Portlaoise Town edged out their closest rivals for the league title with this narrow victory over Mullingar last Saturday in Rossleighan Park.
The match which attracted a large crowd on a glorious sunny afternoon was very even in the first 15 minutes with no real chances created.
Mullingar created the first real chance on 20 minutes when Oisin O’Donoghue broke through, but Sean McCormack made a great save to deny the striker. Brian Sheehy was then straight through on goal but was pulled back by the referee for a foul by the Mullingar centre half Adam Dodd.
On 21 minutes Fionn Scully then was about to shoot home when he was tackled from behind to deny Portlaoise the opening goal.A minute later Kaelyn Thompson then fired straight at the Mullingar keeper Mathew Rowden when in a good scoring position.
Portlaoise made the breakthrough in the 25th minute when Oran Murphy scored with a brilliant shot to the top corner of the net to make it 1-0 after being set up by Ruairi Lewis.
Kaelyn Thompson then went close before Portlaoise went further ahead when Oran Murphy dispossessed the Mullingar centre half Adam Todd to fire low past the keeper to make it 2-0 after 28 minutes. No more chances were created in this half and it stayed 2-0 at the break.
The second half started with Mullingar completely on top and they pulled one back on 38 minutes when Oisin O’Donoghue beat Sean McCormack to a high cross to head home to make it 2-1.
Then on 40 minutes Aiden Keena beat three Portlaoise defenders to fire home a brilliant goal to make it 2-2. Aiden Keena the went close with another brilliant shot but it just went over the crossbar.
On 55 minutes Oran Murphy then shot from just inside the box after being set up by Niall Doran and his shot hit the inside stantion of the goals and bounce back into play, but the ball had crossed the line and the referee awarded the goal for Murphy to complete his hat-trick and leave the score 3-2.
Aaron Wright made it 4-2 when he broke through on the left wing to pass the ball past the Mullingar keeper Mathew Rowden and into the bottom corner after 57 minutes.
Mullingar pulled one back on 70 minutes when a long free kick from Mathew Rowden ended up in the back of the net after a mix up in the Portlaoise defence to leave the score 4-3. Mullingar were denied a draw at the death when Sean McCormack pulled off a brilliant save in injury time from Aiden Keena to leave the final score 4-3.
This was a great display by the Portlaoise team and all the team played their part in this victory, but special mention to Oran Murphy who has scored 13 goals including four hat-tricks this season in only four games and deserved the Man of the Match award.
Mullingar also played their part in this brilliant match and played some outstanding football all afternoon with Aiden Kenna Oisin O Donoghue Adam Dodd Oisin Proudfoot and keeper Mathew Rowden outstanding.
PORTLAOISE: Sean McCormack, Aaron Feane, Ciaran Rowney, Conor Lacken, Niall Doran, Ruairi Lewis, Fionn Scully, Kaelyn Thompson, Brain Sheehy, Oran Murphy (Capt), Joe Nevin, Ronan McEvoy, Oisin Kiernan, Ross Brennan, Aaron Wright Craig Reddin.