Portarlington 0-19 The Heath 0-7
Laois Shopping Centre SFC Round 1
Ahead of the weekend games, we ranked Port as the third team in the county, behind a three-in-row chasing Portlaoise side and last year’s beaten finalists O’Dempsey’s.
But while there was never any real doubting the result here, Port will have plenty of work to do to move up to realistic challengers.
They could have won by more but a wastefulness in front of the posts combined with a string of brilliant saves from The Heath keeper Joe Walsh kept the contest alive for as long as possible.
Port will be able to welcome back the likes of the injured Alex Mohan and Adam Ryan in the coming weeks while Diarmuid Bennett is in the US. And having had five lads involved with the Laois seniors and another four with the U-20s, they’re also likely to benefit from increased time together under manager Martin Murphy.
Port played against the breeze and into the Town End in the opening half but they dominated possession. Yet they didn’t convert that fully onto the scoreboard despite leading by three points at the break.
Jake Foster and Colm Murphy scored four points each in the first half, three each from play.
Foster got two of them in the first five minutes and they were three up before The Heath’s long-serving Chris Bergin got his first of the evening with a fine effort from play.
Foster responded with a free but Bergin cancelled that out with a free after being fouled himself before two from play from Murphy had Port 0-6 to 0-2 up by the 20-minute mark. They could have had a goal in between Murphy’s two points but Paddy O’Sullivan saw his effort go wide after a powerful run through the middle.
Bergin and Foster traded scores again before Andrew Booth and another Bergin free had the gap back to two approaching the break.
But Port got the final score of the half, a well-worked team move ending in Murphy point again. Maurice Deegan’s half-time whistle left Port leading 0-8 to 0-5.
Sub Jason Moore extended their lead early in the second half before Port squandered three goal chances in quick succession. Walshe took one off the line, denied Foster with another and then brilliantly saved a penalty from his opposite number Scott Osbourne.
The Heath took a bit of confidence from this but three wides in quick succession didn’t do them any favours and Port clocked up the scores to run out easy winners in the end.
Colm Murphy finished up with 11 points for the winners and Jake Foster with five.
Port now go forward to the winners section of Round 2 while Port go into the losers round.
SCORERS – Portarlington: Colm Murphy 0-11 (four frees), Jake Foster 0-5 (one free), Jason Moore 0-1, Stephen O’Neill 0-1, Ronan Coffey 0-1 The Heath: Chris Bergin 0-6 (four frees), Andrew Booth 0-1
PORTARLINGTON: Scott Osbourne; Dean Foster, Keith Bracken, Cathal Bennett; Colin Slevin, Robbie Piggot, Paddy O’Sullivan; Eoin McCann, Sean Byrne; Ronan Coffey, David Murphy, Stephen O’Neill; Jake Foster, Colm Murphy, Jonathan Fulham. Subs: Jason Moore for Slevin (injured – 27), Sean Michael Corcoran for Fulham (40), Eoin Kennedy for Coffey (56)
THE HEATH: Joe Walshe; Mark Dowling, Denis Booth, Gary Roe-Smith; Dylan Kavanagh, Alan Whelan, Neil Keane; Jimmy Nerney, Shane Forde; Robbie Ging, Daithi Carroll, Brian Ging; Chris Bergin, Andrew Booth, PJ Daly. Subs: Liam Kinsella for Forde (45), James Phelan for R Ging (45), Aidan Bergin for Daly (51)
REFEREE: Maurice Deegan (Stradbally)