Portlaoise CBS had to dig deep in the second half of their South Leinster SFC opening round game with St Mary’s of Enniscorthy, as they ground out a deserved three point win.
SOUTH LEINSTER COLLEGES SFC ‘B’ ROUND 1
Portlaoise CBS 0-9
St Mary’s 1-3
Played in horrendous conditions in Enniscorthy last Wednesday, the game was scrappy and, at times, ill-tempered, as both teams finished with 14 men. Portlaoise deserved the win though, as they held St Mary’s scoreless in the second half while working hard to get the scores they needed to secure a place in round two.
Enniscorthy had opened the scoring in the first minute through a fine point from Martin Óg Storey, but Portlaoise hit back with two points in 60 seconds from DJ O’Cinnell and Evin Keane to take the lead.
With rain having fallen all morning and even throughout the game, conditions were difficult and that in turn lead to scores being at a premium. That was why, midway through the first half, Enniscorthy looke dot have gotten a crucial score when they worked the ball up from their own full-back line to tee-up Story, who finished to the top corner from 14 yards out.
The Portlaoise response was impressive, as they rattled off three unanswered points from Robbie Dowling, Evin Keane and DJ O’Connell (free) to draw level, although a late point from Robert Frayne left the home side one ahead at the break, 1-3 to 0-5.
Portlaoise took less than two minutes to draw level in the second half, with Dean Cullen’s run setting up Dowling for his second point. Mark Dunne then put Portlaoise ahead soon after when his looping shot dropped over the crossbar, and Dowling notched his third when he fisted over from close range.
Tempers began to fray after that, with two brief but nasty fights breaking out, the second of which saw Oisín Nolan of the CBS and Cillian Doyle of St Mary’s given red cards.
Portlaoise still held a two-point lead, a dangerous one in the conditions and they almost threw that away with two minutes left when a misplaced pass allowed St Mary’s to run clear on the CBS goal. It was left to goalkeeper Joe Walshe to keep his side in it, and he made a fantastic point-blank save from Martin Óg Storey.
Portlaoise eventually killed the game off with Dean Cullen’s late point, and while they rode their luck at times, were good value for the win in the end.
SCORERS - Portlaoise CBS: Robbie Dowling 0-3, DJ O’Connell (two frees), Evin Keane 0-2 each, Dean Cullen, Mark Dunne 0-1 each; St Mary’s: Martin Óg Story 1-1, Robert Freney 0-2
PORTLAOISE CBS: Joseph Walshe (The Heath); Oisín Nolan (Park-Ratheniska), Chris Lynch (Portlaoise), Ciaran O’Brien (The Heath); Ciaran Flynn (Portlaoise), Eoin Phelan (Portlaoise), Joe Lacey (Stradbally); Ciaran McEvoy (Portlaoise), Robbie Dowling (The Heath); DJ O’Connell (Park-Ratheniska), Dean Cullen (Portlaoise), Conor Whelehan (Timahoe); Mark Dunne (Portlaoise), Martin Norton (The Heath), Evin Keane (The Heath). Subs: Daniel Delaney (Portlaoise) for Norton (44 mins), Niall Keenan (Portlaoise) for (54 mins)
ST MARY’S ENNISCORTHY: Liam Ryan; Dylan Martin, Conor Casey, Ryan Mahon; Neil McRay, Sean Cloherty, Cillian Doyle; Daragh Kehoe, Conor Ryan; Dean Murphy, Sean Kelly, Robert Frayne; Leonard Connolly, Martin Óg Storey, John Kehoe.