Rathdowney-Errill 2-33 Portlaoise 1-12
Laois Shopping Centre Senior Hurling Championship Round 3
Rathdowney-Errill made it three wins from three in the group stages of the Laois SHC with a one-sided victory over Portlaoise.
This was as one-sided a game as you could hope to see, with Rathdowney-Errill barely getting out of second-gear and still winning at a canter. They picked off points at ease against a dispirited Portlaoise outfit, who somehow have to lift themselves for a relegation playoff against Abbeyleix.
The writing was on the wall early in this one as Rathdowney-Errill pointed with a little over a minute gone, through Tadgh Dowling. Cian Dowling Byrne replied for Portlaoise, and then Cian Taylor and Brandon McGinley traded scores before Rathdowney-Errill took complete control.
Jack Kelly launched over a long-range free and then Paddy Purcell won possession 21 yards out before firing an exocet into the top right corner of the net. Less than a minute later, Rathdowney-Errill had a second goal.
A lovely ball in from the left wing found James Ryan racing through on goal, and he obliged with a clinical finish to all but end the game as a contest inside the opening ten minutes.
Ross King then pointed to send his side eight clear and the only question which remained to be answered was how much Rathdowney-Errill would win by.
They continued to build on their lead, as Ross King and Tadgh Dowling took centre stage with some lovely points from distance. They could have been even further ahead but for some lackadaisical play, with Jack Kelly in particular guilty of poor shooting, but it mattered little.
With such little pressure on them they were always likely to lose focus, and so it proved.
Portlaoise to their credit kept toiling away and Cian Taylor’s accuracy gave their support cause for cheer. Things then took an upturn in the 25th minute when David O’Mahoney beat Noel Brennan to a long ball over the top and flicked it past him, with the ball trickling over the line and into the net.
Ross King replied for Rathdowney-Errill but points from Taylor and Aaron Bergin saw Portlaoise finish the half strongly, although they still trailed 2-14 to 1-7 at the break.
Portlaoise needed a miracle in the second half but instead they were met with another wave of Rathdowney-Errill pressure. Ross King started the onslaught with a free, and then half-time sub Ray Bowe added another.
Paddy Purcell, Bowe once again and then Eric Killeen stretched the lead even more. Portlaoise managed a response from Aaron Bergin, but these were only token gestures of resistance against an ever-growing chasm between the teams.
The rest of the game was probably less beneficial than a training session for both teams, with Rathdowney-Errill passing the 30 point mark and Portlaoise left to contemplate how much improvement they have to do before a relegation playoff with Abbeyleix.
SCORERS – Rathdowney-Errill: Ross King 0-9 (0-5 frees, 0-1 65), Tadgh Dowling 0-6, Ray Bowe, Joe Fitzpatrick 0-4 each, Paddy Purcell, James Ryan 1-2 each, Brandon McGinley 0-2, Jack Kelly (free), Eric Killeen, Shane Dollard, David Poynton 0-1 each. Portlaoise: Cian Taylor 0-7 (0-4 frees), David O’Mahoney 1-1, Aaron Bergin 0-3, Cian Dowling-Byrne 0-1.
RATHDOWNEY-ERRILL: Noel Brennan; Jimmy Corrigan, Brian Campion, John Purcell; Joe Fitzpatrick, Jack Kelly, Eric Killeen; Paddy McCane, John Keane; Shane Dollard, James Ryan, Tadgh Dowling; Paddy Purcell, Ross King, Brandon McGinley. Subs: Ray Bowe for McCane (half time), Kevin O’Dea for Kelly (half time), Alan Delaney for Killeen (47 mins), Thep Fitzpatrick for Keane (47 mins), David Poynton for P Purcell (47 mins)
PORTLAOISE: Eoghan Nealon; Chris Lynch, Bryan Naughton, Frank Flanagan; Dean Lynch, Ciaran McEvoy, Ross Brennan; Cormac Rigney, Keith Murphy; Cian Taylor, Cian Dowling-Byrne, Lee Davis; David O’Mahoney, Aaron Bergin, Gary Bergin. Subs: Joe Geaney for Murphy (half time), Cian Houlihan for Naughton (44 mins), Lorcan Duff for Dowling-Byrne (44 mins), Niall Gleeson for Davis (53 mins)
Referee: Alan Doheny (Castletown)
SEE ALSO – Check out all the Laois SHC’ coverage here