The Heath 0-9 Portlaoise 2-12
Laois Shopping Centre ACFL Division 1A
Two goals from early substitue John Kavanagh at the start of either half set the foundations for a solid Portlaoise performance and win over neighbours The Heath this morning.
The game was played in wet slippery conditions, forcing both sides to take time to adjust and settle. Scott Lawless fell victim to the slippery turf in the opening five minutes, when he twisted an ankle, meaning Kavanagh had to enter the field of play.
A mishit Portlaoise shot was defended poorly defended by The Heath, and the ball slipped to Kavanagh, who was only after entering play, and he buried the ball past the keeper. That was the first score of the game, but Robbie Dowling replied just moments later to open The Heath’s account.
Both side’s traded points, with Craig Rodgers and Gareth Dillon finding the target for Portlaoise, while a Ciaran Booth point and Alan Whelan’s fine effort added to The Heath’s tally.
Portlaoise finished the stronger as another Gareth Dillon free and an excellent Benny Carroll score gave The Town a five point margin at the break, leading 1-5 to 0-3.
Conor Boyle opened the second half scoring, just before centre-back Colin Finn popped over a nice point to stretch Portlaoise’s lead even further. The margin reached double figure soon after, as a goalkeeping mistake led to another poaching goal by John Kavanagh.
Portlaoise didn’t let up as they added two more points to their 10 point lead through Bruno McCormack and Ronan McEvoy. The Heath’s corner-back displayed his attacking exploits yet again as he got through for goal but he failed to keep his shot low enough, scoring a point instead.
Benny Carroll and Ronan McEvoy added two more for Portlaoise but The Heath then managed to string 10 minutes of good play together, putting Portlaoise under some good pressure. Daithi Carroll slotted four points in a row, with three frees. But they couldn’t get a crucial goal as the Portlaoise defence held out.
Conor Boyle added Portlaoise’s last point before Eoin Delaney kicked the final score of the game to leave Portlaoise nine point winners on the scoreline of 2-12 to 0-9. Portlaoise go third in Division 1A with their second league win while The Heath have now won, drew and lost a game leaving them in fourth still.
Scorers: THE HEATH: Daithi Carroll 0-4 (0-3 frees), Alan Whelan 0-2, Robbie Dowling 0-1, Ciaran Booth 0-1, Eoin Delaney 0-1. PORTLAOISE: John Kavanagh 2-0, Craig Rodgers 0-2 (0-2 frees), Gareth Dillon 0-2 (0-2 frees), Benny Carroll 0-2, Conor Boyle 0-2, Ronan McEvoy 0-2, Colin Finn 0-1, Bruno McCormack 0-1.
THE HEATH: Billy Hennessy; Neil Keane, Aidan Bergin, Alan Whelan; Mark Dowling, James Nerney, Ciaran Booth; Daithi Carroll, Denis Booth; James Phelan, Robbie Dowling, Colin Nestor; Eoin Delaney, Andrew Booth, Robert Ging.
PORTLAOISE: Graham Brody; Mickey Dowling, Gary Saunders, Brian McCormack; Chris Finn, Colin Finn, Paddy Downey; Kieran Lillis, Brian Glynn; Benny Carroll, Conor Boyle, Gareth Dillon; Craig Rogers, Scott Lawless, Ronan McEvoy. Subs: John Kavanagh, Ross Brennan, Bruno McCormack, Jason Maher, Aaron Rafter.