Courtwood 1-9 Portlaoise 1-7
Senior Football Championship Round 1
Portlaoise were 1/20 to win this game but Courtwood rubbished that with a brilliant display to start the Laois SFC with a bang.
Eddie Kinsella’s charges, who were in the relegation final last year, showed heart, determination and an unbelievable workrate pull off a two point win.
Portlaoise kicked 16 wides in the league final defeat to Portarlington and they had the same struggles again as they had 13 wides tonight.
They now head for the losers section while Courtwood are into the winners section.
The opening quarter was even enough. Courtwood raced into an early two point lead through Danny Luttrell and Niall Dunne as Portlaoise took eight minutes to score.
They almost had an early goal as Damon Larkin flashed a shot wide but they did get underway through Ricky Maher before midfielder Kieran Lillis levelled it with a great score from play.
Luttrell edged Courtwood ahead again but points from Larkin and Maher gave Portlaoise the lead as we approached the water break.
They were then reduced to 14 men when Ronan McEvoy was shown a black card after a tangle with Sean O’Flynn.
Cian Doyle came up from wing back to kick a super point as the sides were level 0-4 apiece at the first water break.
The game burst into life on the resumption as Portlaoise scored the opening goal. Great work from Benny Carroll and Kevin Swayne created an overlap where Paul Cahillane rounded Matthew Byron to score.
Portlaoise were soon restored to their full compliment but Courtwood closed the gap via two Danny Luttrell frees and an excellent over-the-shoulder point from Niall Dunne.
And then they struck for goal. Michael O’Connell’s kick-out went straight to Alan Kinsella and he passed it to Danny Luttrell who rounded O’Connell to score.
In fairness to the young keeper, he atoned for that error before the break.
Courtwood worked a three on two opportunity and Niall Donoher flicked the ball to Danny Luttrell but O’Connell was out like a flash and intercepted it. That left the score 1-7 to 1-4 in Courtwood’s favour at half time.
Kieran Lillis narrowed the deficit on the resumption and they kicked four wides before Benny Carroll made it a one point game after 40 minutes.
Portlaoise kicked two more wides after that to leave it 1-7 to 1-6 at the second water break.
Courtwood were defending heroically and almost fashioned a goal after 50 minutes when Nathan Little got up from corner back but flashed a shot wide.
With 55 minutes on the clock, Courtwood finally got their first score of the second half when Danny Luttrell curled over a free.
David Holland responded for Portlaoise but Paul O’Flynn restored the two point lead as we headed for injury time.
SCORERS – Courtwood: Danny Luttrell 1-5 (five frees), Niall Dunne 0-2, Cian Doyle 0-1, Paul O’Flynn 0-1 Portlaoise: Paul Cahillane 1-0, Ricky Maher 0-2 (one free), Kieran Lillis 0-2, Damon Larkin 0-1, Benny Carroll 0-1, David Holland 0-1
COURTWOOD: Matthew Byron; Barry Donnelly, Mark O’Halloran, Nathan Little; Sean O’Flynn, Robbie Flynn, Cian Doyle; Conor Hogan, Rob Tyrell; Paul O’Flynn, Niall Donoher, Danny Luttrell; Alan Kinsella, Niall Dunne, Collins Ugochukwu. Subs: Jake Doyle for Donnelly (42), Colm Wilson for Doyle (54)
PORTLAOISE: Michael O’Connell; Chris Finn, Josh Hogan, Ben Dempsey; Kevin Swayne, Gary Saunders, Gareth Dillon; Kieran Lillis, Conor Boyle; Damon Larkin, Benny Carroll, Ronan McEvoy; Ricky Maher, Paul Cahillane, DJ White. Subs: Ciaran McEvoy for R McEvoy and John Kavanagh for White (both ht), Michael Culliton for Larkin (40), Paddy Downey for Maher and David Holland for Swayne (both 44)
Referee: Eric Ward (Portarlington)