For the first time in nearly a decade St Mary’s Hall was host to a highly competitive match between two teams from the town but it is a first time that both sides hail from the same club.
This game was played in the greatest of sporting manners in front of a massive, and mostly undivided crowd who were treated to a very entertaining game between the veteran A team and the youthful B team with the experienced A team pulling away in the last five minutes.
The scoreline is rather flattering and suggests that the veterans had the game under control. For those in attendance though, they were kept on the edge of their seats for the whole match as both teams traded the lead on numerous occasions.
The first quarter saw Paul Leigh settle the B team with a three pointer in the first offence of the game followed up by some strong play from teammates Jack Scully and David Glynn. The veteran A team eventually got their game going through great play from Greg Dunne and Ger Egan but the difference between the sides at the end of the quarter was the sharp shooting of Peter O’Sullivan who notched up ten points to give them a six point lead.
But again the Portlaoise B team came fighting back and increased the pace of the game to their advantage finishing numerous fast breaks and open shots with Declan Kearney, Denis Curtin and Paul Leigh the beneficiaries. The introduction of Gedas Simkus and John Fennelly by the veterans brought an added bite to both defensive and offensive ends as their sheer strength and determination began to rattle the younger team. The veterans went in at the break with a five point lead.
The third quarter saw the youthful B team come out strong, taking the game inside through the Scully brothers, Craig and Jack notching up eight points between them. This also created room for Kevin Donoghue outside to drain two big shots to close the gap. But once again up stepped John Fennelly and Greg Dunne to finish the quarter on a high with five baskets between them.
With the lead cut to four at the start of the last quarter the game was up for grabs. Unfortunately for the younger guys, experience won out in the end with great defensive play from Rody Mc Evoy, Alan Burnell and Peter Duignan forcing errors while Dan Debosz contributed a quick five points on the other end to push the lead out to ten points. The game ended with a number of free throws which left twelve points between the teams. Both teams played this game at a high tempo throughout and showed that the club has an array of talent at their disposal and both teams will look to kick on from here.
PORTLAOISE B: Renaldas Bartusevicius, Alan O’Neill 9, Erikas Kosac, Declan Kearney 15, Jamie Dooley, Kevin Donoghue 7, Craig Scully 9, Denis Curtin 7, David Glynn 5, Paul Leigh 9, Jack Scully 8.
PORTLAOISE A: John Fennelly 16, Paul Dooley, Gediminas Simkus 6, Shane O’Neill, Rody McEvoy, Peter O’Sullivan 21, Alan Burnell, Gary Donnelly, Greg Dunne 11, Dan Debosz 14, Ger Egan 11, Peter Duignan.