Portarlington 3-5 Portlaoise 2-0
Midlands Park Hotel Feile ‘A’ Football Final
Portarlington have claimed their first ever Laois Feile title following an eight point victory over Portlaoise in the LOETB Centre of Excellence this afternoon.
Captain Corey Geoghegan led a second half comeback which saw him score a brilliant goal and set up another as Portarlington turned a four point deficit around.
Portarlington’s achievement is made all the more remarkable by the fact that they went through the entire weekend with just 15 players.
They defeated Stradbally Parish Gaels, Killeshin and Ballylinan on their way to the final with the minimum amount of players as a rugby trip to England took away a number of players who would have been available to them otherwise.
Portlaoise defeated Stradbally Parish Gaels by a point this morning to reach the final and they used wind advantage to score a goal in the opening stages as Conor Ragget crashed the ball to the net.
Moments later Portlaoise had another green flag raised as Cillian Lovegrove combined with Josh Finn for their second goal.
Portarlington struggled to get forward against a stiffening breeze but the excellent Corey Geoghegan kicked two crucial frees for them to narrow the gap to four.
He almost had a goal too but Portlaoise keeper Cian O’Gorman, who caught the eye with a number of fine saves over the 30 minutes, denied him.
Portlaoise took a 2-0 to 0-2 lead into the half time break but they wouldn’t score again for the remainder of the game.
Portarlington began their comeback when Corey Callaghan’s deftly flicked up the ball inside the 21 and shot across the goals to where Kian Barry was on hand to guide the ball into the net.
And minutes later, Portarlington had the ball in the net again when Sean Michael Bracken won a Portlaoise kick-out and fed Luke McEvoy who smashed the ball to the net again.
Portarlington extended their advantage to three with a Daniel Stanfanov before Sean Bennett’s incredible jinking run saw him set up Geoghegan who picked out the top corner of the net.
Portlaoise were six points down now but they kept battling and they almost got a third goal.
Eoin Brosnan broke clear and ran the length of the field before slipping the ball back to Josh Finn but his shot just went wide of the post.
That was it as far as Portlaoise were concerned as Portarlington added late points from Conor Weldon and Luke McEvoy to see out the win and claim their place at the All-Ireland competition in Galway in the summer.
SCORERS – PORTARLINGTON: Corey Geoghegan 1-2 (two frees), Luke McEvoy 1-1 (one free), Kian Barry 1-0, Daniel Stanfanov and Conor Weldon 0-1 each PORTLAOISE: Conor Ragget and Josh Finn 1-0 each
PORTARLINGTON: Patrick Bennett; Jack Murphy, Ben McEvoy, Kian Barry; Fionn Ryan, Sean Michael Bracken, Hugo Emerson; Conor Weldon, Corey Geoghegan; Sean Bennett, Jordan Downey, Daniel Stanfanov; Eoin McEvoy, Luke McEvoy, Kaylen Flood
PORTLAOISE: Cian O’Gorman; Paddy Reddin, Eoin Murphy, Rory Tully; Davin Dunne, Conor Ging, Eoin Brosnan; Conor Ragget, David Harrington; Cillian Lovegrove, Sean Devitt, Kacper Banasik; Cian Cleary, Josh Finn, Cillian O’Connell. Subs: Tadhg Dwyer
Referee: John Murphy (Crettyard)