Home Gaelic Football Club Football Smith and Molloy to the fore as Portlaoise turn the tables on...

Smith and Molloy to the fore as Portlaoise turn the tables on Clonaslee

Portlaoise 2-12 Clonaslee St Manman’s 0-9

Laois Shopping Centre IFC Round 1

What a difference a week makes. Seven days after scoring 18 points and beating Portlaoise by six in the ACFL Division 2 Final, Clonaslee went down to Portlaoise by nine points this morning in the opening round of the Laois IFC.

They also finished with 13 men and Portlaoise with 14 after referee Brendan Hickey dished out a series of card in a nightly second half.

Brian Smith helped himself to 1-5 for Portlaoise in a fine performance while Ronan Molloy hit 1-2 and Jack Brown 0-3.

The Clonaslee defence struggled with those three in particular and despite the almost exemplary free-taking of Niall Corbet at the other end, Portlaoise built up a big lead early in the second half and never looked like being caught.

Portlaoise showed a big improvement this time and got off to a great start when Ronan Molloy got an early goal – his left-footed effort from close range beating Barry Kelly.

Two points each from Corbet and Glen McEvoy had Clonaslee ahead after 12 minutes but Portlaoise responded with three in a row, two from Smith and one from Molloy.

Two more frees from Corbet, including one from way out on the right wing with his right boot, had the sides level but Portlaoise went in leading at the break after Smith got his third.

Clonaslee leveled things up straight away after half time when Sean Dunne pointed on the run but two lovely points from Brown and Smith’s goal after good play from Molloy and Kevin Fitzpatrick put them five up.

Within minutes Clonaslee were down to 14 when big midfielder Sean Condon got a straight red for an incident with Shane Smith.

Smith instantly hit a long-range point and with an extra man there was going to be no stopping Portlaoise from then on.

Corbet pulled back a free for Clonaslee with another delightful strike but Molloy and Brown hit back for Portlaoise before we’d the next flashpoint – one that saw Clonaslee’s John Rigney and Portlaoise’s Aaron Rafter (just on a couple of minutes as a sub) get red carded too.

There was still 13 minutes to play but Portlaoise saw it out comfortably – with two more points from Brian Smith and an excellent effort from Laois U-20 defender Michael Dowling.

Portlaoise now go forward to the winners section in two weeks time while Clonaslee go into the last chance saloon in the losers round.

SCORERS – Portlaoise: Brian Smith 1-5 (0-1 free), Ronan Molloy 1-2, Jack Brown 0-3, Michael Dowling 0-1, Shane Smith 0-1 Clonaslee: Niall Corbet 0-6 (five frees), Glen McEvoy 0-2, Sean Dunne 0-1

CLONASLEE: Barry Kelly; Liam Senior, Willie Young, John Rigney; Jack Owens, Ger Reilly, Diarmuid Conroy; Sean Condon, Willie Murray; Sean Dunne, Glen McEvoy, Niall Corbet; Cian Barrett, Seamus Rosney, Bob Downey. Subs: Niall Hogan for Downey (25), Patrick Hyland for Murray (45)

PORTLAOISE: Richie Downey; John Delaney, Aidan Mcgovern, Beano McCormack; Oisin Fitzpatrick, Darragh McCauley, Michael Dowling; Dean Cullen, Craig Scully; Ross Brennan, Brian Smith, Ronan Molloy; Kevin Fitzpatrick, Jack Brown, Ben Conroy. Subs: Shane Smyth for Craig Scully (HT), Aaron Rafter for K Fitzpatrick (injured – 42), Colm Parkinson for Molloy (50), Jonathan Rafter for Conroy (52), Andrew Swayne for Brennan (black card – 54)

REFEREE: Brendan Hickey (Graiguecullen)

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Steven Miller is owner and managing editor of LaoisToday.ie. From Laois, Steven studied Journalism in DCU and has 14 years experience in the media, almost 10 of those in an editorial role. Husband of Emily, father of William and Lillian, he's happiest when he's telling stories or kicking a point.