Home Sport GAA Portlaoise hang on to march on in Leinster club championship

Portlaoise hang on to march on in Leinster club championship

Benny Carroll in action for Portlaoise in their Leinster Club SFC opening round game against Rhode in Tullamore
Portlaoise 1-10 Rhode 0-10

AIB Leinster Club SFC Round 1

Portlaoise have set up a Leinster Club SFC quarter-final meeting with Kildare champions Moorefield following their win over Rhode in Bord na Mona O’Connor Park in Tullamore this afternoon.

Malachy McNulty’s men made hard work of it, leading by six points at the break but they only scored twice in the second half, eventually hanging on to win by three.

Portlaoise played some fine football in the opening half with 36-year-old Brian McCormack causing all sorts of problems for the Rhode defence.

Portlaoise had a goal disallowed in the first minute after McCormack and Scott Lawless combined but McCormack got Portlaoise off the mark soon after. Although Niall McNamee levelled things up with the first of his three first-half points, captain Conor Boyle and the recently-crowned Player of the Year Gareth Dillon pushed Portlaoise into an early 0-3 to 0-1 lead.

McNamee pointed twice either side of another McCormack point but Portlaoise soon hit a purple patch with points from Paul Cahillane (free) and Dillon followed by a brilliant Ciaran McEvoy goal. That put them six up and McCormack’s third point from play left it 1-7 to 0-3.

Rhode responded with the next two points – a free from Paul McPadden and a point from play from corner-back Dylan Kavanagh – and while a brilliant long-range free from Paul Cahillane was cancelled out by Niall Darby, Portlaoise were still full value for their 1-8 to 0-6 half-time lead.

Another Cahillane free got Portlaoise off the mark early in the second half but it amazingly it was to be their last score for almost half an hour.

Rhode kept plugging away and hit three points in a row – frees from Derby and McNamee and one from sub Ciaran Heavey – had just three between them entering the final ten minutes.

A wonderful Niall McNamee point from play got it back to two but there was to be no further score. Rhode pressed hard and were unlucky not to have a couple of late frees.

Rhode centre-back Brian Darby was given a straight red card late on and a brilliant lpoint from Gareth Dillon eventually settled the tie in Portlaoise’s favour.

SCORERS – Portlaoise: Ciaran McEvoy 1-0, Brian McCormack 0-3, Paul Cahillane 0-3 (frees), Gareth Dillon 0-3, Conor Boyle 0-1. Rhode: Niall McNamee 0-5 (two frees), Niall Darby 0-2 (frees) Dylan Kavanagh 0-1, Paul McPadden 0-1 (free), Ciaran Heavey 0-1

PORTLAOISE: Michael Nolan; Chris Finn, Frank Flanagan, David Holland; Brian Mulligan, Kieran Lillis, David Seale; Ciaran McEvoy, Adrian Kelly; Gareth Dillon, Benny Carroll, Conor Boyle; Paul Cahillane, Brian McCormack, Scott Lawless. Subs: Brian Smith for Lawless (18 mins), Shane Smith for Kelly (42 mins), Craig Rogers for Carroll (52 mins), Paddy Downey for Mulligan (56 mins)

RHODE: Ken Garry; James McPadden, Shane Sullivan, Jake Kavanagh; Dylan Kavanagh, Brian Darby, Niall Darby; Alan McNamee, Conor McNamee; Stephen Hannon, Niall McNamee, Paul McPadden; Pauric Sullivan, Ruairi McNamee, Anton Sullivan. Subs: Darren Garry for McPadden (35 mins), Ciaran Heavey for D Kavanagh (42 mins)

REFEREE: Barry Tiernan (Dublin)

SEE ALSO – Portlaoise business closes its doors

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Steven Miller is owner and managing editor of LaoisToday.ie. From Laois, Steven studied Journalism in DCU and has 14 years experience in the media, almost 10 of those in an editorial role. Husband of Emily, father of William and Lillian, he's happiest when he's telling stories or kicking a point.