Portlaoise 1-8 O’Dempsey’s 0-11
Laois Shopping Centre ACFL Division 1A
There was no separating O’Dempsey’s and Portlaoise in Rathleague this evening as they played out a draw in the latest round of the ACFL Division 1A.
A Brian Nugent point for O’Dempsey’s was the equalising point but there was no score in the final ten minutes. O’Dempsey’s had plenty of ball but they struggled to break down a Portlaoise side playing very defensively and a draw was probably a fair result.
Portlaoise’s only real chance in that late spell was a tricky free that Scott Lawless sent wide while O’Dempsey’s had a couple of reasonable opportunities and were slightly aggrieved that referee Brendan McCann blew the full time whistle when they were on the attack and with just over a minute of injury time played.
In any case the result keeps O’Dempsey’s in second place and it means they are unbeaten against Portlaoise this season having already won at home in the opening round of this league. And while neither side were at full strength, Portlaoise started with only five of the team that played in last year’s county final and Brian McCormack and Paul Cahillane were both forced off with injury.
Scott Lawless got the first of his four points early on and although Matthew Finlay replied for O’Dempsey’s, Portlaoise soon opened up a bit of a lead.
Brian McCormack pointed from play and then Paul Cahillane finished brilliantly to the back of the net after a mistake in the O’Dempsey’s defence.
That made it 1-2 to 0-1 but the Killenard outfit scored the next three points – from Darren Fitzpatrick (after a good save by Richard Downey on Bryan Nugent), Conor Meredith and Stephen O’Leary.
Lawless pointed two frees either side of a Nugent free and the half ended with a gem of a point from Matthew Finlay off the outside of his boot. At the break Portlaoise led by a point, 1-4 to 0-6.
O’Dempsey’s hit the first three points of the second half within five minutes of the restart – a nice punched effort from Darren Fitzpatrick after a sweet dummy, a long-range score from half-time sub Johnny Kelly and an effort drilled over by Nugent.
That put O’Dempsey’s two up but Portlaoise hit back with the next three from Cahillane, Lawless and a fine point from Ricky Maher after good build-up work from Benny Carroll.
A Nugent free tied things up again and then Cahillane swung over a fine point before injury forced his withdrawal. O’Dempsey’s had plenty of ball in the final quarter and although there was over ten minutes remaining when Nugent landed a whopper off his weaker left.
But that was to be the last score of the game. A draw keeps both sides in the hunt for a league final place.
SCORERS – Portlaoise: Paul Cahillane 1-2, Scott Lawless 0-4 (three frees), Brian McCormack and Ricky Maher 0-1 each. O’Dempsey’s: Bryan Nugent 0-4 (two frees), Darren Fitzpatrick and Matthew Finlay 0-2 each, Johnny Kelly, Conor Meredith and Stephen O’Leary 0-1 each
PORTLAOISE: Richard Downey; David Holland, Brian Seale, Ronan Molloy; Chris Finn, Brian Mulligan, Jack Browne; Benny Carroll, Dean Cullen; Paddy Downey, John Kavanagh, Chris Dunphy; Paul Cahillane, Scott Lawless, Brian McCormack. Subs: Ricky Maher for McCormack (injured – 18 mins), Adrian Kelly for Kavanagh (half-time), Craig Rogers for Cahillane (injured – 45 mins), Kevin Fitzpatrick for Mulligan (60 mins)
O’DEMPSEY’S: Padraig Bannon; Tommy Kehoe, Peter O’Leary, Cormac O’Hora; Robbie Kehoe, Barry Kelly, Richard Whelehan; Conor Meredith, Shane Nerney; Michael Finlay, Bryan Nugent, Matthew Finlay; Stephen O’Leary, Eoin Finlay, Darren Fitzpatrick. Subs: Johnny Kelly for B Kelly (injured – half-time), Bobby Sweeney for E Finlay (57 mins) Sean McMahon for S O’Leary (57 mins)
REFEREE: Brendan McCann (Portarlington)
SEE ALSO – All of Friday night’s Laois GAA results