Portlaoise were crowned Laois Senior Football Champions for the third year running as they saw off Killeshin in O’Moore Park this evening.
Here, we look at how they did it and all of the main talking points:
1 – Man of the match (Kieran Lillis)
Gareth Dillon and Brian Glynn were big players for Portlaoise today when they needed them but Kieran Lillis was a class apart.
He kick three superb points from play and dominated the skies whenever the ball was in his vicinity. He is remarkably consistent and his scoring ability was really important today.
2 – Remarkable Bruno
Brian Bruno McCormack is 38-years-old and today was his 16th Laois championship medal.
He has won 15 Laois senior titles and one hurling crown in his playing days and although his legs probably aren’t what they once were, his brain is as sharp as ever. He landed three excellent points too.
3 – David Holland tactical switch
Killeshin turned the screw at the start of the second half as Evan Lowry’s wonder goal, coupled with some great points, sent them into a two point lead at one stage.
Manager Niall Rigney introduced David Holland, a defender, for Ricky Maher, an attacker, after 40 minutes and it helped Portlaoise turn the tide. Holland went on Evan Lowry with Glynn, Dillon and Boyle pushing higher up the field where, with extra space, they picked off some lovely scores.
4 – Courageous Killeshin
You really have to hand it to Killeshin, for their first time to appear in a senior final in their 98-year history, they really were not fazed by the occasion one bit.
They had a game plan and they stuck to it. They kept things really tight in the first half and then opened up in the second where they really hurt Portlaoise and were somewhat unlucky not to get a draw.
5 – The point that wasn’t given
With Killeshin two points down and the game in injury time, David Aston popped the ball off to Cathal Brennan in front of the stand and he slotted it over the bar.
However, the point was not allowed to stand as referee Brendan McCann had already awarded Killeshin a free for a foul on Aston. The Killeshin captain missed the free and although he did kick one more moments later, that point did prove the difference in the end.
6 – Incredible Killeshin support
The last six years, six different teams have taken on Portlaoise in the county final but we have not witnessed support like Killeshin brought to O’Moore Park before.
They had a massive flag erected in the terrace and their fans took over the stand where chants of ‘Killeshin, Killeshin, Killeshin’ rang out around the ground routinely.
7 – What next for Portlaoise?
Niall Rigney’s charges now go on to face the winners of the game between the Wicklow and Offaly champions in the Leinster championship quarter final.
Ferbane claimed Offaly glory today while St Patrick’s defeated Arklow Geraldines-Ballymoney in the Wicklow final today.