Abbeyleix 2-12 Portlaoise 0-12
Laois Shopping Centre SHC Relegation Final
Abbeyleix will play Senior hurling once again next year as they got the better of Portloaise in Colt this evening to bring their one year stay at the top table to an end.
Torrential rain throughout resulted in many miss hits, plenty of slipping and even Portlaoise changing strip at half-time.
Eoghan Fennelly converted a free to open the game. From the off, the flow of the game was disrupted with many breaks in play, largely due to the weather conditions.
An Aaron Bergin free got Portlaoise on the board for the first time but two more frees from Fennelly , as well as a Colm Walsh point, saw The Fung stretch into an early lead.
Portlaoise managed their second point with 14 minutes on the clock before an incredible point from Gary Bergin put the minimum between the sides.
On the 18th minute, Ciaran Byrne received the ball in the corner. He jinked his way along the Portlaoise endline before slamming the ball to the back of the net , with one hand, for an outrageous goal.
Yet another Fennelly free followed as Abbeyleix pulled clear again but Portloaise responded well before the break.
A.Bergin pointed from midfield after some breathtaking passing and this was quickly followed by another fine G.Bergin score to leave four between them at the half.
Portlaoise emerged in the second in their new green kit and they tore into Abbeyleix. Two quick scores from A.Bergin swung momentum their way.
Keith Murphy punished a poor clearance to leave the minimum between the sides. Portlaoise were dominating as Abbeyleix struggled to win their own puckouts.
A long range effort from Fennelly got his team up and running in the second half before A.Bergin pointed from range once more to keep the pressure on.
Unfortunately for Portlaoise, Abbeyleix regained control of the middle third. This resulted in Portlaoise not scoring for the next 17 minutes.
Points from sub Ciaran Carroll and the dangerous Byrne gave Abbeyleix some breathing room. Although Abbeyleix were creating chances, they couldn’t put Portlaoise away.
This left The Town with hope coming into the final few minutes. They poured men forward as Abbeyleix shut up shop.
Their reluctancy to go for points with six minutes still to go would, in hindsight, prove a bad choice.
However Ciaran McEvoy pointed from distance and Aaron Bergin settled for a point from a free to reduce the gap to three.
With time almost up Portlaoise continued to press but their all out attack philosophy came back to haunt them deep into injury time.
A long clearance left a race between Ross Brennan and Ciaran Carroll. Carroll got there first and he could only see green grass for 50 metres. He took off and from close range fired into the roof of the net to make certain of his teams win.
This was the last meaningful act of the game as Portlaoise came up two goals short. The yoyo affect continues as they fall back to Senior A, having been victorious there last year.
SCORERS – Abbeyleix: Eoghan Fennelly 0-6 (five frees),vLiam Delaney 0-2, Ciaran Byrne 1-1, Ciaran Carroll 1-1, Colm Walsh 0-1, Enda Rowland 0-1v(free) Portlaoise: Aaron Bergin 0-6 (three frees), Gary Bergin 0-2, Keith Murphy 0-2, Cian Taylor 0-1, Ciaran McEvoy 0-1
ABBEYLEIX: Enda Rowland; Mark Cahill, Oisin Carroll, Barry Walsh; Aaron Carroll, Alan Lynch, Cathal Doyle; Colm Walsh, David Bonham; Declan Phelan, Liam Delaney, Steven Reilly; Eoghan Fennelly, Conor Bergin, Ciaran Byrne. Subs: Dayne Peacock for Reilly (Half-time), Ciaran Carroll for Bergin (40) Stephen Thompson for Phelan (48)
PORTLAOISE: Eoghan Nealon; Joe Geaney, Frank Flanagan, Chris Lynch; Ciaran McEvoy, Padraic O’Neill, Ross Brennan; Gary Bergin, Dean Lynch; Lee Davis, Aaron Bergin, Cormac Rigney; Cian Taylor, Keith Murphy, David O’Mahony. Subs: Colm Gleeson for Davis (Half-time), Loius Duff for O’Mahony (48)
Referee: Padraig Dunne (Colt)