Portlaoise AFC proved too strong for Emo Celtic.
Last Saturday saw Portlaoise U-15s finally get their season under way, when an early morning start in Emo was their first fixture in the defence of their league title. A dry, bright morning was ideal for a game.
Both teams started brightly and the game was end-to-end. After ten minutes Portlaoise started to dominate possession and with their passing and movement started to create chances.
On 12 minutes Tieran Cahill latched onto a through ball and went around the keeper and scored from a tight angle. Five minutes later and disaster struck for Emo as first Portlaoise were awarded a penalty for a foul on Daryl Ntumba. Darragh Kelly scored from the spot kick and a mix up from the ensuing kick off allowed James Wheeler to score on his debut.
Portlaoise were now in total control and their work rate made it very difficult for the opposition to retain possession. Josh Hogan and David Olubowale were dominating midfield and Jamie Preston and Michael Culliton were overlapping from their full back positions.
Samuel Emmanuel finished after a great pass from David Olubowale and James Wheeler got his second. Emo were still a threat on the break and just before half time they were awarded a penalty after a foul from Darragh Kelly. Ross Meredith gave Hubert Siler no chance with a fine penalty.
Portlaoise showed no let up in the second half. Michael Culliton pushing forward from left back got his name on the score board before Cillian Friel finished well from the edge of the box for his debut goal. Emo never gave up and although under severe pressure, they continued to push forward at every opportunity.
They had a free sail narrowly over the Portlaoise goal but moments later Portloaise won another penalty which Kyle Enright tucked away. Ross Meredith scored his second of the day for Emo but Tiernan Cahill replied almost instantly at the other end.
Fittingly Darly Ntumba got his reward for a man of the match performance with minutes remaining when he tucked away the rebound from a Culliton shot.
Portlaoise will know there are tougher games to come but they will be glad to get this first game out of the way. Solid debuts for James Wheeler, Cillian Friel and Daire McDonald are some of the positives to come from the game as were the returns from injury of Jason Horan and Tiernan Cahill.
With Conall Rowney, Ben Dempsey, Brian Smith and Luke Dunne-O'Connor to come back into the squad in the coming weeks the management will be looking for this group of lads to push on and have another very good season.
Squad: Hubert Siler, Jamie Preston, Michael Culliton, Kyle Enright, Darragh Kelly, Jason Horan, Josh Hogan, David Olubowale, Samuel Emmanuel, Tiernan Cahill, Daryl Ntumba, Daire McDonald, James Wheeler, Cillian Friel. Missing: Conall Rowney, Ben Dempsey, Brian Smith and Luke Dunne-O'Connor.