Portlaoise returned to the pitch on Sunday after a long Christmas break to take on Gorey I.
Both sides were missing some of their key players and Portlaoise were also suffering from an absence of substitutes. From start to finish the game was action packed with both sides equal in skill and determination which led to a goal filled game.
Early in the second half a high ball, from a Gorey stick, injured the hand of Marian O’Boyle leaving Portlaoise with only ten players. Gorey took advantage take the lead with Gorey captain Alex Doyle shooting the ball passed the keeper. In a matter of minutes Portlaoise brought the score back level after Karen Fingleton applied a key final touch to a strike from a penalty short corner. But just before the end of the first half, Gorey regained their lead with a lucky deflection to go two nil ahead.
In the second half Gorey continued to move ahead scoring early following a scuffle on the Portlaoise line. This spurred a tired Portlaoise side into action and for the first time in the game Portlaoise drew ahead after scoring three hard fought goals. The first was the result of an attack started by Eimear Dunne from mid field. In combination with Jen Carter she created an opening at the top of the circle. This left little for Ailbhe Booth to do who had the final strike on the ball to put Portlaoise three nil ahead at half time.
The second goal came from a penalty short corner flicked high and left by Ailbhe Booth following a cross from Karen Fingleton. The third goal was due to the individual effort of Grainne Dunne who received the ball just right of centre field and carried it into the circle, eliminating two Gorey defenders and finally taking on the keeper, leaving the score at 4-3.
The teams battled hard into the closing minutes and for a time it looked like Portlaoise would take the win in spite of being a player down. However Gorey re-established a level score line when they scored from a poorly defended penalty short corner. At the final whistle the result was two very tired teams and a 4-4 draw.