Stephen Maher takes a shot at goal. Evan Treacy/INPHO
Let off the Laois

Captain Maher inspires Clough-Ballacolla into Leinster hurling semi-finals

Stephen Maher finished with 1-9 as Raparees were beaten at O’Moore Park.

Clough-Ballacolla 1-17

Raparees 0-12

CLOUGH-BALLACOLLA ARE through to the Leinster Club SHC semi-final thanks to a hard-earned win over Wexford champions Raparees in O’Moore Park on Saturday evening. 

The Laois side had failed to get a win on their previous attempts in the provincial championship in 2009, 2011 and 2015 and there was no competition in 2020. 

But following their second successive triumph in Laois this year, they were six-point winners over the Enniscorthy club thanks to a performance inspired by captain Stephen ‘Picky’ Maher. 

Maher finished with 1-9, with his excellent goal after half time a key score. 

Raparees had won the Wexford final for the first time since 1978 back in September but were 10 weeks without a competitive hurling fixture.

Raparees played with the wind in the first half and brought back a sweeper to clutter the space for the Clough-Ballacolla. 

But despite the fine free-taking of Ryan Mahon, Clough-Ballacolla remained in contention and hit the last couple of points of the half to go in level at 0-8 apiece. 

Raparees had a slight goal chance early in the second half but Clough-Ballacolla cleared the danger and from the resulting attack, they got the game’s first and only goal, with Maher brilliantly flicking the ball over Anthony Larkin. 

Raparees remained in touch throughout the second half but could never get level and Clough-Ballacolla pushed on in the final quarter to finish seven-point winners in the end. 

They now go forward to play Kilmacud Crokes (Dublin) or Raharney of Westmeath in the semi-final in two weeks time.  

Scorers for Clough-Ballacolla: Stephen Maher 1-9 (seven frees, one 65), Willie Dunphy 0-2, Stephen Bergin 0-2, Willie Hyland 0-2, Robbie Phelan 0-1, Cillian Dunne 0-1

Scorers for Rapparees: Ryan Mahon 0-7 (five frees), Oisin Pepper 0-2, Jack Kelly 0-1, James Pearce 0-1, Kevin Foley 0-1

CLOUGH-BALLACOLLA: Cathal Dunne; Diarmaid Conway, Darren Maher, Eoin Doyle; Brian Corby, Michael McEvoy, Lee Cleere; Willie Hyland, Aidan Corby; Robbie Phelan, Jordan Walshe, Mark Hennessy; Stephen Bergin, Willie Dunphy, Stephen Maher. Subs: Cillian Dunne for Hennessy (42), John Dwyer for Walshe (54), Sean Corby for Hyland (61)

RAPPAREES: Anthony Larkin; Dillion Redmond, Liam Ryan, Anthony Roche; James Pearce, Ben Edwards, Jack Kelly; Kevin Foley, Alan Tobin; Kevin Ryan, Ryan Mahon, Ricky Fox; Lenny Connolly, Tommy Foley, Oisin Pepper. Subs: Tomas Mahon for Fiox (34), Peter O’Sullivan for Roche (38, inj), Jack Kirwin for Ryan (53)

Referee: Patrick Murphy (Carlow)

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