Maryborough FC. Credit Laois People
CCFL Laois Shield Final
Portlaoise Rovers 3
After extra time
In a thrilling game in Conor Davis Park, Mountmellick, two Portlaoise-based outfits in Maryborough FC and Portlaoise Rovers fought tooth and nail to try and take home the CCFL Laois Shield. In the end, it was a Seamus Lawless penalty in extra-time that proved the winner for Maryborough FC.
Portlaoise Rovers will no doubt be disappointed with the outcome considering they went into an early two-goal lead in the first half, but this youthful side will surely have plenty of more chances to win silverware down the road. In fact, these two teams will be in the same league as each other, so perhaps a bit of a rivalry could form between these two clubs down the road.
Dylan O'Halloran's charges got off to a flying start, as within ten minutes Rovers went a goal to the good. Midfielder David Nolan chased down a long ball into the corner, which Maryborough keeper Chris Cash also went in pursuit. Nolan got to the ball first though, and with no body in goals in the Maryborough net, Nolan picked out Rovers forward Cian Doyle, who headed into an empty net.
Rovers' tails were up at this stage, and they went hunting for more. Cian Doyle's pace in behind caused problems all afternoon long for the Maryborough defence, and he scored his second after around twenty minutes. Doyle raced through on goals before coolly slotting the ball into the bottom right corner of the net, and Rovers went ecstatic.
Maryborough finally began to settle the storm after that goal went in, with some composure on the ball. However, no real chances were carved out and Rovers maintained their two goal cushion heading into the first water break.
Maryborough were the better team after the water break and deservedly got their reward with three minutes to go until half-time. Sean Hofmeister ran down the right flank and his cross didn't appear all that dangerous. However, it deflected twice of Rovers defenders and fell into the path of Sean O'Driscoll, who finished past Colin Fitzpatrick in the Rovers net.
That goal was pivotal, as Maryborough started the second half with a new lease of life, while Rovers seemed to be panicking slightly on the ball. Around ten minutes into the second half and O'Driscoll scored his second, with Maryborough back on level terms once more.
Brendan Molloy seemed to be surrounded with no where to go near the corner flag on the left hand side. However, some quick feet sent him past a few challenges before curling in a dangerous cross. Rovers keeper Colin Fitzpatrick punched it clear, but only as far as O'Driscoll who buried it into the back of the net.
Maryborough could sense Rovers' heads dropping, and not long after they had grabbed their second, that their third goal arrived. This time the goal came from Sean Hofmeister, who looked dangerous throughout with his nimble footwork and pace in behind. Hofmeister actually had a great chance before he did score, but ballooned his strike well over the crossbar. However, he atoned for that miss as the winger brilliantly back-heeled the ball into the Rovers' goal.
You feared that Rovers' young side would lose their heads completely in their first ever final as a club, but that was far from the case. Almost straight after that goal went in, Rovers went on the attack down the left hand side. Half-time substitute Jordan Byrne slid a pass through to Doyle, who appeared ready to cross one into the box. However, Doyle cleverly deceived Chris Cash in the Maryborough net and fired a low shot just inside the post and in.
There would be a few chances for both sides to win it near the end of normal time, but neither could convert and this Shield final was forced to go into extra-time. It was Maryborough who began the first half of extra-time in the ascendency, and an over the top ball after a few minutes resulted in Sean Hofmeister being tripped in the box.
Maryborough captain Seamus Lawless stepped up to take the spot-kick, and you never thought for a second he was going to miss. He calmly sent Colin Fitzpatrick the wrong way and Maryborough went into the second-half of extra-time with a 4-3 advantage.
Rovers had one golden opportunity to level it in the second half of extra-time. Will Boland showed a real burst of pace to knock the ball past Shaun Mulhall and go through on goals, but his effort was hit too hardly and went over the crossbar. Maryborough used all their experience to see out the rest of the contest and claim the CCFL Laois Shield in Mountmellick.
Team: Chris Cash; Killian Breen, Gareth Dunne, Shaun Mulhall, Conor Brennan; Dean Kavanagh, Colm Phelan, Seamus Lawless; Brendan Molloy, Sean O'Driscoll, Sean Hofmeister. Subs: Gary Hofmeister, Kyle Burke, Troy Fagan, Byron Conroy
Team: Colin Fitzpatrick; Gavin Cooper, Ross Holmes, Ronan Corr, Eoin Carey; Jamie Shinners; Aaron Keane, David Nolan, Conor Dwane; Cian Doyle, Will Boland. Subs: Jordan Byrne, Alan Roberts, Conor McKenna
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