A Portlaoise U-10 selection under the guidance of Ger Campbell finished runners up at the Naas FC U-10 Astroturf 7-a-side tournament recently
Portlaoise performed wonderfully and were very unlucky to lose out in the final to a classy Belvedere A side from Dublin on a dry but cool Saturday in Naas.
Considering there were nineteen teams participating in the event this was a great achievement.
Portlaoise were lead by their outstanding captain ,and arguably the finest player on view, Colin Conroy. He was ably assisted by fellow scorers Aaron Doran, Brian Smith and Jason Horan.
Much of the industry and graft came from Jamie Preston, James Reddin and Robbie Farrell.
The defensive stalwarts were Michael Culleton and Conall Rowney backed up by their reliable custodian on the day Tiernan Cahill.
Portlaoise opened with a 3-1 win over Broadford United with goals from Colin Conroy, Aaron Doran and Jason Horan. They recorded the same result against Belvedere ‘B’ with Jason Horan on target twice and the third goal coming from Aaron Doran. The game featured great defending from Michael Culleton and Conall Rowney.
Their final group game against the host club’s ‘A’ side was level at 2-2 at the final whistle with Brian Smith and Colin Conroy finding the net. Goalkeeper Tiernan Cahill made a fine save to keep the game level. The game went to penalties but ended 3-3 as the sides couldn’t be separated. Naas won toss to decide who was top of the group but the winners and runners up from each of the four groups qualified for quarter finals.
That set up a quarter final with Cara and after some early scares, Portlaoise found their rhythm and won 4-0 with Jason Horan (2), Colin Conroy and Brian Smith all on target.
They then advanced to the semi-final against Leixlip and proved too strong for their opponents thanks in large part to the work-rate of James Reddin winning 4-1 with the goals coming from Brian Smith (2), Colin Conroy and Aaron Doran.
With their confidence high Portlaoise then turned their attention to the final against a strong Belvedere ‘A’ side. It was a truly memorable game with superb skill on show from both sides. Portlaoise gave as good as they got but in the end they lost out by the odd goal in three when the final whistle went with Colin Conroy getting the goal in a 2-1 defeat.
Overall this was an excellent tournament for Portlaoise and the players, coach and metors can be very proud of their efforts.
Portlaoise: Jason Horan, Michael Culleton, Tiernan Cahill, Conall Rowney, Brian Smith, Aaron Doran, Jamie Preston, James Reddin, Colin Conroy (capt), Robbie Farrell. Coach: Ger Campbell. Mentors: Ger Campbell, Pat Horan and Mark Farrell