Oulart-The Ballagh (Wexford) 3-8 Clough-Ballacolla (Laois) 0-13 (AIB Leinster Club SHC): Oulart-The Ballagh made their expected advance to a Leinster Championship meeting with Clonkill of Westmeath but they were forced to survive a vigorous examination to do so.

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Oulart-The Ballagh forced to battle against gutsy Laois men

Oulart-The Ballagh (Wexford) 3-8 Clough-Ballacolla (Laois) 0-13 (AIB Leinster Club SHC): Oulart-The Ballagh made their expected advance to a Leinster Championship meeting with Clonkill of Westmeath but they were forced to survive a vigorous examination to do so.

Oulart-The Ballagh forced to battle against gutsy Laois men

Indeed there was a degree of fortune about the victory as the Wexford champions were hanging on for much of the game and goals at either side of half-time played a huge part in the result at O’Moore Park.

There were question marks about both scores, with the first in particular, extremely controversial.

The Laois men responded well to those two setbacks but when David Redmond capitalised on an error by Lee Cleere to blast Oulart’s third goal, they were five points behind.

That was reduced to three but the hosts hit six wides in the last 10 minutes, had a shot cleared off the Oulart line and created a couple of other half-chances for goals that they could not capitalise on.

In the final quarter, the experience of Keith Rossiter and Rory Jacob in particular, was very much in evidence as Oulart showed far more composure to keep their noses in front.

The home side thundered into the fray from the outset, playing with a sweeper and a savage workrate that their more vaunted opponents struggled to contend with.

They registered the first four points, with two from Stephen Maher, before Oulart got off the mark and Murthy Doyle brought the teams level with a 15th minute goal.

However, the assist was provided by Peter Murphy, who was in splendid isolation as his marker, Cleere went down clutching his face after an off-the-ball clash with the half-forward.

Referee Peter Burke gave Murphy a yellow card, having been advised by his linesman that an offence had occurred in the build-up that obviously wasn’t deemed a strike, but the score stood.

Willie Hyland and Maher propelled Clough-Ballacolla to a 0-8 to 1-4 interval lead but that was scant reflection of their play in the opening period.

Then Oulart were awarded a penalty, when Gareth Sinnott appeared to go down very easily under a challenge from a defender.

Whatever about the merit of the award, there was no doubt about the finish as Jacob buried his shot clinically to the corner.

Maher responded immediately with a point to level the scores once more but a bout of sloppy play led to the concession of two frees in the space of a minute that were converted by Jacob.

Redmond’s excellent goal gave Oulart some breathing space for the very first time but again, Clough-Ballacolla fought back.

Ronan Broderick slotted a point before Robbie Phelan added a delightfully-worked score.

They spurned too many chances though, as they dominated those closing 10 minutes and in the end, it was Oulart who had the final say, with a point from substitute Billy Dunne to cement their place in the final four.

Scorers for Oulart-The Ballagh:

R Jacob 1-4(1-0pen, 0-3fs);M Doyle, D Redmond 1-0 each; D Mythen 0-2; P Roche (f), B Dunne 0-1 each.

Scorers for Clough-Ballacolla:

S Maher 0-6(3fs); W Hyland 0-3; R Broderick 0-2; R Phelan, A Corby 0-1 each

OULART-THE BALLAGH:

C O’Leary, E Moore, K Rossiter, B Kehoe, P Roche, S Murphy, D Redmond, T Storey, K Sheridan, P Murphy, D Mythen, P Sutton, G Sinnott, R Jacob, M Doyle.

Subs:

D Nolan for Sutton (38), M Jacob for P Murphy (43), M Óg Storey for Doyle (47); B Dunne for Nolan (57)

CLOUGH-BALLACOLLA:

D Hanlon, C Coonan, D Maher, E Doyle, JA Delaney, M McEvoy, L Cleere, R Broderick, T Delaney, S Maher, S Hanlon, W Hyland, A Corby, W Dunphy, R Phelan.

Subs:

S Bergin for Hanlon (41), D Bergin for T Delaney (52), M Dunphy for Corby (58).

Referee:

P Burke (Kilkenny)

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