COUNTY champions, Celbridge, scored a facile victory over Leixlip on Friday evening last in Round 2 of the SHC (losing group) at Kilcock, writes Tommy Callaghan.
Having defeated Clane in Round 1 (after their shock defeat by Confey in the preliminary round) Celbridge upped their game considerably on Friday with this fully deserved 18 point winning margin and doing so sent out a warning to one and all they are firmly back on track to retain their title.
And with still two or three of their players yet to return the task facing any side who have their eyes on relieving them of their title certainly looks a major task.
From the word go Celbridge took control with Sam White opening the score with a pointed free and while John Roche quickly equalised with a pointed free it was the champions who kept the score ticking over with three on the trot.
Paddy Moloney got Leixlip’s second and while Aidan Ryan and Niall Egan added two more Celbridge still led by three after 18 minutes.
The opening goal of the game arrived soon after when Paddy Moloney worked his way in behind the Leixlip defence go hit a low hard shot past Conor Cunningham in the Celbridge goal.
Three more points quickly followed before Gerry Keegan hit a beauty of goal, gathering Niall Lanigan’s puck out, the impressive forward, burned at pace and buried the ball in the onion sack to make it 2-10 to 0-4.
By half time that had increased to 2-12 to 0-5 and the game was well and truly over with 30 minutes remaining.
The second half was simply a formality but to be fair to Leixlip they did not throw in the towel and if anything played a lot better than their first half effort, however there was never gong to be any way back in this one.
The introduction of Martin Shuaghnessy certainly added a bit of power to Leixlip front six but their was no denying Celbridge who added a third goal through Gerry Keegan after 37 minutes.
Trailing 3-16 to 0-7 with ten minutes remaining Leixlip hit four points on the trot through Lorcan Savage, , John Doran (2) and Lorcan Shinnors and when Martin Shaughnessy was fouled up stepped Paul Maher with a penalty only to see Celbridge keeper, Niall Lanigan, deny him with a super save.
Celbrige then came with another burst of scoring culminating in a late goal from full forward Sean O’Carrolll to leave the final score reading Celbridge 4-20 Leixlip 0-14.
A very impressive display from the winners who look to be back to near their best. They dominated from the word go in all sections of the pitch. The defence, with Niall Ó Muineacháin in top form along with the McDonagh boys and Pa Curtain; Danny Butler was busy in the middle but it was up front where the champions really shone with each and every one of the front men getting on the score sheet, with Gerry Keegan being the stand out performer.
Leixlip were always going to find this one difficult and they will now look to their final game to see if they can still progress to the latter stages of the championship. They had fine displays from Aidan Ryan, John Doran, Niall Egan and Martin Shaughnessy.
Celbridge, Gerry Keegan 2-3, Paddy Moloney 1-2, Sam White 0-4 (3 frees), Mark Moloney 0-3, Conor Kenny 0-4, Sean O’Carroll 1-0, Billy White 0-3, Danny Butler 0-1,
Leixlip, John Doran 0-4 (1 free), Aidan Ryan 0-3, Niall Egan 0-1, Lorcan Shinnors 0-1, Gareth Savage 0-1, Paul Maher 0-1, Paddy Murphy 0-1, John Roche 0-1 (free), Martin Shaughnessy 0-1.
Niall Lanigan; Tom Finnerty, Fiachra Ó Muineacháin, Liam McDonagh; Aidan McDonagh, Donal Moloney, Pat Curtain; Danny Butler, Billy White; Mark Moloney, Conor Kenny, Sam White; Paddy Moloney, Sean O’Carroll, Gerry Keegan. Subs: Shane McNamara for Donal Moloney (29 minute); Marcus Kinsella for Billy White (60 minute); Shane O’Flynn for Aidan McDonagh (57 minute).
Conor Cunningham; Aidan Doran, Robert Roche, John Roche; Peter Hayes, Diarmuid Shinnors, Ryan Doyle; John Doran, Niall Egan; Barry Roche, Gareth Svage, Cathal Small; Paddy Murphy, Aidan Ryan, Lorcan Shinnors. Subs: Thomas Jones for John Roche (15 minute); Martin Shaughnessy for Peter Hayes (half time); Paul Maher for Paddy Murphy (36 minute).