Portlaoise 0 Dublin Bus 1
Portlaoise bowed out of the Metropolitan Cup in a game that was ultimately decided by two second half penalties.
Their Dublin opponents, who play in a league two divisions above Portlaoise, were awarded a spot kick after 71 minutes which was put away but when Portlaoise were presented with the same opportunity six minutes from time, they failed to convert.
Portlaoise enjoyed the better of the early exchanges with Jason Maher and Colm Poole going close but Dublin Bus were threatening also and had the best chance of the opening quarter when their centre forward was unlucky to see his effort from a corner come back off the post.
Portlaoise finished the half strongly and Paul Cahillane was the width of the crossbar away from breaking the deadlock but his excellently struck free kick rebounded away to leave things scoreless at the break.
The game ebbed and flowed on the resumption of play with both sides having half chances before the most decisive moment arrived on 71 minutes. There seemed to be no danger as substitute Shane Collins closed down a Dublin Bus attacked on the edge of the area, however, the Dublin Bus player then went to ground under little contact and the referee pointed to the spot.
Andrew Bracken stepped up and beat Mateusz Cwienk from 12 yards to give Dublin Bus the lead. Portlaoise were dealt a second blow shortly after when striker Jason Maher picked up a second yellow meaning they would have the play the final quarter with ten men.
However, they battled gamely and when Paul Cahillane’s mazy run was halted illegally in the penalty area, the referee signalled for a second spot kick.
With regular penalty taker Jason Maher no longer on the field, Cahillane stepped up in an attempt to level the game but the keeper produced a fantastic save to deny him down to his left and Dublin Bus hung on for the win.
Portlaoise return to league action next week where they will once again be on the road when they travel to face Kilnamanagh in Dublin next Sunday.
The Laois side find themselves in third place in Division 1B of the Leinster Senior League after this weekend’s action saw wins for their title rivals so they will be looking to get back to winning ways.
Shane Collins for Brennan (8mins, inj)
Martin Staunton for Okpara (80mins)
Derek Beale for Rafter (85mins)