. He finished superbly and further points from Keating gave Rosenallis a healthy looking 2-8 to 0-5 interval lead.
The home side hit the ground running in the second half with Kealan Guidera attacking down the left and his shot gave Stephen Kelly no chance in the Rosenallis goal.
Doyle and Keating exchanged points from placed balls but the tide started to turn as Doyle added two further points and Guidera also shot between the posts. A Liam Galway point left only two between them with a quarter of an hour to go.
The attempted comeback was almost complete as both sides ratcheted up the intensity. Bagenalstown undid almost all their good work when an attempted cross-field pass went wrong and Rosenallis broke clear.
The Barrowsiders compounded their problems when a passing movement unhinged their defence and Brian Fitzpatrick raised another green flag.
Rosenallis settled for what they had. Then again, maybe it was the Bagenalstown pressure which forced them to defend from deep. With time almost up a Conor Lennon point left only two between them. The Carlow champions needed a goal and came at Rosenallis but the visitors defended well.
Fitzpatrick’s free put three between them which ensured the visitors wouldn’t lose the game in ordinary time. They did better than that as they held out for a win which they just about deserved.
Rosenallis: Stephen Kelly; John Maher, Tom Keating, Jack Claffey; Conor Cosgrove, Cathal C. Fennell, Fiachra C Fennell; Jack Conroy, Cillian Callally; Donagh Callally (2-0), Paddy Keating (0-9, 0-4 frees, 65), Jack Friel (0-1); Ronan Murray, Brian Fitzpatrick (1-2, 0-1 free), Walter Murphy. Subs: Enda McEvoy for Conroy (44 mins), Niall Doolan for Keating (54 mins).
Bagenalstown Gaels: James Carroll (0-1 free); Martin Cummins, Ronan Minchin, Eoghan Dowling; Cian Doyle, Alan Corcoran, Tomás Maher; Brian Doyle (0-3, 0-2 frees), David Corcoran; David Miley, Craig Doyle (0-7, 0-6 frees), Jamie Whelan; Kealan Guidera (1-2), Alan McDonald, Jamie Clarke. Subs: John Rogers for McDonald (half-time), Liam Galway (0-1) for Whelan (half-time), Darren Crooks for Minchin (52 mins), Conor Lennon (0-1) for D Corcoran (52 mins).
Referee: Shane Guinan (Offaly).