Late Leonard strike brings Belcoo back into the mix
Lisnaskea's Daniel Kille offloads the ball under pressure from Niall Leonard during Belcoo's win.
Belcoo 1-12; Lisnaskea 0-09
Belcoo are right back in the mix at the top of the Division One table following their six point victory over table-toppers Lisnaskea on Sunday.
The O'Rahillys went into the game knowing that defeat would leave them trailing Lisnaskea by eight points but the win sees them cut the gap between them and the league leaders to only four points, and only one point adrift of a top four spot with the battle for semi-final places set to intensify.
This was only Lisnaskea's second defeat of the season and manager Mark Henry had stated earlier in the campaign that the nature of the league would see teams drop points along the way.
However, they remain two points ahead at the summit and are very well placed to take one of the semi-final spots.
The game was maybe tighter though than the scoreline suggests with the sides level with ten minutes to go only for the home side to produce a strong conclusion to clinch the victory.
Belcoo were the quicker out of the blocks and led 0-03 to 0-01 after ten minutes. Stephen Maguire and Daniel Kille traded points before Paul McGrath and Johnny Feely gave the home side the advantage.
Kille landed two close range frees to level proceedings by the midway stage of the half although Seamus Conlon and Paul McGrath were giving Belcoo the upperhand in the middle third.
Feely and Sean Keenan swapped points to leave it 0-04 apiece but with Maguire and Ciaran Flaherty firing over, Belcoo moved two points ahead.
However, Lisnaskea finished the first half strongly and three points in a row took them in at the break with a one point lead.
Mark Little and Niall McElroy tagged on points to level up the contest once more before Kille drilled over a wonderful point with the outside of the boot to leave it 0-07 to 0-06 at half time.
The O'Rahillys were back on level terms early in the second half as Philip Leonard clipped over a point, and the game remained a closely fought encounter as Maguire and McElroy traded points.
Belcoo then had the chance to put daylight between the sides when they were awarded a penalty following a foul on Maguire but Paul McGrath's effort was saved by Lisnaskea goalkeeper Andrew Kearns.
Niall Leonard did pop over a point when the resulting '45 fell to him and the game was to swing the way of Belcoo when they bagged the only goal of the contest ten minutes from time. Philip Leonard collected a Feely sideline ball and slotted to the net to make it a four point game, and it remained that way as Feely and Kevin Swift exchanged points.
But Belcoo were not to be caught and McGrath and Leonard rattled over fine late points to leave six between the sides at the finish.
This article appeared in Impartial Reporter 19 Jul 12