It was an exhilarating opening round of the Bank of Ireland Celtic Challenge in Group C as Laois and Wexford secured tight wins.
Laois can rest next week and keep an eye on how the other results pan out as Plunketts take on Offaly while Wexford play Dublin Clarke who were not in action this week.
Read a round-up of all the first round games below.
Laois Edge Out Offaly In Cracking BOI Celtic Challenge Opener
Laois recorded a deserved opening-round victory in the BOI Celtic Challenge on Wednesday night. They edged out a determined Offaly side in this thrilling Group C game at the LOETB/Laois GAA Centre of Excellence.
Laois started the game strongly scoring 0-5 without reply. Offaly finally got their opening score after 14 minutes but Laois continued to dominate and fired two goals in quick succession through Jim O’Connor and Jack Foyle. This left the scoreline 2-6 to 0-2 but Offaly’s Adam Landy was becoming more influential and replied with two fine points for the away side. Laois, however, pushed forward as the half concluded and hit a string of fine scores to leave a half time score of Laois 2-12 Offaly 0-4.
The second half was a much more competitive affair but it started in the worst possible manner for Offaly. Needing goals themselves, they had to look on as Laois captain Daniel Bowe struck a goal within 60 seconds of the restart. This may have rattled a lesser side but Offaly, to their absolute credit, came storming into the game and fired over 1-5 without reply.
Cillian Dunne arrested the slide for Laois with a couple of fine scores but Offaly were relentless and points from Loughlann Quinn and Callum Flannery either side of a Martin Lawlor goal hauled the visitors within five points of Laois.
Though Offaly continued to battle until the final whistle, Laois had enough in the tank and ultimately ran out deserved winners on a scoreline of 3-18 to 2-15.
Referee Maurice Flynn presented the Best & Fairest award to Laois’ Cillian Dunne and Offaly’s Adam Landy.
Laois: Ben Campion, Lochlin Conway, Aodh Bowes, Mick O’Brien, Philip Tynan (0-2), Niall Coss, Jack Phelan, Daniel Bowe (1-3, 1-2frees), Joe Corby, Padraig Rafter(0-3), Jack Foyle (1-2), Josh O’Brien Holmes (0-1), Cillian Dunne (0-5, 5frees), Sam Quinn (0-1)
Replacements: Rian Edwards, Sam Birane, Ryan Costigan, Alex Moran
Offaly: Barry Connolly, Darragh Landy, Liam Miller, Oisin Kilmartin, Cian Burke, John Coughlan, Sean Kilmartin, Sean Rattigan, Pat Phelan (0-1)
Eoin Murphy, Shane Ryan, Adam Landy(0-8, 7frees), Lee Hogan, Loughlann Quinn (1-3)
Replacements: Callum Flannery (0-3), Charlie Bracken, Jack Ormonde, Martin Lawlor(1-0)
Report by: Oonagh Maher
Wexford Edge Out Plunketts In Thrilling Celtic Challenge Opener
Dublin Plunkett: 2-12
In an exciting contest, Dublin Plunkett lost narrowly by 2 points to Wexford on final score line of 0:20 (Wexford) to 2:12 (Dublin) in the opening Group C game of the Bank of Ireland Celtic Challenge which was played in the Wicklow GAA centre of excellence on 1 May.
Playing against the wind in the first half Dublin found themselves down by 4 points within the first five minutes but a goal from close range from Sean Purcell and a point from David Keogh had the sides level. For the next 15 minutes, both sides traded points with good scores for Dublin coming from Rhys McDonnell (0-2), Niall Fitzgibbon (0-1) and Sean Cooney (0-1).
However, in a short period before half-time Wexford pulled ahead with some great point taking from Zach Breslin and Thomas Kinsella to leave the scores at 0-14 to 1-5 when the whistle for half-time was blown by John Keenan.
On the restart, Dublin started brightly with Rob Burnett scoring a point. Wexford settled again through Kinsella to keep some daylight between themselves and Dublin with of some top class point taking from Dublin’s Connell McGlynn, Daniel Peel and Sean O’Brien.
With some 10 minutes to go Wexford were six points ahead. Dublin came roaring back in the game when Rob Burnett’s route to goal was stopped and a penalty ensued which Daniel Peel duly dispatched to James Rossiter’s net. Daniel Peel then sent over a point and there was only one point between the teams with three minutes remaining. Although Dublin did have some chances Wexford kept their nerve and sent a point over to put them two ahead.
Try as Dublin could, Wexford’s defence could not be breached for that goal that Dublin needed to win. Both sides gave everything and a special mention to Paddy Doyle (Dublin) and Thomas Kinsella (Wexford) who were chosen as the best and fairest players by the referee John Keenan.
Report by: Colm Burtchaell
Dublin Plunkett: Adam O’Connor, Paddy Doyle, Jamie Green, Brian Dunne, Sean Gallagher, Ferghal Kilbane, Jack Guinan, Rhys McDonnell (0-2), Luke O’Loughlin, Niall Fitzgibbon (0-1), Sean Cooney (0-1), David Keogh (0-1), Daniel Peel (1-4), Gordon Rogers, Sean Purcell (1-0).
Replacements: Adam Langan, Sean O’Brien (0-1), Jack Crennan, Connell McGlynn (0-1) and Rob Burnett (0-1)
Wexford: James Rossiter, Adam Roche, Robbie Hillis, Alex Boggan, Tommy Gallagher, Cormac Doyle, Oisin O’Cheallaigh, Thomas Kinsella, Shane Flood, Darren Kelly, Shem O’Hagan, Liam Schokman, Eoin O’Meara, Zach Breslin, Josh Carley.
Replacements: Jason Gordon, Rory Devereux, Michael Dundon, JJ Twamley, Jack Twomey, Brian Og Curran, Matt Kinnard.