Portlaoise 1-9 St Joseph’s 1-6
Laois Shopping Centre SFC
Portlaoise’s bid for three titles in a row remains on track after they narrowly edged out a spirited St Joseph’s outfit in O’Moore Park this afternoon.
Niall Rigney’s charges failed to score for almost 20 minutes of the second half as Portlaoise saw a five point lead evaporate and St Joseph’s got level.
But Paul Cahillane showed nerves of steel to kick two injury time frees while Bruno McCormack came off the bench to make the win safe with virtually the final kick.
With a sodden pitch and Joseph’s playing so defensively, scores were hard to come by in the first half with Portlaoise the only scorers in the opening 12 minutes.
Paul Cahillane landed a free and Gareth Dillon floated over one from distance before Brian Daly opened the scoring for Joseph’s with a free.
Gareth Dillon moved Portlaoise two clear and neither side scored again until the 25th minute – but it was a very important score.
Portlaoise turned over a St Joseph’s attack and countered quickly with Benny Carroll and Paul Cahillane involved before the ball came to Ciaran McEvoy.
His first shot was saved by Aaron Cooney, second was blocked on the line by Michael Keogh but the third was converted and Portlaoise went five ahead.
Josh Lacey and Cahillane traded points to end the half with Portlaoise 1-4 to 0-2 ahead.
Portlaoise almost had a second goal at the start of the second half when Benny Carroll hit the post but Joseph’s went straight down the other end and got a priceless goal.
Brian Daly’s free was kept alive by Bernard Wheatley but Mikie Dempsey’s was then turned over. However, the ball then slipped from Conor Boyle’s grasp where Michael Keogh pounced to score.
Portlaoise replied with a Ronan McEvoy free and they led 1-5 to 1-2 after 40 minutes.
McEvoy extended it further with a second free but Joseph’s hit back with two long range scores from Adam Campion and Dean Brophy to narrow the margin to two points with ten minutes to play.
Joseph’s then had a goal chance when Dylan Doyle chased a long Brian Daly ball and then shot on the half volley but Portlaoise keeper Michael Nolan made a great one-handed save.
Five minutes later, Colin Campion kicked one from in front of the stand and all of a sudden, the margin was just a solitary point.
And as five minutes of added time were signalled, Michael Keogh kicked St Joseph’s fourth point on the spin to level the game for the first time.
Portlaoise were now almost 20 minutes without a score but the experience Bruno McCormack won a free in the first minute of added time which Cahillane converted to regain Portlaoise’s lead.
Cahillane added another free soon after before Bruno McCormack made the game safe and Portlaoise move on.
SCORERS – Portlaoise: Paul Cahillane 0-4 (all frees), Ciaran McEvoy 1-0, Ronan McEvoy 0-2 (two frees), Gareth Dillon 0-2, Bruno McCormack 0-1 St Joseph’s: Michael Keogh 1-1, Brian Daly 0-1 (one free), Josh Lacey 0-1, Dean Brophy 0-1, Adam Campion 0-1, Colin Campion 0-1
PORTLAOISE: Michael Nolan; Chris Finn, David Seale, Michael Dowling; Colin Finn, Gary Saunders, Gareth Dillon; Kieran Lillis, Damon Larkin; Ronan McEvoy, Conor Boyle, Ciaran McEvoy; Paul Cahillane, Benny Carroll, Ricky Maher. Subs: Craig Rogers for Maher (43), Brian Glynn for Colin Finn (43), Bruno McCormack for R McEvoy (49), Brian Mulligan for Carroll (60)
ST JOSEPH’S: Aaron Cooney; Donal Ramsbottom, Tom Dunne, Aidan Brennan; Jack Lacey, James Kelly, Colin Campion; Brian Daly, Bernard Wheatley; Conor Kealy, Dylan Doyle, Mikie Dempsey; Adam Campion, Josh Lacey, Michael Keogh. Subs: Matty Campion for C Kealy (ht), Dean Brophy for Wheatley (39), Peter Kealy for Josh Lacey (54)
Referee: Brendan McCann (Portarlington)
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