The Heath 3-10 Portlaoise 2-11
Laois Shopping Centre ACFL Division 1A
A late Aidan Bergin goal was the crucial score as reigning league champions The Heath got the better of Portlaoise on the Heath this morning.
The Heath were trailing 2-10 to 2-7 as the game went into injury time but Bergin came up from wing-back and his speculative effort dipped in over Michael Nolan and into the back of the net.
There was still an amount of injury time but two points from Chris Bergin and one from JP Nerney swung the advantage to The Heath and try as Portlaoise could the only score they could get in the dying minutes was a point from Jack Browne.
While both teams were somewhat off full strength, The Heath got off to a dream start and were 1-1 to 0-0 up within two minutes, thanks to the first of Chris Bergin’s seven points and a goal from Daithi Carroll.
Portlaoise responded well, however, with points from Scott Lawless, Ciaran McEvoy and Ricky Maher but another Bergin free had The Heath 1-2 to 0-3 up at the end of the first quarter.
David Seale and Conor Dunphy pointed to level things up and although Evin Keane put The Heath back into the lead, a Lawless goal – after being set up by Paddy Downey – put Portlaoise into the lead for the first time. Downey then added a point to go three clear but another Keane point left it 1-6 to 1-4 to Portlaoise at the break.
Paddy Downey got in for a fortuitous goal for Portlaoise shortly after the restart but the game was then held up for almost seven minutes after serious-looking injuries to Kieran Lillis and Robbie Dowling with both needing to be replaced.
When play resumed The Heath regained control with Daithi Carroll capitalising on a defensive error to get in for his second goal.
Two good Bergin frees put The Heath into the lead but Portlaoise responded well. Laois goalkeeper Graham Brody came on in the full-forward line for Portlaoise and made an instant impression by punching a point after a good run. Two points from Conor Dunphy and then one Scott Lawless seemingly had Portlaoise in a winning position.
But then Aidan Bergin got the all-important goal and The Heath kicked on to claim their second win.
For Portlaoise it means two losses in a row and they have a short break now before they meet Stradbally on Wednesday night.
SCORERS – The Heath: Chris Bergin 0-7 (six frees), Daithi Carroll 2-0, Aidan Bergin 1-0, Evin Keane 0-2, JP Nerney 0-1. Portlaoise: Scott Lawless 1-2, Paddy Downey 1-1, Conor Dunphy 0-3, Graham Brody, Ciaran McEvoy, Ricky Maher, Brian Seale, Jack Browne 0-1 each
THE HEATH: Joe Walsh; Liam Campbell, Bob Delaney, Alan Whelan; Aidan Bergin, Jimmy Nerney, Robbie Dowling; Ciaran Booth, JP Nerney; James Phelan, Evin Keane, Mark Dunne; Ciaran Hyland, Daithi Carroll, Chris Bergin. Subs: Padraig Whelan for Hyland (half-time), Andrew Booth for Dowling (injured – 40 mins), David Conroy for Dunne (56 mins), David Phelan for Keane (66 mins)
PORTLAOISE: Michael Nolan; Chris Finn, Ronan Molloy, Eoghan Feane; Jack Browne, David Seale, David Holland; Kieran Lillis, Ciaran McEvoy; Conor Dunphy, Benny Carroll, Paddy Downey; Martin Staunton, Scott Lawless, Ricky Maher. Subs: John Kavanagh for Maher (injured – half time), Aindle MacGearailt for Lillis (injured – 40 mins), Graham Brody for Downey (50 mins)
REFEREE: Michael Tarpey (Kilcavan)