Portlaoise 2-9 St Conleth’s 0-6
Laois Ladies SFC Semi-final
There was elation for the Portlaoise ladies on Sunday evening as they confirmed their spot in this year’s Laois Ladies SFC final.
A youthful Portlaoise team displayed great defensive solidarity and a cutting edge upfront which punished a Conleths side who struggled to take their opportunities.
Despite the wet conditions on the pitch, the rain managed to stay at bay which helped for a good quality football match. From the off St Conleth’s could have grabbed a goal as Eva Galvin’s effort was flicked clear by Ciamh Dollard. It was Portlaoise who grabbed the first score of the game with a free from Aisling Kehoe but that was quickly cancelled out by Sinead Cullen’s free.
Conleth’s then took the lead as Naomi Luttrell popped over a nice score. Aisling Kehoe had her shooting boots on though as she grabbed her second point of the game. Fiona Dooley regained the lead for Portlaoise to leave them with a slim lead after 15 minutes.
A good flowing move from St Conleth’s let Sinead Cullen pick out Naomi Luttrell for her second point of the game. They were soon thankful to their wing back Shauna Quirke as her last-ditch tackle prevented an open goal chance for Sarah-Anne Fitzgerald. St Conleth’s had a series of chances to strengthen their position but failed to take them.
It would be Portlaoise who finished the stronger of the two sides as they kicked over another three points before having a goal bound shot toy with the goal line which was cleared by Lydia Darley in the Conleths’ goal to leave the sides 0-6 to 0-3 at the break.
Alanna Havill snatched the first score of the second half as she swung over a nicely taken point. But Portlaoise replied the best way they could as they drove down the pitch where Grainne Moran picked up the ball in the square before burying a shot past the St. Conleths’ goalie. They soon added a free to leave the sides 1-7 to 0-4 midway through the second half.
Portlaoise were now dominating the game in defence as every St. Conleths attack was sniffed out by the Portlaoise backline. Portlaoise then turned over the ball in the middle of the pitch and after a nice string of passes, Anna Fitzgibbon found herself in space and unleashed a pinpoint shot into the bottom left corner.
St Conleth’s began to find a little success upfront as Claire O’Connell and Eva Galvin grabbed two points. Portlaoise seemed to just switch off for a few minutes where St Conleth’s found themselves with more chances but they were unable to convert them.
Aisling Kehoe then grabbed herself another point from a dead ball to secure the victory for the Portlaoise side. They now await the winners of the other semi-final where favourites Sarsfields will take on Timahoe Ladies.
SCORERS – Portlaoise: Aisling Kehoe 0-6, Grainne Moran 1-1, Anna Fitzgibbon 1-0, Fiona Dooley, Maeve Phelan 0-1 each. St Conleth’s: Naomi Luttrell 0-2, Sinead Cullen, Alanna Havill, Claire O’Connell, Eva Galvin 0-1 each.
PORTLAOISE: Ciamh Dollard; Sarah Phelan, Claire Dunne, Deirdre Phelan; Orla Carroll, Ellen Healy, Aisling Saunders; Sarah-Anne Fitzgerald, Maeve Phelan; Olga Parkinson, Aisling Kehoe, Fiona Dooley; Grainne Moran, Anna Fitzgibbon, Shaunagh Dunne.
ST CONLETH’S: Lydia Darley; Sile Burbage, Tinasha Chapwanya, Mary Cotter; Shauna Quirke, Maria Byrne, Olivia Darley; Aine Haberlin, Claire Fox; Naomi Luttrell, Eva Galvin, Sinead Cullen; Claire O’Connell, Rachel Cullen, Alanna Havill.