HomeFootballBaltinglass looking set for rapid return to Division 1 football

Baltinglass looking set for rapid return to Division 1 football

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Brian Hayes’ side see off St. Pat’s in Top 4 opener and collect the Lawless’ Hotel Cup after superb league run

Baltinglass 4-12

St. Patrick’s 3-5

Baltinglass kept their relentless charge for an instant return to the top division of the football league on track with a win over St. Pat’s in Baltinglass last Friday.

Played on the impressive, newly refurbished surface in Baltinglass, the quality was affected by the rain which had fallen all through the day and didn’t let up for the hour.

This made conditions tricky with handling errors and plenty of slipping the order of the day as players from both sides struggled to adapt.

Wicklow GAA Chairman Damien Byrne presents the Lawless’ Cup to Baltinglass captain Pat Burke after they finished top of the SFL Division 1A proper.

It was Baltinglass, however, who were to prove stronger in the end despite St. Pat’s having a really good start to the game and some good passages throughout.

There was a noticeable increase in the pace to the game compared to those played earlier in the competition as clubs settle down to their championship preparations.

Barry Hayes will be more than happy with where Baltinglass are form wise and when they have their full complement available, they will be a match for anyone.

St. Pat’s had the better start. The ever-dangerous Tommy Kelly, who was policed all through by Karl Furlong and Tadhg O’Toole, kicked the opening point and a few minutes later Jordan Pettigrew finished high to the top corner giving William Rogers little chance.

Ryan McConnell of St. Pat’s gets his shot away as Tadgh O’Toole of Baltinglass closes in.

St. Pat’s were moving well early on with Cian and Conor O’Brien, Alex Sinnott, Ronan Murray and Simon Bouchier particularly prominent.

Baltinglass soon got a foothold around the middle and points from Johnny Keogh from a free, Cian Lee, Dan Kelly and Chris Heaslip would see the scores tied midway through the half.

Jordan Pettigrew pointed a free for Pat’s soon after, but Johnny Keogh had another couple of points for Baltinglass one from a well struck 45. The same player finished brilliantly to the St. Pat’s net soon after and Baltinglass now led 1-7 to 1-2.

Cian Lee of Baltinglass gathers as Mark O’Brien of St. Pat’s looks on.

Another fine St. Pat’s passing movement just before the break ended with Pettigrew once again finding the net to leave Baltinglass ahead at the break 1-7 to 2-2. The physicality around the middle of Pat Burke, Paddy Kirwan, Patrick Whelan, Arun Daly Danne, Chris Grimes, Kevin Murphy and Stephen Heaslip for Baltinglass was something St Pats found hard to match in the closing stages of the half.

The home side started the second half just as Pat’s had in the first. The lively Tommy Keogh had 1-1 on the board in a flash and all of a sudden it looked bleak for the visitors.

It was to get even worse when Johnny Keogh slotted his second major of the night past Ian Murphy soon after.

Tommy Kelly of St. Pat’s is pursued by Karl Furlong of Baltinglass.

Tommy Kelly did lift the siege somewhat with a fine score from play and when he caught Baltinglass napping to net with a quickly taken free the score stood at 3-8 to 3-3 with a quarter of the game to play.

Disaster was to strike soon after for St. Pat’s as a defensive mix up allowed Chris Heaslip in for an easy goal and Baltinglass were now comfortable.

Tommy Keogh and Paddy Whelan had points for Baltinglass which were answered by James Kavanagh and substitute Shane Murley in the final stages.

Both teams were short plenty of talent but will benefit from others on the panels getting a chance to improve. Possibly a small bit of shadow boxing, too, given they meet in the early stages of the championship.

Ryan McConnell of St. Pat’s goes to ground under pressure from Johnny Keogh of Baltinglass.

After the game, Baltinglass captain Pat Burke was presented with the Lawless’ Hotel Cup by Wicklow GAA Chairman Damien Byrne after the Slaneysiders finished top of the SFL Division 1A proper.

Baltinglass: William Rogers; Karl Furlong, Tadhg O’Toole, Chris Grimes; Arun Daly Danne, Kevin Murphy, Paddy Kirwan; Patrick Whelan (0-1), Pat Burke; Stephen Heaslip, Johnny Keogh (2-4, 1f, 1 45), Dan Kelly (0-2, 1f); Chris Heaslip (1-1), Cian Lee (0-1), Tommy Keogh (1-3). Subs: Hugh O’Toole for Lee, Jason Steed for Kelly, Conor O’Neill for Johnny Keogh, Sean O’Brien for Chris Heaslip.

St. Patrick’s: Ian Murphy; Aaron Lynch, Wayne Doyle, James Kavanagh; Mark O’Brien, Cian O’Brien, Simon Bouchier; Ronan Murray, Alex Sinnott; Paul Marah, Conor O’Brien, Ryan McConnell; Jordan Pettigrew (2-1, 1f), James Kavanagh (0-1), Tommy Kelly (1-1). Subs: Cormac Murnane for McConnell, Shane Murley (0-1) for Lynch, Padraig Higgins for Murray, James Byrne for Bouchier.

Referee: Kieron Kenny (Tinahely).

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