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Remember the Game: 2000 U-21 hurling win for Portlaoise

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Portlaoise who defeated Rathdowney in the Under 21 A H.C. Final at Rathdowney
Portlaoise who defeated Rathdowney in the Under 21 A H.C. Final at Rathdowney

Portlaoise 1-13 Rathdowney 0-7

U-21 Hurling Championship Final 2000

The turn of the century was something of a golden era for hurling in the Town.

Following on from their U-17 success earlier in the year, Portlaoise collected the U-21 title following a comprehensive nine point victory over Rathdowney.

This was the first U-21 crown in thirteen years and only their fourth in their history.

Both sides had won twice to get to the final with Portlaoise surviving a first round scare against Borris-In-Ossory but they never looked in danger here.

Rathdowney played against the breeze in the first half and failed to score for 20 minutes. In that period, Portlaoise raced into a commanding lead.

Bruno McCormack, more noted now for his footballing exploits, stuck five points while Tommy Fitzgerald, Niall Fitzpatrick and Joe Phelan also raised white flags as Portlaoise went 0-8 to no score in front.

Rathdowney finally lifted the siege through Pat Phelan. Peter Gray then added a free before they had a great goal chance.

Full forward Jim Doherty pulled first time on the sliotar but it just flew over the crossbar.

Portlaoise, however, hit two more points through McCormack and Tommy Mulligan to leave them ahead by 0-10 to 0-3.

Rathdowney began the second half well and, with the aid of the breeze, they scored the next two points via Gray and Pat Phelan to narrow the gap to five.

But that was as close as they would come. Tommy Fitzgerald replied with his second point for Portlaoise and they made the game safe with ten minutes to go.

A high ball caused confusion in the Rathdowney full back line and the ball eventually broke to Padraig Phelan who was left with the simple task of kicking the ball into an empty net.

Rathdowney kept going with late points from Pat Phelan and Peter Gray but it wasn’t enough and Portlaoise ran out worthy winners.

SCORERS – Portlaoise: Brian McCormack 0-6, Padraig Phelan 1-1, Tommy Fitzgerald 0-2, Joe Phelan, Morgan O’Sullivan, Niall Fitzpatrick and Tommy Mulligan 0-1 each Rathdowney: Pat Phelan and Peter Gray 0-3 each, Jim Doherty 0-1

PORTLAOISE: Daniel Browne; Michael Bowe, Liam Egan, David Kavanagh; David Downey, Eoin Browne, Diarmuid Mullins; Joe Phelan, Brian Fitzpatrick; Brian McCormack, Padraig Phelan, Tommy Mulligan; Colm Byrne, Niall Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fitzgerald. Subs: Morgan O’Sullivan for P. Phelan

RATHDOWNEY: John Paul Ryan; Gerry Keogh, Niall Brennan, Gerry Drennan; Alan Delaney, Liam Mahon, Enda Fitzpatrick; Pat Phelan, Edward Dowling; Peter Gray, Tom Mahon, Eoin Dowling; Liam Middleton, Jim Doherty, Patrick Murphy. Subs: Greg Phelan for Middleton, Jim Fitzpatrick for Drennan, Tom Drennan for G Phelan

READ ALSO – Remember the Game: 2000 U-17 hurling win for Portlaoise