Cullen strikes late to earn Portlaoise dramatic draw

A last-ditch equalising point for Portlaoise from Dean Cullen ensured another day out against Clonaslee-St Manmans following a bitterly close game in Emo on Tuesday evening.

A last-ditch equalising point for Portlaoise from Dean Cullen ensured another day out against Clonaslee-St Manmans following a bitterly close game in Emo on Tuesday evening.

Clonaslee had a dream start to the game, after just two minutes Ger Dunne glided through the Portlaoise defence before burying the ball in the back of the net for the first goal of the day, giving St Manmans an early lead.

Portlaoise claimed the next two points of the game with Dean Cullen and Ricky Maher raising the white flag to leave just a point separating the sides after nine minutes of play.

Clonaslee-St Manmans built on their one point lead and increased it to four following a brace of points from Tommy Tynan, and a point from full-forward, Ger Dunne as the game approached the quarter-hour mark.

Portlaoise closed out the half with points from Murry Rogers and Sam Murphy-Kerry splitting the posts to leave the gap at two points on a scoreline of 1-3 to 0-4 as the teams parted for the break.

Portlaoise restarted the half with a point in the opening minute from a Murry Rogers free, but Clonaslee replied in devastating fashion with 1-1 in two minutes, this time Aaron Culliton with the gaol.

With Portlaoise trailing by five points with three minutes to go Ricky Maher pointed a free to narrow it to four, before substitute Martin Staunton rattled the Clonaslee net to leave just a point separating the sides.

In the second minute of injury time Portlaoise grabbed that elusive eqaulising point through Dean Cullen to send the game to a replay.

SCORERS - Clonaslee-St Manmans: Ger Dunne 1-2, Aaron Culliton 1-0, Tommy Tynan 0-2 (frees), John Rigney 0-1; Portlaoise: Martin Staunton 1-0, Murry Rogers (0-1 free), Dean Cullen, Ricky Maher (0-1 free) 0-2 each; Sam Muphy-Kerry 0-1.

CLONASLEE-ST MANMANS: John Gorman; Conor Hyland, Shane Conroy, Will Murray; Dermot Conroy, Conor McEvoy, John Molloy; Darren Hogan, Seamus Rosney; Will Young, Tommy Tynan, John Rigney; Niall Corbett, Ger Dunne, Aaron Culliton. SUBS: Michael Hyland for John Molloy.

PORTLAOISE: Graham Brody; Fintan Walsh, John Delaney, Brian Seale; Donal Fitzgibbon, Brian McCormack, Dean Lynch; Stuart Nerney, Sam Murphy-Kerry; Murry Rogers, Dean Cullen, Ricky Maher; Joe Delaney, Jack Fennell, Mark Kavanagh. SUBS: Martin Staunton for Brian Seale.