Rathdowney/Errill put up the biggest score of this year’s league as they eased past Portlaoise with 26 points to spare in windswept Rathdowney on Wednesday evening.
ACHL Division 1
After dropping three points in their last two games, the win secured the home side top spot in the league while for Portlaoise it was a seventh straight defeat for a side shorn of numerous prominent players this year.
Despite playing against the strong wind blowing down the field in the first-half, Rathdowney/Errill were 1-3 to 0-1 ahead after seven minutes and they were never really troubled for the remainder of the game.
Holding a six point advantage at the break, it was little more than shooting practice for the home side after the restart as they heaped the misery on a Portlaoise side who will need a miraculous change in fortunes if they are to avoid relegation in the upcoming championship.
With the wind in their faces, Rathdowney/Errill were quickly out of the blocks with points from Ross king (2) and Liam O’Connell getting them off to a strong start. Cian Taylor pulled one back for Portlaoise before the speedy Mark Kavanagh cut through for the first of six goals for his side.
Craig Haslam’s puck outs for Portlaoise were causing trouble early in the game as they dropped around the opposition 21 metre line and Portlaoise added a second point when Taylor converted a free after a foul was committed under the high ball.
Rathdowney/Errill continued to pile on the scores and lead by 2-6 to 0-3 after 17 minutes with Darren king scoring the goal.Lead by Tommy Fitzgerald, Portlaoise staged a mini recovery late in the half but they still trailed by 2-8 to 0-8 at the interval having played with the strong wind.
Portlaoise came out for the second-half with a sweeper in place but it failed to stem the tide of scores as wave after wave of attacks rained down on Craig Haslam’s goal.
Within seven minutes of the restart, the home side were 3-14 to 1-8 ahead with Shane Dollard striking for the goal.
Tommy Fitzgerald gave the Portlaoise supporters something to cheer about when he drilled home a goal ten minutes into the half but that was as good as it got for his side as Rathdowney/Errill were relentless at the other end.
The fourth goal came after 47 minutes when Haslam, who also made a number of brave saves, was beaten from close range by Ross King. The fifth and sixth goals came in quick succession from Shane Dollard and Mark Kavanagh before substitute Eoin Burke put in a cameo performance with three successive long range frees to round off a spectacular win.
Scorers: Ross King 1-9 (0-4f, 0-1 ‘65); Mark Kavanagh 2-3; Shane Dollard 2-2; Darren 1-2; Eoin Burke 0-3; Enda Meagher 0-1; Tadhg Dowling 0-1; Liam O’Connell 0-1. Portlaoise: Tommy Fitzgerald 1-3; Cian Taylor 0-5 (0-4f, 0-1 ‘65) Keith Murphy 0-1; Caolan Murphy 0-1
Rathdowney/Errill: Andrew Kavanagh; John Keane, Brian Campion, Jimmy Corrigan; Joe Fitzpatrick, Pat Mahon, Alan Delaney; Paddy Purcell, Liam O’Connell; Tadhg Dowling, Shane Dollard, Enda Meagher; Mark Kavanagh, Ross King, Darren King. Subs: Jack Kelly for Joe Fitzpatrick (42mins); Eoin Burke for Enda Meagher (43mins); Paddy Bergin for Brian Campion (43mins); Sean Delaney for Ross King (49mins)
Portlaoise: Craig Haslam; Eoin Phelan, Ciaran McEvoy, Pauric O’Neill; Darragh Duggan, Joe Phelan, Paddy Ryan; Keith Murphy, Caolan Murphy; Cian Taylor, Tommy Fitzpatrick, Daniel Delaney; Dean Lynch; Tony Byrne, Sean Culleton. Subs: Kevin Whelan for Daniel Delaney (HT), Shane Smith for Sean Culleton (HT)