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Keeper Nealon the hero as Portlaoise hurlers defeat 2017 Leinster finalists in Aughrim

Portlaoise keeper Eoghan Nealon was their hero

Portlaoise 0-16 Glenealy 1-10
Leinster Intermediate Club Hurling Championship Quarter Final

Teddy Fennelly’s Portlaoise hurlers have made a winning start to their Leinster campaign with a fine win over Wicklow senior champions Glenealy in Aughrim.

And keeper Eoghan Nealon was their hero as his penalty save in injury time in the second half allowed Portlaoise to hang on.

Glenealy were fancied here having reached the Leinster final last year where they were just edged out by eventual All-Ireland finalists St Patrick’s Ballyragget.

Portlaoise played with the breeze in the first half but it was the home side who got the better start with Jonathon O’Neill Snr landing a free and one from play for Glenealy.

Portlaoise battled back through Cian Taylor and Cathal Duggan and then had a great chance to take the lead when they were awarded a penalty.

Cormac Rigney took it, but Glenealy keeper Cian O’Sullivan, who was the hero in their county final win over Carnew Emmet’s two weeks ago, pulled off a fine save.

The sides were level at 0-4 each at the midpoint of the half but as the wind strengthened, Portlaoise took advantage of it to pull clear by the break.

Cormac Rigney was flawless on frees and his accuracy helped Portlaoise into a 0-11 to 0-5 lead at half time.

Glenealy now had the breeze and they score two points on the resumption of play but Portlaoise dug deep and went into a nine point lead with ten minutes to go.

However, Glenealy were given a lifeline with eight minutes to play when they were awarded a penalty.

Danny Stanuton converted it and the gap was back to six points and a tense closing few moments lay ahead.

The home team hit three more points, with an exceptional one from Gavin Weir, to cut the gap to three as we headed for injury time.

And then Glenealy were awarded a penalty but this time Portlaoise keeper Eoghan Nealon pulled off a remarkable save from Cian O’Sullivan.

Portlaoise were now down to 14 men after Chris Lynch picked up a second yellow card but they held on from here and will now face Offaly side Ballinamere in O’Moore Park on November 17.

They defeated Dublin champions Faughs by 3-16 to 2-11 in Parnell Park this afternoon.

PORTLAOISE: Eoghan Nealon; Joe Geaney, Chris Lynch, Frank Flanagan; Brian Mulligan, Cahir Healy, Ciaran McEvoy; Dean Lynch, Gary Bergin; Tommy Fitzgerald, Colm Gleeson, Cormac Rigney; Keith Murphy, Cian Taylor, Cathal Duggan. Subs: Dylan Feane, Lee Davis, Shane Cuddy

SEE ALSO – Laois soccer players aim to do the double and win the FAI Women’s Cup Final this weekend

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.