Portlaoise 2-11 Arles-Killeen 0-6
ACFL Division 1A
Portlaoise kept their hopes of reaching the league final alive thanks to an 11-point win over Arles-Killeen in Rathleague on Sunday evening.
On a horrible wet and windy evening, Portlaoise played against the elements in the opening half but always had the upper hand. They could have had three goals in the opening ten minutes but one brilliant save from Michael Leigh and two wides from close range kept things tight.
The home side got off the mark with a nice score from Dean Cullen and Paul Cahillane and Ricky Maher (a hugely impressive ’45 into the breeze) had them 0-3 to 0-0 in front. Jason Enright and Sean O’Shea responded with long-range points for Killeen but two Cahillane frees and one from play from wing-back Brian Mulligan – against Enright’s second point of the half – had Portlaoise 0-6 to 0-3 up at the break.
Facing into the wind was always going to be a tough task for Killeen in the second half and it was made even more difficult when Cahillane got the first of his two goals when he put his soccer skills to use by finishing smartly. Conor Boyle added on a point and although Enright hit back with two for Killeen, Cahillane had the ball in the net again in the 41st minute after being put through by a great pass from Scott Lawless.
Ricky Maher, Shane Smith, Ciaran McEvoy and Martin Staunton all pointed between there and the end with Killeen’s only response coming from a late Enright free.
The result means Portlaoise remain three points behind second-placed O’Dempsey’s but with just three games remaining they’re running out of time to catch the Killenard club on the table.
Killeen remain deep in relegation trouble but their next two games are against bottom side Ballyroan-Abbey and The Heath, who are in the place above them.
SCORERS – Portlaoise: Paul Cahillane 2-3 (0-2 frees), Ricky Maher 0-2 (0-1 ’45), Brian Mulligan, Dean Cullen, Conor Boyle, Shane Smith, Martin Staunton, Ciaran McEvoy 0-1 each. Arles-Killeen: Jason Enright 0-5 (two frees), Sean O’Shea 0-1
PORTLAOISE: Michael Nolan; David Holland, David Seale, Ronan Molloy; Brian Mulligan, Conor Boyle, Jack Browne; Adrian Kelly, Dean Cullen; Shane Smith, Craig Rogers, Conor Dunphy; John Kavanagh, Paul Cahillane, Ricky Maher. Subs: Chris Finn for Mulligan (half-time), Scott Lawless for Kavanagh (40 mins), Ciaran McEvoy for Kelly (42 mins), Colin Finn for Rogers (50 mins), Martin Staunton for Maher (45 mins), Dara McAuley for Molloy (53 mins)
ARLES-KILLEEN: Michael Leigh; Brian Kennedy, Joe Mulhare, Niall O’Rourke; John Mahon, Dermot Julian, Cathal Moran O’Brien; Joe Mahon, Shane Julian; Sean O’Shea, Donie Brennan, Conor Keightley; Tom McWey, Jason Enright, Gerry McWey. Sub: Eamonn Mahon for T McWey (half-time)
REFEREE: David Moore (St Joseph’s)