Portlaoise played hosts to Timahoe & Stradbally on Saturday morning in Rossleighan. Portlaoise started the stronger and put the T&S defence under a lot of pressure from the start with some fine attacking play.
Portlaoise Utd 5
T&S UTD 0
T&S defended in numbers and made it very difficult for the home team.to create openings. Gary Brennan, Dennis and Harry Browne at the back had very little to do as T&S found it hard to get into the Portlaoise half, while Tom Coleman in goals was only a spectator as Portlaoise continued to dominate.
As the half wore on Portlaoise's relentless attacks finally paid off when the ball fell to Ryan Keane and he stuck it in the net for his first goal of the season to break the deadlock.The next goal came from a great delivery by Gary Brennan from a corner and Danny Gavin drilled home at the back post.
To their credit T&S continued to battle on and began to make more headway further up the field as unfortunaterly for them this opened up the pitch and Portlaoise struck on the counter attack. Harry Browne picked up the ball, beat a player and shot low to the net. Just on the stroke of half time Holly Murphy scored her first of the season with an excellent strike to extend the lead further.
The second half saw T&S come out strongly to try get back into the game as they continued to attack at every opportunity. Portlaoise, however, never took the foot off the pedal with Ross and Conor Dunne up front causing the defence all sorts of problems.
Ross put in some great crosses and hit the post with one attempt, while Conor was unlucky not to finish on a few occasions. Rocco Reilly and Oisin Duffin were working hard as usual but Portlaoise were again finding ways to break through the away sides defence.
Tom Coleman came close to scoring when hitting the post, but with time nearly up the ball broke to Danny Gavin and he made no mistake with the finish for his second goal of the game to wrap up the scoring.
Great credit must go to the T&S players and coaches for their attitude and like Portlaoise they continue to give all players equal game time, vital for their development at U-10 level.
PORTLAOISE ATHLETIC 0
MOUNTMELLICK UTD 5
After the disappointment of their cup exit last week, the Portlaoise Athletic U-10s travelled to the league champions Mountmellick Utd on Saturday last.
The Athletic boys put in another outstanding performance but Mountmellick proved just why they are worthy champions. The final scoreline was very harsh on the Portlaoise lads, who played exceptionally well at times, but Mountmellick were clinical in front of goal and ruthlessly punished any mistakes at the back.
Despite going behind early on, after the Mountmellick attacker reacted quickest to Ryan Greene's great save, Portlaoise went on to dominate the half. Ben Peacham was in great form on the left and Cian Fitzpatrick and Kayden Carroll both caused problems on the right.
Artiom Volkov was solid at the back, with Dawid Nowodka and captain Alex Moore also working and tackling hard. Portlaoise suffered a hammerblow early in the second half when they allowed Mountmellick to close in on goal unopposed and they made no mistake, shooting home to the corner without a Portlaoise block or tackle to be seen.
They fought back however, with good interplay in midfield releasing the wide players but they couldn't quite force a clear opening. Eoghan Kennedy took matters into his own hands midway through the half and his long range effort found its way to the bottom corner for a goal.
In their eagerness to push for an equaliser, however, gaps were left at the back and a team of Mountmellick's quality were always going to capitalise. After losing possession in the Mountmellick half, Portlaoise failed to track back quickly enough and the ball was in the back of the net for 3-1 before some of the players had reacted.
This was repeated moments later, allowing the Mountmellick striker too much space to crash the fourth home into the top corner. Again, the absence of blocks or tackles will be a source of disappointment for the Portlaoise players.
Heads never dropped and Portlaoise kept playing to the best of their ability and were unlucky on occasion, with Ben Peacham's fiercely struck effort, well saved in the Mountmellick goal, the pick of their chances as the game drew to a close.
There was one final nail in the coffin as the entire Mountmellick team piled forward for a corner with time almost up and their goalkeeper showed his versatility by powering home a header after an exceptional delivery into the box.
A disappointing ending and a disappointing scoreline but once again this fine group of players have plenty of positives to bring forward to the rest of the season and to future seasons. The passing and movement was excellent throughout and the Portlaoise players can be very happy with how they performed with the ball.
There is no doubt that they will be a serious force to be reckoned with once their gameplay when not in possession matches their qualities in possession.
Portlaoise Athletic U-10: Ryan Greene, Dawid Nowodka, Artiom Volkov, Alex Moore, Cian Fitzpatrick, Jan Gdowski, Eoghan Kennedy, Ben Peacham, Sean Conka, Conor Bowler, Kayden Carroll.
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