After a sensational season, the Portlaoise Ladies Hockey team lie in a strong position for promotion as they prepare for the Leinster Division 13 Cup Final.
On Saturday, the side battled hard to secure their place in the final with a convincing win over Wicklow II. The Portlaoise ladies took charge of the game from the off with strong attacking from Grainne Dunne and Susan Fingleton through the centre of the pitch.
For most of the first half Portlaoise remained camped within Wicklow II territory.
This constant pressure on the Wicklow II defence was eventually fruitful for Portlaoise after the tenacious Grainne Dunne received the ball on the penalty spot and drove it into the right corner of the goal.
The second goal for Portlaoise came just before half time when Orla Dwyer, with support from Mairead Ryan, intercepted a high clearance from the keeper’s pads to lob the ball over the keeper’s head, giving Portlaoise a 2-0 lead.
In the second half, Portlaoise continued to exert their dominance and again remained for most of the half within the Wicklow II’s territory.
It was only minutes into the second half when Portlaoise’s Susan Fingleton drew the Wicklow defence out of position at the top of the circle, leaving Ailbhe Booth an open strike at goal to put Portlaoise three-nil ahead.
Emma O’Connell followed this up rapidly after the restart with a rocket from the right hand side of the circle to the left corner of the goal.
The first, and potentially only, break in the Portlaoise defence came late in the second half. when Wicklow got a penalty on a fast break. Although Portlaoise managed to defend the first strike from the penalty short corner, the Wicklow side followed up on the rebound to score.
Portlaoise then retaliated quickly and closed the game with a final goal from Orla Dwyer to carry them into the cup final.
The Portlaoise ladies will now face Suttonians III in a final which looks set to take place on March 1. They also remain undefeated in their league campaign and currently sit comfortably at the top of the Leinster Division 13 league table.