Park Ratheniska/Timahoe 1-12 Portlaoise 3-5
Laois JHC ‘A’ Semi-Final
Ruairi O’Connor stepped up two minutes into injury time to send Park-Ratheniska/Timahoe through to the Laois junior hurling final as they got the better of Portlaoise in Trumera this evening.
From the off it was apparent there would not be much to separate these two even sides come full-time.
Both sides struggled to settle down and several sloppy wides were hit to start the game. Park Ratheniska-Timahoe’s Geoff Kennedy would break this trend to settle his side down after three minutes.
Daniel Delaney got The Town up and running with a well struck free a minute later.
Although both sides were causing each other problems, it was Portlaoise who were getting through on goal early on. Craig Scully plucked the ball from the clouds but his shot was bravely denied by Ger Ramsbottom in the Park Rathensika-Timahoe goal.
However a mere two minutes later and Portlaoise would be through on goal again, and this time they converted. Daniel Delaney caught a puckout and rounded his man. He handpassed the ball to corner forward Paddy Norton who, despite the best efforts of Ramsbottom in goal, squeezed the ball over the line.
Park Ratheniska/Timahoe responded positively with Ruairi O’Connor being fouled on two occasions and Pascal Foyle slotting over the resulting frees.
Approaching half-time and the flood gates opened for both sets of forwards. Portlaoise’s Niall Gleeson roofed the slitoar into the back of the net fron close range after some clever link up play.
A short three minutes later and Park Ratheniska-Timahoe’s Pascal Foyle had a well needed green flag of his own. He out muscled his man to make room for himself and pinged the ball low into the corner.
Veteran Joe Phelan replied for Portlaoise to leave his team with a two-point advantage at the break.
Portlaoise continued where they left off in the second half. Their raw power and speed in the half forward line were causing Park Ratheniska Timahoe severe problems.
Niall Gleeson fired over a point which was quickly followed by a Phelan free but incredibly Portlaoise would not score for another 28 minutes as they struggled to even get any meaningful possession.
This was due to Park Ratheniska Timahoe’s sublime work rate around the middle third. O Connor was a constant danger and Foyle refused to miss any frees.
The scores kept coming with Patrick Kelly catching a Portloaise puckout and putting it back over the bar for an inspirational score.
Park Ratheniska were in complete control but in this dominant period they hit 7 wides, nearly all were from close range and under minimal pressure.
O’Connor was superbly denied by the Portlaoise shot stopper Philip Roche after his side were once again carved open. Approaching full time and although Park Ratheniska Timahoe had missed several chances, they still held a three point advantage.
It was here however where the game turned on its head. The strong Portlaoise centre back, Darragh Rigney, dropped a free into the square from his own 45.
Niall Glesson rose highest and bulldozed his way through several defenders, only to be hauled down in the square.
A penalty was awarded and if you were from Portlaoise there were fewer men you’d rather take it, than Joe Phelan. He calmly stepped up and rolled the ball along the ground into the corner.
We were now two minutes into additional time with the sides level. Referee George Boyhan waved on the puckout, it was clear that the next score would win it.
The puckout landed on the Park Ratheniska Timahoe half forward line and broke inside to Ruairi O Connor.
He had just missed two efforts before this in simialr positions but he bravely took on his man and off his left, near the sideline, he sent the ball over the bar to send Park-Ratheniska/Timahoe through to the final.
They will play The Harps or Castletown in the final in two weeks time – they drew their semi-final on Thursday night last and will replay this week.
SCORERS – Park-Ratheniska/Timahoe: Pascal Foyle 1-8(7 frees,65′), Geoff Kennedy 0-1, Patrick Kelly 0-1, Ruairi O Connor 0-1, Sean Tynan 0-1. Portlaoise: Daniel Delaney 0-2(2 frees) Joe Phelan 1-2 (1 free,1-0 Penalty), Niall Gleeson 1-1, Paddy Norton 1-0
PARK RATHENISKA-TIMAHOE: Ger Ramsbottom; Jimmy O’Connor, Martin Kelly, Joseph Foyle; Damien O’Connor, Gavin Tynan, Geoff Kingman; James Langton, Brendan Fingleton; Patrick Kelly, Michael Brennan, Padraig Kelly; Pascal Foyle, Geoff Kennedy, Ruairi O Connor. Subs: Sean Tynan for Geoff Kennedy (25) Jim Lennon for Padraig Kelly(43) Brian Fingleton for Patrick Kelly (50)
PORTLAOISE: Philip Roche; Eoghan Carey, Darren Murphy, Eoin O’Connor; Brian Seale, Darragh Rigney, Gary McCormack; Niall Carey, James Nerney; Daniel Delaney, Joe Phelan, Alan Murphy; Niall Gleeson, Craig Scully, Paddy Norton. Subs: Paddy Critchley for Eoghan Carey (19), Derek Delaney for James Nerney(38), Denis O’Sullivan for Paddy Norton(55)
SEE ALSO – Check out all the Laois IHC coverage here