Panthers had their last home game of the current season in St. Mary’s Hall on Thursday night. Unfortunately, the home side were defeated by league leaders Killeen Green.
Killeen opened the scoring with two baskets in a row. Portlaoise soon replied at the opposite end with Dorothy Fahy scoring an impressive three point shot.
Great vision from Olive Maher to find Danielle Keane under the basket resulted in another Portlaoise score. Killeen’s Christina Walsh managed to break down the home defence and drove to the basket for her second score of the quarter.
The away side then took advantage of the fast break notching up another four points through Aisling Hayden. Panthers then closed the gap with scores from Leanne Hayes and Fahy, but a layup on the buzzer from Walsh meant the away side were in front at the end of the first quarter.
Danielle Keane added three points to the home sides score early in the second quarter but Killeen stepped up a gear and scored seven unanswered points. Siobhan O’Connor got her name on the score sheet shortly after her introduction to stop Killeen’s scoring run. Aoife Brennan was fouled on her way to the basket and scored both free throws awarded to her. Both teams had to be careful for the remainder of the quarter as they were equally in danger of getting in to foul trouble. At the end of the half, it was Killeen who were in front with a comfortable lead.
The second half started the same as the first with the away side registering on the score board immediately. Strong inside play from Hayes got Portlaoise’s second half scoring underway. Anna Fraser was a constant threat under the boards and scored a well deserved free throw after being fouled inside the key.
Killeen worked hard on offence and were forced to shoot from outside as Portlaoise continued to work tirelessly on defence. A rebound from Emma Colohan gave Portlaoise the chance to take on the fast break and Fahy finished her layup excellently. Unfortunately, the home side still trailed going into the last stretch as Killeen Maintained their lead.
Panthers continuous effort in the last quarter ensured it was their highest scoring of the game. Although the away side scored the first three baskets, Portlaoise then dominated for the remainder of the game.
Fahy’s five unanswered points were then followed by another three points from Keane with one of these being from the line. Maria Malone’s excellent defence kept the visitors from scoring and her rebounds allowed portlaoise to maintain possession. Brennan showed her strength inside as she added another four points to the home sides score.
A superb pass from Amy Dunphy to Keane for the last basket of the game was not enough to give victory to the home side on this occasion. The two teams meet for the second time this season in a number of weeks and both are currently in contention to make the top four competition in May.