Emmanuel Okpara starred for Portlaoise in their win over Skerries.
Portlaoise travelled to Skerries on Sunday morning and advanced to the Lummy O’Reilly Cup quarter-final following a stunning 3-0 win over their league rivals.
Skerries Town 0
Portlaoise were without a number of key players, none more so than top scorer Jason Murphy, but they were full value for their win and will now hope for a home draw, having had only one of their last nine cup games at home.
Portlaoise had two early chances but Colm Poole and Shane Colins were off target in an opening that was frenetic and typical of a cup game between two sides that know each other well.
Skerries were a constant threat from set plays and had a couple of half chances before the returning Joe Walshe picked out Collins, he played a good one-two with Jody Dillon but his effort never troubled the home keeper.
Portlaoise’s best chance of the opening half hour fell to Collins but his header from a brilliant James Mullaney cross was straight at Dylan Sweeney while from the goal kick 8 had a good effort that was just wide.
Oisin Fitzpatrick then put his side ahead with his first goal of the season, a good move that involved Jason Caffrey, Poole and Dillon ended with a knock-down to the winger who buried the chance from 12 yards.
Emmanuel Okpara was next to go close but his effort was over the bar with the final chance before the break.
Two minutes into the second half Skerries had a great chance to go level, Donal Conglan got free but Eoghan White blocked brilliantly and Walshe saved the resultant effort from Bob McKenna at the near post.
Collins went close again following a quick throw from Danny Molloy to Dillon who played a delightful reverse pass but Sweeney again denied Portlaoise.
Joe Walshe took his turn to excel, first brilliantly pushing away a stinging effort from McKenna then denying Ross Hopkins with his feet to keep his side ahead. The game really opened up now as both sides went in search of a goal as Sweeney saved from Caffrey and Collins missed the chance to make to 2-0 as Portlaoise pressure was mounting.
A free kick from Mullaney was knocked down by White but Dillon volleyed over but on 57 minutes Portlaoise went further ahead. Fitzpatrick and Caffrey combined well on the right and Collins knocked the cross down for Colm Poole to volley home with his right foot past a helpless home keeper.
Soon after it was game over as Jason Caffrey was fouled on the edge of the box and he picked himself up and expertly slotted the free kick home. Skerries pushed hard to get one back but couldn’t find a way past the visiting defence and Portlaoise advance to the quarter final.
Portlaoise return to league action next Friday with a home fixture against Sacred Heart/Killinarden who beat Portlaoise 3-1 in November, kick off in Rossleighan Park is 7.45pm.
Portlaoise: Joe Walshe, James Mullaney, Eoghan White, Danny Molloy, Oisin Fitzpatrick, Emmanuel Okpara, Bring Ging, Colm Poole, Jayson Caffrey, Shane Collins, Jody Dillon. Subs; Mark Dunne for Ging (58 mins), Niall Doran for Mullaney (75), Jayson Bergin for Fitzpatrick (81), Derek Beale for Dillon (88), Jayson Murphy, Mateusz Cwienk.