Mountmellick 0-12 Portlaoise 0-6
Laois Shopping Centre SFC Round 2
Two of the more fancied sides in the intermediate grade faced off in an entertaining encounter in McCann Park this afternoon.
The first minute saw the first piece of drama, as the brilliant Niall Mullen, released Karl Donoher for Mountmellick. As he bore down on Richie Downey, a goal seemed inevitable, but somehow Downey denied Mountmellick what would have been a perfect start.
Eoin George did point the rebound off the post though, as the Portlaoise back line were slow to react.
Niall Mullen added a quickfire second, as Mountmellick were dominating the middle section of the field in the early stages.
Another brilliant save by Richie Downey in the Portlaoise goal kept his team in it, this time denying Jason Caffrey, as he saved down low.
Jack Brown got Portlaoise on the scoreboard with a pointed free on seven minutes and a minute later he called Eoin Keogh in the Mountmellick goal into action forcing him into a dcent save.
Ten minutes in and the sides were somehow level, as Ronan Molloy pointed for Portlaoise.
A few bad wides for both teams were to follow before Mountmellick went on a three-minute mini scoring spree.
Two Niall Mullen points sandwiched a Darren Fitzpatrick effort and suddenly Mountmellick were leading five points to two.
Some terrible shooting was the theme of the remaining 15 minutes of the half, as wide after wide reigned in.
It was only punctuated by a solitary Ronan Molloy point on 21 minutes and somehow a free flowing game was only five point to three in Mountmellick’s favour at half time.
Gary Dowling from Mountmellick entered the fray at half time, replacing Ben Forde, as did Chris Lynch from Portlaoise who replaced Craig Scully ,as both teams tried to freshen things up.
Colm Coss who had missed a couple of frees toward the end of the first half, started the scoring in the second.
He landed an absoluty huge score from 50 metres off the outside of his boot. Ross Brennan the capitalized on a poor clearance by Eoghan Keogh in the Mountmellick goal to close the gap to two.
Eight minutes into the half a Portlaoise shot dropped short and no Portlaoise man touched it again, before Con Maher finished an excellent move up the field.
Jack Brown then made it 0-7 to 0-5, pointing on the run from 30 meters.
That, however, was to be Portlaoise’s last score until injury time, as the went 20 minutes without troubling the scorekeeper.
Meanwhile Mountmellick went for the jugular and were rewarded with five points on the spin. Niall Mullen with the first. Colm Coss with another long range point the second.
Mullen then added two more, one of which was a shot for goal that blazed over and Eoin George, who had started the scoring in the first minute of the game finished the scoring for them with three minutes remaining.
The final minutes of the game were played a walking pace as Mountmellick’s game management came into play.
They played keep ball for a couple of minutes as Portlaoise’s tiring squad chased shadows. There was to be one final score which came five minutes into injury time as veteran Colm Parkinson rolled back the years with a point of real quality.
On this evidence Mountmellick are a real force to be reckoned with.
Portlaoise will regroup and come again, but will need to improve if they are to progress any further. In Mullen and Coss Mountmellick have two footballers that will trouble anyone.
The intensity of their backs is admirable, but today’s stand out player was Darren Fitzpatrick.
The amount of Portlaoise attacks he cut out was huge and was always clever with the pass when starting attacks.
Mountmellick now go straight through to the semi-finals with Portlaoise set to meet Annanough in the quarter-final.
SCORERS – Mountmellick: Niall Mullen 0-6, Eoin George and Colm Coss 0-2 each, Darren Fitzpatrick and Con Maher 0-1 each. Portlaoise: Ronan Molloy and Jack Brown 0-2 each , Ross Brennan and Colm Parkinson 0-1 each
MOUNTMELLICK: Eoghan Keogh; Ben Forde, Gearoid Hanrahan, Cian Thompson; Laurence Kenny, Mark Dowling, Redmond McEvoy; Stephen Lynch, Colm Coss; Karl Donogher, Con Maher, Eoin George; Jason Caffrey, Niall Mullen, Darren Fitzpatrick. Subs: Gary Dowling for Ben Forde (30), Curtis Lee for Con Maher (injured – 41),
PORTLAOISE: Richie Downey; Brian McCormack, Aidan Mcgovern, John Delaney; Darragh McCauley, Dean Lynch, Oisin Fitzpatrick; Craig Scully, Shane Smith; Ross Brennan, Brian Smith, Ronan Molloy; Kevin Fotzpatrick, Jack Brown and Ben Conroy. Subs: Chris Lynch for Craig Scully (30), Andrew Swayne for Ronan Molloy (injured – 39), Malachy McNulty for Kevin Fitzpatrick (47), Colm Parkinson for Ben Conroy (56), Johnny Rafter for Shane Smith (56)
REFEREE: Thomas Kennedy (Killeshin)
SEE ALSO – Check out all the Laois IFC coverage here