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Glory for three Laois soccer clubs as silverware handed out in CCFL and Midlands League

Mountmellick 0-5 Portlaoise
CCFL U-17 Premier Division 

Portlaoise made the short trip to Conor Davis Park in Mountmellick for the second time in three weeks.

They went into the game knowing that one win from their last three league games would guarantee them the league title but they wanted to get the job done on the day.

They started quickly testing the home keeper on numerous occasions in the first 20 minutes, but a combination of poor finishing, good goal keeping and some excellent defending was keeping the game scoreless.

Portlaoise eventually broke the deadlock on 23 minutes when Eoin Duffin rose highest in the box to meet an inswinging George Okpara corner.

Duffin met the ball powerfully and guided it into the bottom corner of the net, nothing less than Portlaoise deserved.

One soon became two when Kacper Honozo was brought down in the box. To most spectators, including the away team, it looked like a perfect tackle but the referee awarded the spot kick.
Honozo got up, dusted himself down and cooly slotted the ball down the middle beating the Mountmellick goalkeeper.

Now with the momentum Duffin added a third for Portlaoise just before half time once again from an Okpara corner as he guided the ball to the top corner. 3-0 at half time.

Portlaoise again dominated the second half but were struggling to find another breakthrough. Luke Bennett came closest with an excellent strike off the crossbar from the edge of the box.
Desmond Peter added the fourth with a drilled shot from inside a box past the the despairing Keeper.

Eoin Duffin put the icing on the cake with a fantastic solo goal which started on the halfway line and ended with him cheekily slotting the ball past the helpless keeper into the top left hand corner. Portlaoises fifth and his hatrick.

Portlaoise were delighted when they heared the final whistle knowing that the trophy was theirs. Eoin Duffin and Charles Ogundere were handed the CCFL Under seventeen’s trophy for the 1st time in Portlaoise’s history. An achievement to be proud of for the young lads.

There were excellent performances all over the pitch. Aaron Keane and Oran McEvoy were solid at the back and their distribution was excellent all game but man of the match goes to Eoin Duffin whos hat-trick and all round play were a joy to behold.

Special mention to Mountmellick who never gave up despite only having 11 players. Their goalkeeper and centre backs in particular were fantastic on the day.

Portlaoise went home happy with their league title and look forward now to their cup campaign.

Coaches: Mark Farrell, John Farrell, Mick O’Loughlin, Cathal Hewitt

Portlaoise AFC: Cathal Tierney, Aaron Keane, Oran McEvoy, Craig O’Loughlin, Corey McGuirk, George Okpara, Danny Farrell, Darragh Prendergast, Eoin Duffin (VC), Desmond Peter, Kacper Honozo, Ryan Maher, Paddy Fitzpatrick, Kienan Brown, Tommy Dwane, Hotneil Bamba, Luke Bennett, Dylan Browne, Charles Ogundere (C).

Abbeyleix Athletic 1 T&S United 0
Midlands League U-15 East Division

Abbeyleix Athletic were crowned Midlands League U-15 East winners following a fine contest with neighbours T&S United last Friday.

This competition originally took place before Christmas and was used to grade teams into Major, Division 1 and Division 2.

However, this game had been postponed and was only available to be replayed last week.

Abbeyleix had to win in order to be crowed champions as any slip up would see Portlaoise AFC take glory.

And they started on the front foot with T&S keeper Josh Corbett called into action frequently in the opening periods.

T&S grew into the contest after that and Conor Headen was desperately unlucky to see his chip just land on the wrong side of the crossbar.

Joe Larkin then went close following a wonderful in-swining free kick from Sean Maher.

But the deadlock was broken ten minutes from half time when Leon Kavanagh struck for what would be the decisive goal.

Both teams had chances in the second half but Abbeyleix, led by the outstanding Cathal Noone in midfield, held on and were crowned winners.

ABBEYLEIX: Alex Dunne, Billy Brennan, Cathal Kelly, Cathal Noone, Conor McDonagh, Daniel Jones, Darragh Ryan, Jack Mulhall, James Fullerton, James Thompson, Jamie Cullen, Leon Kavanagh, Liam O’Keefe, Oisin Quinlan, Oscar Robertson, Paddy Farrell, Thomas Tarrant

T&S UNITED: Josh Corbett; Jimmy Miller, Eoghan Deegan, Andrew Whelan, Daniel Moore; Sean Maher, Sean Tuohy, Joe Larkin; Conor Headen, Rhys Devoy, Aaron Clarke, Kayden Dalton, Conor Byrne, James Miller, Paddy Dunne, Adam Szwaglis, Noah Dalton

T&S United 2 Portlaoise AFC 0
Midlands League U-12 East Division

T&S United were crowned Midlands League U-12 winners following a tense encounter with Portlaoise on Saturday morning.

T&S went into the game with 10 wins and two draws from their 12 league games – meaning a win here would guarantee the title with one game to spare.

This was a ferocious contest which the home side dominated throughout but just couldn’t break down a resolute Portlaoise defence – led by their incredible goalkeeper.

He denied Darragh O’Riordan, Rian Daly, James Lynch and Jack Davis on separate occasions in the first half and on the one time he was beaten – Killian Hendy’s effort came back off the bar.

It was 0-0 at half time and Portlaoise came back into the game in the second half – aided by the breeze. However, with ten minutes to play, Joey Foley broke out from defence and combined with John Kelly and Killian Hendy to set up Darragh O’Riordan to finish low into the corner.

That sparked wild celebration from the huge crowd in Timahoe and the game was made safe two minutes later when captain Lynch found O’Riordan in the box and he chested the ball down before cracking a shot on the half volley into the net.

Portlaoise pushed hard to get back into the game but the T&S defence stood strong and saw out the 2-0 win.

T&S UNITED: Sean Burke, Finty Duff, Davoren Bennett, Joey Foley, Zac Scully, JJ Ingle, Jake Cole, George Conway, Killian Hendy, Jack Davis, James Lynch (Captain), Darragh O’Riordan, John Kelly, Tom McCarthy, Rian Daly, Aidan McDonald, Kyle Kelly, Auryn Ryan, Cody Keane, John O’Hara

SEE ALSO – Laois Gaels announce details of competition for all expenses paid trip to London

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