Emo 3-6 Portlaoise 1-12
Laois Shopping Centre Intermediate Football Championship Final
Emo and Portlaoise will have to meet again in the IFC final after they played out a dramatic draw in O’Moore Park tonight.
Both teams looked like they would be crowned champions in the nine minutes of injury time that were played in the second half.
Emo seemed to have won it when David Gorman bundled home a goal but Portlaoise found a way to level it in the last second thanks to Jack Brown.
Emo almost had a goal in the second minute. A short free kick went wrong for Portlaoise and Evan Costello was left one-on-one with Michael Nolan but the keeper pulled off a fine save.
But Nolan could do nothing when Costello got the same chance five minutes later after a fine run from Nigel Murphy and he buried the ball at the near post.
Portlaoise’s response was good though as Jason Maher and Jack Brown cut the deficit to the minimum.
The former then struck for a goal. He did very well to win a hopeful long ball and then had the composure to slip the ball through David Whelan’s legs.
And Portlaoise were three points clear by the tenth minute after another minor, Ronan McEvoy, scored after a fine run.
The game went scoreless for the next five minutes before Evan Costello landed one from an outrageous angle to leave it 1-3 to 1-1 at the midpoint of the half.
Craig Rogers restored Portlaoise’s three point lead with a fisted point but Paul Lawlor did likewise for Emo after 20 minutes.
Both team were guilty of kicking poor wides before Ross Brennan and Darren Strong traded points to bring the half to an end and leave Portlaoise 1-5 to 1-3 ahead.
Emo needed a fast start to the second half and they got it. Darren Strong’s quickly taken free found Paul Lawlor who deftly laid the ball off to Nigel Murphy and he rifled the ball to the net.
Ronan Molloy replied instantly for Portlaoise with a point and Martin Staunton had them one point up after 35 minutes.
Ronan McEvoy then kicked a peach of a point from distance to move the Town two clear. And when Craig added a free, Portlaoise were three clear as we entered the final quarter.
Emo had now gone 20 minutes without a score since their second goal and when Ronan McEvoy scored his third point, the margin was out to four.
Evan Costello ended Emo’s period without a score by converting their first free of the affair but Craig Rogers hit straight back.
Costello scored another free in the 55th minute to leave it 1-11 to 2-5. The same player then pointed another free in the first minute of injury time to cut the gap further.
We then had five minutes of injury time and it looked like Emo’s hopes were gone until Darren Strong’s hopeful long ball caused absolute pandemonium and Evan Costello managed to force the ball into the net.
But there was still time for Portlaoise to snatch the levelled in the 69th minute. Jack Brown was the man with the free from outside the 45 which means we will have to do it all over again.
SCORERS – EMO: Evan Costello 1-4 (0-3 frees), David Gorman 1-0, Nigel Murphy 1-0, Paul Lawlor 0-1, Darren Strong 0-1. PORTLAOISE: Jason Maher 1-1, Ronan McEvoy 0-3, Craig Rogers 0-3 (0-2 frees), Jack Brown 0-2 (0-2 frees), Ross Brennan 0-1, Ronan Molloy 0-1, Martin Staunton 0-1
EMO: David Whelan; Brian Gorman, James O’Rourke, Paddy Dunne; Padraig Kirwan, Finbarr Crowley, Nigel Murphy; Niall Wheeler, Darren Strong; Cian Langford, Chris Gleeson, Shane Murphy; David Gorman, Evan Costello, Paul Lawlor. Subs: Dylan Lalor for Gleeson (38mins), Marc Carney for Wheeler (49mins)
PORTLAOISE: Michael Nolan; Dean Lynch, Colin Finn, Ray Nerney; Darragh McAuley, Jack Brown, Paddy Downey; Craig Scully, Ronan Molloy; Ronan McEvoy, Craig Rogers, Ross Brennan; Aaron Rafter, Martin Staunton, Jason Maher. Subs: Liam McGovern for Rafter (22mins, inj), Oisin Fitzpatrick for McAuley (41mins), Colm Byrne for Brennan (59mins, inj), Aindle Mac Gerailt for Rogers (59mins, black card)
Referee: Joe Brennan (Crettyard)