Portlaoise 2-11 St Joseph’s 2-4
ACFL Division 1A
Portlaoise kept their hopes of reaching the league final alive by beating leaders St Joseph’s in Kellyville this evening.
Malachy McNulty’s team recovered from the concession of an early goal to come back and pull off a win which leaves them a point behind O’Dempsey’s with two games to go.
St Joseph’s are still not guaranteed a final place, although they remain three points clear of Portlaoise after this defeat.
Any result from their two remaining games will see them through, however.
Both sides exchanged points in the opening minute as Scott Lawless’s effort for Portlaoise was cancelled out by Brendan Hickey for St Joseph’s.
And the home side took the lead two minutes later. Matty Campion collected Dylan Doyle’s pass on the endline and charged goalwards before being upended by David Seale – leaving referee Maurice Deegan with no option bar to signal for a penalty.
Brendan Hickey stepped up and sent Michael Nolan the wrong way to raise the game’s first green flag.
Portlaoise responded with points from Kieran Lillis and Paul Cahillane but St Joseph’s kept in front thanks to an excellent effort from wing back Murtagh Condron.
But Portlaoise drew level by the twelfth minutes with points via Scott Lawless and Ricky Maher before taking the lead at the midpoint of the half.
John Kavanagh raced clear of the St Joseph’s defence and drew keeper Aaron Cooney before popping the ball to Scott Lawless who palmed the ball to the net.
Both teams kicked a number of bad wides in the time that remaining in the half which ended with Portlaoise leading by 1-5 to 1-2.
The sides traded points on the resumption of play with Portlaoise scores from Conor Dunphy and Scott Lawless being cancelled out by two Dylan Doyle frees.
Portlaoise introduced Craig Rogers from the substitutes bench and he got on the end of another flowing move to beat Aaron Cooney from close range with a low shot.
However, St Joseph’s went straight down the other end and Matty Campion emulated Rogers to leave the score at 2-7 to 2-4 with fifteen minutes to play.
But the home team failed to score again and any chance they had evaporated when Cian Maher was dismissed after picking up a second yellow card.
Portlaoise kicked four more points, thanks to Gareth Dillon (2), Conor Dunphy and John Kavanagh, to run out winners by seven in the end.
St Joseph’s will be looking to get that one win that they need on Friday night when they travel to face already relegated Ballyroan-Abbey.
While Portlaoise take on Graiguecullen on Saturday evening as they bid to keep the pressure on the two above them.
SCORERS – PORTLAOISE: Scott Lawless 1-3 (0-2 frees), Craig Rogers 1-0, Conor Dunphy and Gareth Dillon 0-2 each, Kieran Lillis, John Kavanagh, Ricky Maher, and Paul Cahillane 0-1 each ST JOSEPH’S: Brendan Hickey 1-1 (1-0 pen), Matty Campion 1-0, Dylan Doyle 0-2 frees, Murtagh Condron 0-1
PORTLAOISE: Michael Nolan; Jack Brown, Frank Flanagan, David Seale; David Holland, Kieran Lillis, Gareth Dillon; Ciarán McEvoy, Adrian Kelly; Conor Dunphy, John Kavanagh, Dean Cullen; Paul Cahillane, Scott Lawless, Ricky Maher. Subs: Brian Mulligan for Cullen (ht), Ronan Molloy for Holland (ht), Chris Finn for Brown (ht), Shane Smyth for Kelly (47mins), Paddy Downey for Rogers (55mins, inj)
ST JOSEPH’S: Aaron Cooney; Aidan Brennan, Tom Dunne, Donie Ramsbottom; Murtagh Condron, Dan Dunne, Cian Maher; James Smith, Cathal Fleming; Liam Kealy, Jason Campion, Dylan Doyle; Matty Campion, Brendan Hickey, Colin Campion. Subs: Paddy Hickey for J. Campion (18mins, inj), Peter Kealy for C. Campion (44mins)
Referee: Maurice Deegan (Stradbally)
READ ALSO – Here are Monday night’s Laois GAA results