Portlaoise CBS 1-7 Colaiste Choilm Tullamore 0-6
School’s Senior Football League Final
Portlaoise CBS were crowned Senior League football champions this afternoon following a hard-fought victory over Colaiste Choilm Tullamore.
The sides, coached by Killian Fitzpatrick and Ruth Williams, had lost heavily to Tullamore in the round robin stage of this competition but were the better team here.
The league saw schools from Laois, Offaly and Kildare compete with the CBS coming out on top thanks to the scoring exploits of Damien McCaul and Ciaran O’Neill.
Annanough’s McCaul kicked all seven of Portlaoise’s points while Stradbally’s O’Neill scored a crucial first half goal and won the majority of the frees that McCaul converted.
The CBS played with the breeze in the first half and led by three points to no score after 10 minutes thanks to three frees from Damien McCaul.
Eamonn Delaney and Neil Keane were dominating in midfield at this stage as the CBS half forward line of Damon Larkin, Ben Brennnan and Conor Goode attacked Tullamore at will.
The away side responded with points from Liam Dillane and Ben Connolly and as we headed for the closing stages of the half, there was just a point between the teams.
However, the CBS then scored what proved to be a crucial goal. The move was started thanks to a run from defence by Eamonn Delaney and involved Gary Saunders, Cian Holohan, Damien McCaul and Damon Larkin before the latter popped the ball off to O’Neill who vollyed it to the back of the net off his left foot.
McCaul then added his fourth free and the CBS led by 1-4 to 0-2 at half time.
McCaul added another free on the resumption of play and although, Luke Egan replied for Tullamore, the Laois school thought they had the game wrapped up as we entered the final quarter.
Eoin Naughton started a move which resulted in Cian Houlihan ending up one-one-one with keeper Stephen Fitzgerald. He foot-tripped the CBS forward as he went around him but Houlihan regained his balance and planted the ball into the empty net.
However, the referee had already blown his whistle and awarded a penalty. So the play was brought back and Damien McCaul took it but keeper Fitzgerald redeemed himself with a save.
Tullamore kicked three of the next four points via Dillane (2) and Egan to make it a three point game as we entered the final five minutes.
In that time, Portlaoise CBS keeper Michael O’Connell had to be smart of two occasions to deal with menacing high balls towards his goalmouth.
Tullamore were reduced to 14 men near the finish when full back Ross Ravenhill was shown a second yellow card for persistent fouling on Ciaran O’Neill.
And as the game ticked towards the end, Damien McCaul landed a seventh free to leave four between them at the finish.
The CBS have a South Leinster championship semi-final to look forward to in the new year too – so there are certainly exciting times ahead for this team.
SCORERS – PORTLAOISE CBS: Damien McCaul 0-7 (all frees), Ciaran O’Neill 1-0 COLAISTE CHOILM TULLAMORE: Liam Dillane 0-3 (all frees), Ben Connolly, Luke Egan and Ciaran Egan 0-1 each
PORTLAOISE CBS: Michael O’Connell (Portlaoise); Eoin Naughton (Portlaoise), Sean O’Neill (The Rock), Jay Buggy (The Heath); Gareth O’Brien (The Heath), Gary Saunders (Portlaoise), Brian Fingleton (Park-Ratheniska); Eamonn Delaney (Stradbally), Neil Keane (The Heath); Conor Goode (Stradbally), Damon Larkin (Portlaoise), Ben Brennan (Portlaoise); Cian Houlihan (Portlaoise), Ciaran O’Neill (Stradbally), Damien McCaul (Annanough). Subs: Kevin Swayne (Portlaoise) for O’Brien (50m)
COLAISTE CHOILM TULLAMORE: Steohen Fitzgerald; Kieran Dolan, Ross Ravenhill, Shane Enright; Ciaran Burns, Ciaran Farrell, Jay Sheeran; Josh Evans, Ciaran Egan; Brian Duignan, Bill Carroll, Liam Dillane; Ben Connolly, Sean Courtney, Jack Bryant. Subs: Luke Egan for Courtney, Cormac Kelly for Connolly, Conor Doran for Duignan.