Portarlington 0-10 Portlaoise 4-11
ACFL Division 1A Round 1
Despite playing against a light breeze Portlaoise’s dominance in the first half proved decisive in their Round 1 win over Portarlington.
Portarlington did open the scoring from a Jake Foster free but Portlaoise’s strong midfield and half forward line dominated their opponents kick outs.
This led to Portarlington not scoring for the next 20 minutes.
Ricky Maher got Portlaoise off the mark as his team got into their stride.
Not long after Kieran Lillis ran strong off the shoulder down the centre of the Portarlington defence. His first effort was blocked but he scrambled his second to the back of the net.
Maher pointed once more, this time from a free, before Portlaoise were through again.
Dj White’s ball into the corner broke kindly for Paul Cahillane who rattled the back of the net.
In the 12th minute Benny Carroll intercepted a Portarlington kickout before finishing high into the top corner as the game really seemed to be getting away from Portarlington.
Portlaoise’s aerial prowess from kickouts kept created chances as Cahillane and Ronan McEvoy converted frees to stretch Portlaoise’s lead once more.
Their dominance continued after the water break as Kieran Lillis raised yet another green flag after a fine team move, with John Kavanagh the creator.
Portarlington register three late scores, Colm Murphy (2 frees) and Jake Foster (mark), to give some hope back to Portarlington.
Just before the half-time whistle, with the scores 4-7 to 0-5, Ricky Maher received his second yellow whilst Padraig Coffey also got his marching orders after an off the ball incident.
As the teams tired and the subs flowed the game lost that cutting edge it had in the first half.
Portarlington pointed two in a row from Bryne and Ronan Coffey before Portlaoise replied with two of their own.
Benny Carroll set up the first for McEvoy before pointing the second himself.
With a serious display from midfield in the first half Kieran Lillis moved to full forward where he pointed to leave the scores 4-10 to 0-7 with 10 minutes to go.
Sean Bryne and substitute Jordan Fitzpatrick both pointed for Portarlington to narrow the gap sightly.
This was quickly followed by a mazy run from centre back Jason Moore which he finished with a classy point off his left.
Benny Carroll pointed the final score of the game in added time as Portlaoise start of the year with a great win.
They dominated the early stages, particularly the Portarlington kickouts, and were full value for their 13 point win.
SCORERS – Portarlington: Colm Murphy 0-4 (4 frees), Jake Foster 0-3 (1 free), Sean Byrne, Ronan Coffey, Jordan Fitzpatrick 0-1 each Portlaoise: Benny Carroll 1-2, Paul Cahillane 1-2 (2 frees), Ronan McEvoy 0-3 (1 free), Ricky Maher 0-3 (1 free), Kieran Lillis 2-1
PORTARLINGTON: Sean Mooney; Padraig Coffey, Diarmuid Bennett, Alex Mohan; Adam Ryan, Patrick Sullivan; Eoin McCann, Keith Bracken; Ronan Coffey, Sean Byrne, Colin Slevin; Jake Foster, Colm Murphy, Stephen O’Neil. Subs: Jordan Fitzpatrick for McCann (37), Darragh Galvin for Foster (40), Johnny Fullam for O’Neill (40), McCann for Bracken (45 inj), David Murphy for Bennett (47), Cathal Ryan (50)
PORTLAOISE: Richie Downey; Sam Birrane, David Seale, Gareth Dillon; Paddy Downey, Gary Saunders, Josh Hogan; Kieran Lillis, Conor Boyle; Ronan MvEvoy, Benny Carroll, John Kavnagh; Dj White, Paul Cahillane, Ricky Maher. Subs: David Holland for Birrane (HT), Michael Culleton for White (HT), Ben Brennan for Kavanagh (40)
Referee: Brendan Hickey (Graiguecullen)