Portarlington 0-13 Stradbally 2-13
Laois Shopping Centre SFC Round 3
Jody Dillon’s late goal was the difference as Stradbally upset last year’s beaten semi finalists Portarlington to progress to the last eight of the SFC.
The star of Stradbally’s 2016 county championship success was in fine form all evening as he tormented a Portarlington side who were very disappointing throughout.
Stradbally opened the scoring with a point from Podge Fitzpatrick after a clever pass from Jody Dillon.
Portarlington welcomed Jake Foster, Robbie Pigott and Colm Murphy back to their team after a summer in the USA and the latter equalised from play.
In a low scoring half, Jake Foster, Ronan Coffey and Adam Ryan all scored to move Port three clear at the midpoint of the half.
Colm Kelly and Colm Murphy then traded frees before Stradbally had the game’s first goal chance after 22 minutes.
They played very direct throughout the half and pumped ball after ball in long to Darragh Mulhall. On this occasion, it broke off him down to Podge Fitzpatrick but he blazed his shot wide.
Jake Foster fisted Portarlington four clear but Stradbally hit back with two points made by Darragh Mulhall – one each for Dillon and Podge Fitzpatrick.
The latter could have been a goal but his shot flew over the bar and then Stradbally had another goal chance.
Darragh Mulhall again created it and the ball came to Conor Delaney who sidestepped Cathal Ryan but screwed his shot wide off his left foot.
Stradbally were on top though and Jody Dillon reduced the arrears to one as we entered injury time.
Dillon hit his third but Portarlington took a two point lead into half time thanks to Adam Ryan and Graham Weldon.
They could have had a goal too but Stradbally keeper Wayne Comerford pulled off a fine save to keep it 0-9 to 0-7 at the break.
Stradbally introduced Tom Shiel on the resumption of play and he combined well with Jack Deegan to score the opening point of the second half.
Jake Foster replied with his third of the game but a fisted Colm Kelly effort left the minimum between the teams again.
And the sides were level after 40 minutes when Colm Kelly won a free which Colm Begley converted.
We stayed deadlocked for eight more minutes before Colm Murphy regained the advantage for Portarlington after a neat pass from Eoin McCann.
Murphy scored again two minutes later but Conor Delaney replied to leave one in it as we entered the final ten minutes.
Jody Dillon, who really had a fine game at wing forward, slotted his fourth point and Stradbally were level once more.
David Murphy put Port back in front but Stradbally refused to let them away and Colm Kelly squared the game once more from a free after 55 minutes.
And then it was Stradbally’s turn to lead when a fine run from Colm Begley resulted in Colm Kelly swinging over his fourth of the game.
And then with two minutes of normal time to play, Tom Shiel broke a high ball down to Jody Dillon who raced clear and smashed it into the corner of the net.
Portarlington tried to comeback but any chance they had faded in the final minute of the three minutes of additional time when keeper Scott Osbourne fumbled Colm Begley’s free into the net.
Jake Foster kicked a late free but Stradbally were home and hosed now and take their place in the last eight.
SCORERS – Portarlington: Colm Murphy 0-4 (one free), Ronan Coffey 0-1, Jake Foster 0-4 (one free), Adam Ryan 0-2, Graham Weldon 0-1, David Murphy 0-1 Stradbally: Colm Kelly 0-4 (three frees), Jody Dillon 0-4 (one free), Podge Fitzpatrick 0-2, Tom Shiel 0-1, Colm Begley 1-1 (1-1 frees), Conor Delaney 0-1
STRADBALLY: Wayne Comerford; Colin Beale, Liam Knowles, Jamie Kavanagh; Joe Lacey, Colm Begley, Justin Lalor; Darren Maher, Jack Deegan; Damien Murphy, Jody Dillon, Conor Delaney; Podge Fitzpatrick, Darragh Mulhall, Colm Kelly. Subs: Tom Shiel for Fitzpatrick (ht), Jack Langton for Delaney (53m)
PORTARLINGTON: Scott Osbourne; Diarmuid Bennett, Cathal Ryan, Alex Mohan; Curtis Lyons, Paddy O’Sullivan, Robbie Pigott; Adam Ryan, Sean Byrne; Graham Weldon, David Murphy, Johnny Fulham; Ronan Coffey, Colm Murphy, Jake Foster. Subs: Eoin McCann for Byrne (17m, inj), Hayden Weldon for Lyons (38m, inj), Steven Lyons for Fulham (43m), Chris Booth for O’Sullivan (60m)
Referee: Joe Brennan (Crettyard)