It was utter heartbreak for Portlaoise CBS in St Conleth’s Park Newbridge on Friday afternoon last, as their dreams of championship glory were dashed with an extraordinary refereeing decision with 10 minutes remaining of this game, which probably cost them at least a Leinster title.
Ard Scoil Ris 0-15
Portlaoise CBS 1-10
The CBS had trailed at half time but came back with a brilliant 20 minute second half display to lead by 1-10 to 0-10 with ten minutes left on the clock. Then, as influential centre back Aidan McGovern and a Dublin player chased a ball on the terrace side of the field, their momentum in the slippery conditions carried them over the side line.
The Ard Scoil Ris midfielder slid into an advertising sign in front of McGovern but when the referee, who was quiet a distance away, came across he flashed the Portlaoise man a straight red card to the astonishment of all present. There was no malice in McGovern’s tackle, as both players were going for the ball and the Dublin player slid first into the hoarding in a game of the highest sportsmanship, played in atrocious conditions.
With McGovern gone the game went totally against the CBS, and Ard Scoil Ris hit four points on the trot, three of them from debateable frees that were hotly contested by the CBS, with the official harsh in the extreme against the Portlaoise side, particularly in those final 10 minutes.
With a minute left of normal time the sides were on level terms, but just as the game looked as if it would go to extra time, Ard Scoil Ris won another disputed free to take the lead and in six minutes of injury time Portlaoise were unable to manufacture an equaliser.
See this week’s Leinster Express for full report