Portlaoise 3-18 Camross 0-16
Laois Shopping Centre Premier IHC Semi-final
Portlaoise are through to the final of the Laois Premier IHC after a clinical display saw them get the better of Camross.
The close encounter many were expecting played out for about 25 minutes or so, but once Portlaoise got the upper hand late in the first half, they never looked backed. Aaron Bergin hit two goals, one each either side of half-time, to set them on course for the decider.
Camross started that bit brighter, despite playing into the breeze, and they were ahead inside of a minute thanks to Darren Drennan. Tomás Keyes quickly added another before Portlaoise opened their account, as Cormac Rigney fired over from 30 yards.
That set the tone for an entertaining first half, as the teams were level on five separate occasions. Aaron Bergin’s free restored parity before Keyes and Bergin (free) traded points once more.
Cian Taylor, playing at midfield, put Portlaoise ahead with a good score, with Bergin adding another from play as Portlaoise started to find their feet. Credit to Camross though, despite playing into a stiff breeze they were creating chances, and they hit the next three score to go back in front.
Darren Gilmartin got the first, with Drennan soon getting his second and Mossy Burke hitting another as they went 0-6 to 0-5 in front.
Portlaoise were soon level again, as Aaron Bergin showed the benefits of wind advantage by scoring a free from his own 45 yard line. Taylor then put them back in front before Daniel Delaney hauled Camross back level as neither side seemed capable of building up a lead.
The onus was probably on Portlaoise to do so, given they had the wind at their back, and they finally put a scoring run together in the closing stages of the half.
It started with a close-range free from Bergin, with Cormac Rigney soon adding his second and David O’Mahony then opening his account with an excellent point from the left wing.
Cian Taylor’s third of the half made it four in a row for Portlaoise, with David Mortimer trying to break their momentum with a point for Camross. However, within seconds, Portlaoise would have the opening goal of the game.
From the puckout, Portlaoise worked the ball down field and eventually fed Aaron Bergin 14 yards out, and he made no mistake. Bergin then added another free and Portlaoise were 1-12 to 0-8 ahead at half-time.
Camross would have wind advantage in the second half, which would have given them reason to be hopeful, but a handful of missed chances early in the half didn’t help their cause.
Neither did an unfortunate mistake from Tadhg Doran, who failed to being the ball under control in the 34th minute, allowing Aaron Bergin to steal in and sweep a shot to the net for Portlaoise’s second goal.
That really took the sting out of the game, as it left Camross with a real mountain to climb to get anything from the game. It took them seven minutes to hit back, as Tomás Keyes spun away from his marker to point from 35 yards, but Aaron Bergin fired over a free moments later to keep Portlaoise in the ascendency.
Portlaoise were still eight clear at the water break in the second half, but they put the game beyond doubt when play resumed as David O’Mahony notched their third goal.
It was plain sailing to the final whistle from there, as they can now look forward to the final as they bid for an instant return to the SHC ranks.
SCORERS – Portlaoise: Aaron Bergin 2-10 (0-9 frees), Cian Taylor 0-4, Cormac Rigney 0-2, David O’Mahony 1-0, Niall Gleeson 0-1 Camross: Darren Gilmartin 0-4, Tomás Keyes 0-3, Darren Drennan 0-3, Daniel Delaney 0-2 (frees), Tomas Burke 0-1, David Mortimer 0-1, Joe Ryan 0-1, Niall Holmes 0-1 (free)
PORTLAOISE: Eoghan Nealon; Frank Flanagan, Chris Lynch, Paddy Norton; Ross Brennan, Ciaran McEvoy, Eoin O’Connor; Cian Taylor, Gary Bergin; Tommy Fitzgerald, Cormac Rigney, David O’Mahony; Eddie Critchley, Niall Gleeson, Aaron Bergin. Subs: Ben Brennan for Rigney (56 mins), Dean Lynch for O’Mahony (56 mins), Cathal Duggan for G Bergin (61 mins)
CAMROSS: Tadhg Doran; Cian Delaney, Martin Burke, Michael Phelan; Rob Tyrell, Daniel Delaney, Craig Delaney; Matthew Collier, Joseph Ryan; Niall Holmes, Tomás Burke, Darren Gilmartin; David Mortimer, Darren Drennan, Tomás Keyes. Subs: Colin Palmer for Collier (38 mins), Kevin Lalor for Tyrell (42 mins), Matthew Collier for Mortimer (55 mins)
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