Portlaoise 1 Kilnamanagh AFC 0
Leinster Senior League 1B
Paul Cahillane’s strike midway through the second half was enough to keep Portlaoise AFC’s title ambitions well alive.
Ger Dunne’s side know that two wins from their last two games will see them crowned Leinster Senior League 1B champions and they now have half of that job complete.
After a largely uneventful opening ten minutes, the first real chance fell to Portlaoise after 12 minutes when Aaron Rafter forced a save from the Kilnamanagh keeper following a great through ball from Paul Cahillane.
Rafter was causing all sorts of problems for the Kilnamanagh defence and he saw a shot just whistle over the bar before the away side threatened with a long range effort of their own.
Portlaoise thought they had broken the deadlock on the half hour mark when captain Eoghan White, who’s last minute goal was so valuable against Skerries last week, headed into the back of the net only to see his effort ruled out for offside.
Both sides were then reduced to 10 men less than ten minutes before half time when Portlaoise midfielder Eammanuel Okpara and the Kilnamanagh striker received straight red cards in the same incident.
The dismissals seemed to rattle Portlaoise but they got back on top before the break and saw a late Paul Cahillane effort from a free kick just go over as the sides headed for the dressing rooms with the score at 0-0.
The game remained deadlocked until the 67th minute when their playmaker Paul Cahillane popped up with a crucial goal. He picked up the ball 25 yards out before unleashing a drive into the corner of the net.
Kilnamanagh pushed hard for the equaliser but they could only muster long range efforts as Portlaoise held on for a fully deserved victory.
They face Inchicore Athletic next Thursday night in Dublin where they know that another win will see them lift the cup.
PORTLAOISE AFC: Mateusz Cwienk; Eoghan White, Mark Brennan, James Mullany, Oisin Fitzpatrick, Colm Poole, Emmanuel Okpara, Paul Cahillane, Jimmy Dermody, Jason Murphy, Aaron Rafter.
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