For 59 minutes it was an ordinary game but then it got the most extraordinary finish you could hope for.
Portlaoise looked to be on their way to a first Laois intermediate football title in a long number of years when they led Emo by four points at one stage in the second half of Saturday night’s final in O’Moore Park.
But Emo, who came into the game as the hottest of favourites, refused to give in. They narrowed the gap with a couple of Evan Costello frees to give themselves a chance.
While it was hard to believe that only three minutes of injury time were signalled for after an incredible stop-start second half, that time was almost up when Emo got the goal that put them one up.
A long ball into the square broke off player-manager Paul Lawlor and David Gorman was on hand to get the ball over the line. An almighty scrap broke out straight away – one that saw Portlaoise full-back Colin Finn given his marching orders but The Town weren’t about to lie down either.
As the additional time mounted up, Portlaoise went on the attack again and earned a free, just outside the ’45, into the Abbeyleix end of the pitch and on the stand side.
Up stepped Jack Brown, who had saved Portlaoise earlier in the championship against The Rock. Again he showed nerves of steel to fire a wonderful free off the ground over the bar.
Moments later Joe Brennan sounded the final whistle. The sides will have to do it all over again next weekend – with the replay likely to be on Friday night or Saturday.
Let’s hope we’ll have the same amount of drama again. These highlights also show Nigel Murphy’s brilliant second-half goal as well as a gem of a free from Craig Rogers.
Thanks to Mike Egan and Laois GAA TV for sending this clip our way – he’ll have a full highlights package in the coming days.