Home Sport GAA Portlaoise at their ease as they see off St Joseph’s to book...

Portlaoise at their ease as they see off St Joseph’s to book final place again

Ciaran McEvoy scored one of Portlaoise's first-half goals

Portlaoise 4-15 St Joseph’s 1-9
Laois Shopping Centre SFC Semi-final

Throughout this Laois championship season, we have argued that St Joseph’s are the best of the rest, the second best team in the county after Portlaoise.

Today in O’Moore Park they squared up to Portlaoise as they bidded to reach their first final since 2002. As a contest it was over at half time, Portlaoise leading 2-9 to 0-2.

The bulk of the damage was done in a three-minute spell – Ricky Maher getting a goal in the 22nd minute and Ciaran McEvoy adding another two minutes later.

While Portlaoise had missed four goal chances prior to that, St Joseph’s were just about hanging in. The first goal was the last thing that they or the game needed. The second finished it off altogether.

Maher’s was a smashing effort, a powerful shot that gave Dan Dunne no chance. The second came after a Maher shot for a point hit the post, was gathered by Colin Finn, recycled to Bruno McCormack who put it across the square to McEvoy to flick home.

It made it 2-6 to 0-2, with their earlier points having come from McCormack (two), Rogers (two) and one each from Conor Boyle and Maher. St Joseph’s scores had come from two Mattie Campion frees.

Bruno, Benny Carroll and Boyle all added further points from play and at half time Portlaoise were 13 points up.

The second half was a non-affair, the main talking point being the two straight red cards dished out to Bruno McCormack and Enda Butler by referee Maurice Deegan, who had to replace the injured John Flynn at half time. The sending off will mean McCormack will miss the final.

Dean Brophy added a first point for play from St Joseph’s but Portlaoise introduced a clatter of subs, all mad to make an impression. Two of them – Scott Lawless and Paul Cahillane got goals – and although Michael Keogh got a late consolation goal for Joseph’s Portlaoise eventually ran out 15-point winners.

They now go forward to a 12th straight final appearance.

SCORERS – Portlaoise: Ricky Maher 1-3, Paul Cahillane 1-1 (0-1 free), Brian McCormack 0-3, Craig Rogers 0-3 (one free), Ciaran McEvoy 1-0, Scott Lawless 1-0, Conor Boyle 0-2, Benny Carroll 0-2, Graham Brody 0-1 (’45)  St Joseph’s: Mattie Campion 0-5 (two frees), Michael Keogh 1-0, Brian Daly 0-2 (both frees), Dean Brophy 0-1, Tom Kelly 0-1

PORTLAOISE:Graham Brody; Gary Saunders, David Seale, Chris Finn; Colin Finn, Cahir Healy, David Holland; Kieran Lillis, Ciaran McEvoy; Gareth Dillon, Conor Boyle, Benny Carroll; Ricky Maher, Brian McCormack, Craig Rogers. Subs: Scott Lawless for Carroll (39), Paul Cahillane for Rogers (47), Conor Dunphy for Colin Finn (48), Frank Flanagan for Lillis (injured – 49), Paddy Downey for McEvoy (53), Brian ‘Beano’ McCormack for Healy (53)

ST JOSEPH’S: Dan Dunne; Aidan Brennan, Donal Ramsbottom, Adam Campion; Jack Lacey, Cathal Fleming, James Kelly; Brian Daly, Enda Butler; Dean Brophy, Michael Keogh, Mikie Dempsey; Tom Kelly, Mattie Campion, Dylan Doyle. Subs: Murtagh Condron for Lacey (HT), Brendan Hickey for Dylan Doyle (48), James Smith for Fleming (49)

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