Portlaoise lost out to a strong Mountmellick side last week.
Portlaoise Utd travelled to Mountmellick on a cold but dry Saturday morning last and were well-beaten by a strong home side.
MOUNTMELLICK UTD 5
PORTLAOISE UTD 1
Portlaoise started the game in the ascendancy and took the game to their opponents, with Cian Bartley Bray in excellent form in front of the back four and Fionn Devoy his usual livewire self on the right of midfield. Their best chance came on ten minutes when Cian set Fionn clear on the right wing.
Fionn made a tremendous run followed by a superb cross from the end line to Sean O'Sullivan, however Sean’s effort was saved by the keeper.
Within minutes they paid the price, when Mountmelick broke free down the right and opened the scoring with a well-placed strike. This turned the game on it’s head and for the rest of the half Mountmellick took total control, winning the one-to-ones with a hungrier attitude and scoring three more before without reply before the break.
Portlaoise introduced Calum Leonard, Thomas Swords and John Ging at half time and this rejuvenated the team. Calum turned in an excellent display in the centre of midfield, winning tackles, spraying good passes and getting forward to support the front men.
Ten minutes in they got a reward for their domination, when John Ging was brought down in the box and Cian Bartley Bray calmly slotted home the resulting penalty. Portlaoise pushed forward now to try rescue something from the game, with Cameron Clarke coming to the fore on the left of midfield and Scott Coyle displaying some neat skills on the right.
Calum Leonard made a brilliant run down the right wing and sent a fine cross into the box but unfortunately the Mountmellick defence managed to clear the danger. Portlaoise had a succession of dangerous free kicks but failed to take advantage and test the home keeper.
Mountmellick came back into the game in the last ten minutes and sealed the tie with a fine effort with five minutes to go. Overall a bad result for Portlaoise, however the 5-1 scoreline was a bit harsh on them.
Mountmellick fully deserved their victory but Portlaoise played well in the first 10 minutes and throughout the second half. Cian Bartley Bray was immense for them with Fionn Devoy not far behind and Cameron Clarke also doing well.
Calum Leonard deserves special mention for leading by example in the second half in an unfamiliar midfield role, driving the team forward with every opportunity.
PANEL: Thomas Swords, Hubert Siller, John Ging, Finn Delaney, Ben Dwyer, Luke Makem, Matthew Walsh, Scott Coyle, Cameron Clarke, Fionn Devoy, David Burke, Sean O'Sullivan, Calum Leonard.