Home Sport GAA ACFL Division 1B round-up: Wins for Portarlington, Portlaoise and Emo

ACFL Division 1B round-up: Wins for Portarlington, Portlaoise and Emo

The future of the Laois GAA football leagues is to be examined by an external group
The future of the Laois GAA football leagues is to be examined by an external group

There were wins for Portarlington, Portlaoise and Emo in tonight’s ACFL Division 1B games.

These, along with the draw between Killeshin and Arles-Kilcruise, gives us a clearer picture of how the Division will unfold as we have now reached the closing stages of the competition.

Ballylinan 1-8 Portarlington 0-12

Two points in the final ten minutes proved crucial for Portarlington as they scored a vital win over Ballylinan in the race to claim the ACFL Division 1B final placings.

This was Portarlington’s second win over Ballylinan – and those are the only two games that they have lost this year.

However, the defeat isn’t too costly for Ballylinan as third placed side Killeshin could only manage a draw against Arles-Kilcruise.

Portarlington got the first two points of the encounter through Colm Murphy and Jake Foster but Ballylinan took the lead by the midpoint of the half thanks to Andy McEvoy (2) and Jamie Farrell.

Ballylinan scored again via Cathail Dunne this time but Portarlington ended the half in front by 0-6 to 0-4.

Portarlington stretched their lead out to 0-10 to 0-6 as we entered the final fifteen minutes before the tie swung dramtically in Ballylinan’s favour.

An Andy McEvoy goal was followed by points from the same player and Jamie Farrell to give the home team a 1-8 to 0-10 lead with 12 minutes to go.

But Ballylinan failed to score again as Portarlington kicked the final two points to claim a valuable win.

This result leave Portarlington and Ballylinan locked together at the top of the table on 18 points with Killeshin three points back in third place.

Next up for Portarlington is a trip to Killeshin where a win would almost guarantee them a final place. While Ballylinan will look to get back on track when they face Annanough.

PORTARLINGTON: Brian McAuley; Ian Higgins, Hayden Wledon, Diarmuid Bennett; Robbie Piggott, Paddy O’Sullivan, Graham Weldon; Eoin McCann, Johnny Fulham (0-2); Steven Lyons, David Murphy (0-2), Evin Lyons (0-2); Jake Foster (0-2), Colm Murphy (0-3), Jordan Fitzpatrick (0-1). Subs: Davey Condron, Dean Foster, Jason Ward

BALLYLINAN: Aidan Walsh; Eric Kenna, Dermot Leonard, Kevin Byrne; Cathal Leonard, Pauric McEvoy, Conor Behan; John Kealy, Jamie Farrell (0-2), Larry Kealy, Ciaran Farrell (0-2), Seamus Lacey; James Redmond, Cathail Dunne (0-1), Andy McEvoy (1-3). Subs: Brian Kenna, Cathal Fennessy

Arles-Kilcruise 0-9 Killeshin 0-9 

Killeshin’s pursuit of a league final place received a massive blow as they were held to a draw by Arles-Kilcruise.

Going into the game, Killeshin knew that with the top two sides playing each other, they simply had to win to close the gap on them.

And things looked to be going well as the visitors took a 0-6 to 0-1 lead into the half time break.

But Arles-Kilcruise had a lot to play for themselves. With the threat of back-to-back relegations hanging over them, they dug deep in the second half and came back to claim a valuable draw.

The next game for Arles-Kilcruise is simply massive as they travel to Crettyard, the side directly below them in the table. Johnny Irwin’s side know that a win there will all but assure them of safety.

Meanwhile, Killeshin’s hopes of reaching the league final are not over yet as they have a chance to undo the damage next week when they take on Portarlington.

Emo 3-11 Crettyard 3-8

Crettyard blew a brilliant chance to pull themselves out of the relegation zone tonight as they came out the wrong side of a six goal thriller against Emo.

The Carlow border side led by 2-4 to 0-1 early in the first half but failed to see home the advantage.

But both sides had a man sent off in the first half as Emo wiped out early goals from Eddie O’Reilly and Pa Brennan to go in trailing by just a single point at the break – 2-5 to 2-4.

Emo took over on the resumption of play and went six points clear before a late Pa Brennan goal set up a tense finish.

But Emo held on for a result that ends any outside chance that they could be drawn into a relegation battle.

Crettyard remain in the dropzone but will have the chance to climb out of it when they take on Arles-Kilcruise next week.

Annanough 0-2 Portlaoise 1-21

Portlaoise kept their slim chance of reaching the league final alive thanks to a massive 22 point win over Annanough in Vicarstown tonight.

This was Annanough’s eight consecutive defeat and an immediate return to Division 2 football will be confirmed should they lose their next game.

These two clashed in the Division 2 final last year with Portlaoise running out convincing winners and they led by 0-9 to 0-1 at half time in this one.

David Holland was Portlaoise’s top scorer on the night with seven points but he was ably assisted by Dylan McCabe with six who recently returned from a spell on a soccer scholarship in the States.

Martin Staunton, Dean Cullen, Niall Gavin and Aaron rafter were also amongst the point scorers while David Glynn popped up with the game’s only goal in the second half.

The win leaves Portlaoise five points off a final place and they take on Emo next week while Annanough must win against leaders Ballylinan or they will be down.

SEE ALSO – Here are all of Thursday’s Laois GAA results

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.