Team Coppers Portlaoise was the sole Laois representative that made it into the Division 2 Top 4 and booked their place into the finals after an impressive team performance against Athlone. A shooting exhibition from Paul Leigh, Kevin Donoghue and David Glynn saw Portlaoise ease past Athlone by twenty six points.
In the other semi final Old Leighlin defeated Tullamore in a one-sided encounter. Old Leighlin’s team play was too much for the Offaly men as they eased into the final.
The Division 2 final turned out to be the closest run of the day and was entertaining from start to finish with both sides showing great skill and emotion throughout, unwilling to give up until the final whistle. The first quarter saw both defences come out on top as players tried to settle into the game early on. Team Coppers took an early lead with baskets inside from Craig Scully and Paul Leigh. Old Leighlin drew level by the end of the quarter with Seamus Kinsella finishing strong to the basket.
The Portlaoise men upped the ante in the second quarter finding their range from distance. Three three-pointers from the game MVP Kevin Donoghue and a further two from Evan Maher put the home side out in front at half time by ten points and looked to be in control of the game.
The third quarter saw the Carlow men mount a comeback with Kinsella brothers Seamus and Brendan finishing strongly on the fast break. Team Coppers tried hard to break down Old Leighlin’s defence but were coming up against a determined side. The Portlaoise men began to work the ball around in offence with big men Craig and Jack Scully scoring all but two of their side’s quarter total. Old Leighlin had closed the gap down to six points going into the last quarter.
The fourth quarter was another exciting ten minutes with Old Leighlin gaining the momentum early on. The Carlow men did everything they could to try to get their noses in front. Again great defensive play was the key to staying out in front for the home team with Jamie Dooley and Kevin Donohue clearing the boards. With under a minute left, the game was still in the balance with only a basket between the sides. Old Leighlin resorted to fouling Team Coppers with Jamie Dooley scoring two free throws to take his side out of reach.
Team Coppers Team: Jack Scully, Craig Scully, Kevin Donohue, Paul Leigh, David Glynn, Jamie Dooley, Jack Dooley, Evan Maher, Renaldas Bartusevicius, Mark Bartley, Aaron Brady. Coach: Martin Conroy.