Portlaoise 4-11 Stradbally 3-6
ACFL Division 1A
Portlaoise made full use of the wind in Bill Delaney Park tonight as they put this game beyond Stradbally in the first half.
Paul Cahillane tormented the Stradbally rear-guard from the start and ended the game with 3-4 as the away side ended their losing ACFL Division 1A streak in style.
This was the first clash of the pair since that famous county final in October when Jody Dillon’s goal ended Portlaoise’s quest for 10 in a row.
With him in Prague and Colm Begley and Eoin Buggie unavailable due to county commitments, Portlaoise ran riot in the first half and ended it with a 16 point lead.
Paul Cahillane kicked two early frees before Conor Boyle struck for the game’s first goal after seven minutes. Jack Brown and Scott Lawless combined to create space for the midfielder who made no mistake.
Paul Cahillane kicked two more frees before Stradbally eventually opened their account after 17 minutes courtesy of a Tom Shiel free and then another from Podge Fitzpatrick.
But Portlaoise were relentless and further points followed from Brian Mulligan, Brian Smith, Scott Lawless before Paul Cahillane struck for a brace of goals to leave the half time score reading 3-9 to 0-2.
Stradbally turned with the wind at their backs but Portlaoise killed off the game three minutes after the restart.
Conor Dunphy kicked a point and Paul Cahillane then completed his hat-trick after a fine solo run to move Portlaoise 20 points clear.
To Stradbally’s credit, they kept going and made a game of it for the remainder of the second half.
Tom Shiel landed two efforts from long range before twins Cormac and Conor Delaney combined with the former raising a green flag.
Colm Kelly then kicked a free and fisted a point before Conor Dunphy lifted the siege for Portlaoise with a point on the counter attack.
That was Portlaoise final score of the game as Stradbally ended it with a flourish. Liam Knowles’ long range effort ended up in Michael Nolan’s net after it caught in the wind and moments later, Stradbally were awarded a penalty after Nolan lay on the ball in the square.
But Nolan atoned for his error by saving Kelly’s spot kick as Portlaoise ran out eight point winners.
PORTLAOISE: Michael Nolan; Chris Finn, Eoghan Feane, Ronan Molloy; Brian Mulligan (0-1), David Seale, David Holland; Jack Brown, Conor Boyle (1-0); Paddy Downey, Benny Carroll (0-1), Conor Dunphy (0-3); Paul Cahillane (3-4), Scott Lawless (0-1), Brian Smith (0-1). Subs: Frank Flanagan for Mulligan (41mins), Brian McCormack for Downey (47mins), John Kavanagh for Holland (52mins), Martin Staunton for Lawless (53mins)
STRADBALLY: Derek Beale; Justin Lalor, Eamonn Conlon, Jamie Kavanagh; Charlie O’Brien, Liam Knowles (1-0), Cormac Delaney (2-0); Darren Maher, Jack Deegan; Podge Fitzpatrick (0-1), Colm Kelly (0-2), Tom Shiel (0-3); John Donohue, Conor Delaney, Benny Lawlor. Subs: Jack Langton for Deegan (44mins)
Referee: John Flynn (The Rock)