Kilmacud Crokes 1-17 Portlaoise 3-8
AIB Leinster Club SFC Semi-final
An epic game in Parnell Park this afternoon but that will be of no consolation to Portlaoise as they lost out to Kilmacud Crokes in the Leinster Club SFC semi-final.
Portlaoise chased the game throughout but looked like they could force extra time when Scott Lawless was fouled and Craig Rogers stepped up to a penalty. But his effort was brillianty saved by David Nestor and Portlaoise fell just short after an heroic performance.
The first half was a breathless contest. Portlaoise competed very well but despite doing well at midfield and having plenty of possession, they kicked nine wides and their defence was under pressure.
Crokes raced into a 1-1 to 0-0 lead after just three minutes, a goal from the very lively Dara Mullin. And while Gareth Dillon responded with a Portlaoise goal after a great run, Portlaoise trailed 1-5 to 1-0 after seven minutes.
A smart Paul Cahillane finish to the net in the 17th minute – after Cian O’Sullivan was turned over on a short kickout – dragged Portlaoise back into it but Crokes responded with three quick-fire points to cancel it out.
Ricky Maher, Cahillane and Conor Boyle all pointed from play and Portlaoise were behind 1-11 to 2-5 at the break. A sign of the quality was that every score had come from play.
Portlaoise again struggled to convert their possession to scores in the second half but a fine Craig Rogers goal in the 47th minute had them back on level terms.
Crokes hit the next three points and while Portlaoise were given a a late chance, Rogers saw his penalty saved by David Nestor and Crokes survived.
The Dublin champions will now play Mullinaghta of Longford in the Leinster final in two weeks time after they saw off Eire Og from Carlow in the other semi-final.
SCORERS – Kilmacud Crokes: Dara Mullin 1-2, Paul Mannion 0-5 (two frees), Callum Pearson 0-3, Pat Burke 0-3 (one free), Shane Horan 0-1, Craig Dias 0-1, Cian O’Connor 0-1, Andrew McGowan 0-1. Portlaoise: Paul Cahillane 1-3 (0-1 free), Craig Rogers 1-0, Gareth Dillon 1-0, Kieran Lillis 0-2, Ricky Maher 0-1, Brian McCormack 0-1, Conor Boyle 0-1
PORTLAOISE: Graham Brody; Frank Flanagan, Gary Saunders, David Seale; Chris Finn, Cahir Healy, David Holland; Ciaran McEvoy, Kieran Lillis; Brian Glynn, Conor Boyle, Gareth Dillon; Paul Cahillane, Brian McCormack, Ricky Maher. Subs: Craig Rogers for Maher (36), Scott Lawless for McCormack (47), Ronan McEvoy for Glynn (55), Colin Finn for Holland (57)
KILMACUD CROKES: David Nestor; Liam Flatman, Andrew McGowan, Cian O’Sullivan; Cian O’Connor, Cillian O’Shea, Ross McGowan; Craig Dias, Conor Casey; Shane Cunningham, Callum Pearson, Shane Horan; Paul Mannion, Dara Mullin, Pat Burke. Subs: Aidan Jones for R McGowan (36), Kevin Dyas for Horan (47), Tom Fox for Cunningham (57), Stephen Williams for Mullin (57)
REFEREE: David Coldrick (Meath)