Portlaoise 1-23 Clonaslee-St Manman’s 1-10
Laois Premier IHC Group B Round 3
Portlaoise cruised to a thirteen point victory over Clonaslee to record three wins from three in this year’s group stage.
It is a victory that sees the 2020 defeated finalists comfortably return to the semi finals of the competition.
Clonaslee are still alive as they finish the group in third place after Camross defeated Colt-Shanahoe by 2-23 to 2-16.
Clonaslee will now play Ballinakill in one quarter final in two weeks time – with Rathdowney-Errill facing Camross in the other. The relegation playoff will be between Colt-Shanahoe and Slieve Bloom.
Clonaslee had a strong wind at their backs in the first half and Portlaoise responded by bringing an extra man out to midfield in Jamie Keenan.
Aaron Bergin opened the scoring through a free for Portlaoise and the sides swapped two more frees each in the opening six minutes before Sean Culleton got the games first point from play.
Portlaoise then began to hurl at a higher pace and they got a goal as a result. A diagonal ball across from Aaron Bergin broke inside to Cormac Rigney and he pinged the ball into the top corner to give Portlaoise an early six point lead.
However, Clonaslee responded magnificently as Paddy Hyland pointed straight from the puckout. A minute later and Niall Corbett ran past several defenders before smashing the sliotar into the roof of the net to put two between the sides at the water break.
Clonaslee had chances to narrow the lead put some poor shot selection prevented them from doing so.
Rigney and Liam Senior swapped frees on two occasions before two quick Keith Murphy points just before half-time left Portlaoise with a 1-11 to 1-7 advantage and with the wind to help them in the second half.
Portlaoise started the second half well and Gary Bergin nearly set Sean Culleton through on goal but the ball did not go to hand.
David O’Mahony popped up with yet another score to extend Portlaoise’s lead on the 36th minute before Jamie Keenan was put back into the corner.
This seemed to pay dividends as Portlaoise now how more space to pick off scores from distance for the rest of the game.
Clonaslee struggled to create chances into the strong wind as Portlaoise slowly kept the scoreboard ticking over through Rigney, Culleton and O’Mahony.
This left the scores at 1-15 to 1-8 at the second half water break and Portlaoise stayed plugging away as Clonaslee’s fire completely died out.
Rigney and O’Mahony pointed from distance once more before Clonaslee managed to manufacture a 21 yard free on the 49th minute.
Unfortunately for the men in red Liam Senior went for goal and failed to hit the target so Portlaoise’s lead stayed at 1-17 to 1-9.
Portlaoise introduced some fresh legs in the final ten minutes as the game petered out.
Cian Taylor, Ciarán McEvoy and Rigney all converted in the final few minutes as Portlaoise ran out comfortable winners.
SCORERS – Portlaoise: Cormac Rigney 1-5 (3 frees), Aaron Bergin 0-5 (5 frees), David O’Mahony 0-4, Keith Murphy 0-3, Cian Taylor 0-3, Sean Culleton 0-2, Ciaran McEvoy 0-1 Clonaslee-St Manman’s: Liam Senior 0-4 (3 frees), DJ Callaghan 0-3 (3 frees), Paddy Hyland 0-2, Conor Hyland 0-1, Niall Corbett 1-0
PORTLAOISE: Eoghan Nealon; Bryan Naughton, Frank Flanagan, Dean Lynch; Ross Brennan, Ciarán McEvoy, Eoin O’Connor; Eddie Critchley, Gary Bergin; David O’Mahony, Aaron Bergin, Cormac Rigney; Jamie Keenan, Keith Murphy, Sean Culleton. Subs: Niall Carey for A Bergin (18 inj), Cian Taylor for Keenan (46), Lorcan Duff for Murphy (53), Sean Luke Taylor for O’Mahony (58)
CLONASLEE-ST MANMAN’S: Tommy Tynan; John Rigney, Ger Dunne, Diarmuid Conroy; Conor Hyland, Willie Young, Rory Conroy; Liam Senior, Cian Conroy; Michael Hyland, Niall Corbett, Bob Downey; DJ Callaghan, John Rigney, Paddy Hyland. Subs: Cian Barrett for Downey (46), Shay Foynes for C Hyland (46), Darragh Scully for D Conroy (51), Sean Dunne for Callaghan (51)
REFEREE: Alan Doheny (Castletown)