Portlaoise CBS booked their place in the last four of the South Leinster Colleges SFC after grinding out a four point win over Clane in horrendous conditions last Friday.
Trailing by two points with 20 minutes to go, Portlaoise hit six points between there and final whistle, while holding Clance scoreless, to advance to a semi-final clash with Colaiste Íosagáin.
On a wet, mucky pitch at the Clane school grounds, the incessant rain meant that quality football was going to be almost impossible. That much was clear in the early stages, as it took until the ninth minute for the game’s opening score.
It came from Daniel Delaney, as he scored following good work by Robbie Dowling. He added another two minutes later, when he collected the rebound from Mark Dunne’s shot for goal. Dunne had another shot at goal moments later, and it looked destined for the back of the net only for Sean Lynch to make a miraculous save and tip the ball over the bar.
Clane finally opened thier account in the 12th minute with a free from Ethan O’Donoghue, and he added another soon after, as Portlaoise lost Eoin Phelan to a very harsh black card.
It didn’t derail them, however, and Daniel Delaney rattled the crossbar before firing over his third point. Mark Dunne and Jack Browne alse pointed, with Ethan O’Donoghue hitting three in return to leave the score at 0-6 to 0-5 in favour of Portlaoise at half time.
Ethan O’Donosghue and Jack Brown traded points at the start of the second half, before a lovely move from Clane resulted in O’Donoghue firing to the net, as Clane took the lead for the first time.
Portlaoise refused to panic, however, and slowly but surely worked their way back inot the game. Jack Browne lead the revival thanks to three pointed frees in a row, and that helped Portlaoise into a narrow one-point lead.
They were starting to tighten up a tthe back now too, and with Clane struggling to make a breakthrough, Portlaoise kept pulling away by adding points.
Jack Browne’s quick 45 set Robbie Dowling up for a point, and with time running out, Daniel Delaney scored after a wonderful solo run through the Clane defence, and Mark Dunne then put the seal on the victory with his third point.
SCORERS - Portlaoise CBS: Jack Brown 0-5 (0-4 frees), Daniel Delaney 0-4, Mark Dunne 0-3, Robbie Dowling 0-1; Scoil Mhuire Clane: Ethan O’Donoghue 1-6 (0-4 frees)
PORTLAOISE CBS: Joseph Walshe (The Heath); Eoin Buggie (Stradbally), Shane Whelan (Portlaoise), Ciaran O’Brien (The Heath); Kieran Flynn (Portlaoise), Eoin Phelan (Portlaoise), Conor Whelehan (Timahoe); Oisín Nolan (Park-Ratheniska), Robbie Dowling (The Heath); James O’Connor (Timahoe), Shane Keane (The Heath), Jack Browne (Portlaoise); Niall Gavin (Portlaoise), Mark Dunne (Portlaoise), Daniel Delaney (Portlaoise). Subs: Shane Smyth (Portlaoise) for Phelan (14 mins - black card), Conor Ryan (Portlaoise) for Gavin (half-time), James Phelan (The Heath) for Nolan (60 mins - injured)
CLANE: Mark O’Connor; Brian Elliott, Sean Lynch, Ronan Guilfoyle; Cormac Browne, Cathal Egan, Enda O’Connell; Tomás Earley, Ciaran Flaherty; Aaron Byrne, Tommy Cribben, James O’Brien; Jake Devey, Ethan O’Donoghue, Kyle Devey. Subs: Alex Neville Lane for Byrne (41 mins)