Action from the Laois SFC Round 2 clash between Ballyroan Abbey and Portarlington in O’Moore Park this evening. Photo: Alf Harvey
Portarlington had the composure of Adam Ryan to thank after he held his nerve to send this pulsating Laois SFC Round 2 clash to a replay.
Ballyroan Abbey 2-10
Laois Shopping Centre Senior Football Championship Round 2
In a game packed with incident and drama, Ryan’s leveller came in the 67th minute, not long after Ballyroan Abbey had take the lead with an injury-time goal.
Portarlington started the brighter of the two teams and took the lead in the fourth minute in impressive circumstances. Colin Slevin provided the score, as he managed to squeeze a brilliant effort between the posts, from the left wing, off his left foot.
That score inspired his teammates, and Colm Murphy added another for them soon after from the right wing, and then Jake Foster junked away from a couple of challenges before firing over from 21 yards out.
Ballyroan Abbey were struggling to get into the game early on, with Padraig McMahon’s point their only score of the opening ten minutes.
Jason Moore quickly cancelled that out for Port and they looked in control at this stage, but the game swung on a very fortuitous Ballyroan Abbey goal.
MJ Tierney launched a long-ball into the Portarlington penalty area, and it initially seemed a waste as he had no teammates in there. However, goalkeeper Scott Osborne completely misjudged the flight of the ball and had to watch in horror as it flew over his head and into the net.
Port initially reacted well, as Jake Foster restored the lead within a minute, but Ballyroan Abbey got a big boost from that goal. MJ Tierney drew them back level with a free, and then Diarmuid Whelan gave them the lead for the first time with a good score from play.
Padraig McMahon then doubled it with a good score off his right, as Ballyroan Abbey lead by two after 20 minutes.
We then had to wait until stoppage time for out next score as both teams struggled to make the breakthrough. Jake Foster ended the drought with his third, and that was the final score of the half, as Ballyroan Abbey lead 1-4 to 0-6.
Sadly it wasn’t the last notable incident, as Portarlington goalkeeper Scott Osborne suffered a heavy knock just on the stroke of half-time. He had to be helped from the field, and was replaced at the break by Jack Whelan.
Colin Slevin quickly restored parity when play resumed, and then Whelan was thrust into action to make a point-blank save to deny Marty Scully. MJ Tierney pointed the resulting 45, and then Ciaran Carroll landed a fine score from the right wing. A Diarmuid Whelan free made it three on the trot for Ballyroan Abbey, who now enjoyed their biggest lead of the game, 1-7 to 0-7.
Stung by that run of three unanswered points, Port responded in the best manner possible, by kicked four in a row.
Paddy O’Sullivan instigated the purple-patch with two points in the space of a minute, and then Colm Murphy and Jake Foster quickly added to it to see Portarlington re-take the lead.
Foster brought his tally for the day to five while O’Sullivan also got another, as Portarlington looked to put some daylight between the teams. They now lead by three, but Ballyroan Abbey thought they had drawn level with ten minutes left when Cathal Doyle got a hand to a long ball into the Port penalty area and sent to toward goal.
Neither umpire indicated a score but the Ballyroan Abbey players were incredulous, prompting Mick Tarpey to consult with both officials before eventually ruling no goal had been scored.
Both teams traded pointed frees after that, and as normal time elapsed, just three points separated the teams.
John Rodgers made that it a two point game with superb point from the right wing, and then the drama levels were kicked up another level. Diarmuid Whelan slipped away from his marker on the edge of the area and powered a shot at goal, which Jack Whelan did brilliantly to save. However, the rebound fell to Padraig McMahon, who tapped the ball to an empty net.
That looked like winning it for Ballyroan Abbey, but in a frantic end to the game, which saw them pick up two black cards (one of which resulted in MJ Tierney being shown a red also), Port managed to fashion one last chance, and Adam Ryan held his nerve to send the game to a replay.
Scorers: Colm Murphy 0-4 (0-2 frees), Jake Foster 0-5, Paddy O'Sullivan 0-3 Colin Slevin 0-2, Jason Moore 0-1, Adam Ryan 0-1.
Team: Scott Osborne; Dean Foster, Keith Bracken, Cathal Bennett; Robert Pigott, Jason Moore, Patrick O'Sullivan; Sean Byrne, Eoin McCann; Ronan Coffey, Stephen O'Neill, Colin Slevin; Jake Foster, David Murphy, Colm Murphy. Subs: Jack Whelan for Osborne (half time, inj), Adam Ryan for McCann (48 mins), Jonny Fullam for Coffey (55 mins)
Scorers: MJ Tierney 1-3 (0-2 frees, 0-1 45), Padraig McMahon 1-2, Diarmuid Whelan 0-3 (0-2 frees), John Rodgers 0-1, Ciaran Carroll 0-1.
Team: Andrew Bonham; Gavin Tynan, Cian Moffitt, Ciaran Byrne; Aaron Carroll, Martin Scully, Mark Cahill; Shaun Murphy, Cathal Doyle; Ciaran Carroll, Scott Conroy, Jamie Whelan; Diarmuid Whelan, Padraig McMahon, MJ Tierney. Subs: Stephen Thompson for C Carroll (46 mins), Michael Brennan for Murphy (50 mins), John Rodgers for Moffitt (52 mins), Ruairi Dunne for Byrne (64 mins)
REFEREE: Mick Tarpey (Kilcavan)