Portlaoise played their first game in three weeks when the travelled to Banagher last Saturday morning to play the local side in this Midlands Schoolboys Major Division clash.
This match was played in horrendous conditions with gale force winds and heavy rain and Portlaoise had the advantage of the wind in the first half. Portlaoise went one up on 10 minutes when Jack Langton was sent clear after a good pass from Charlie O’Brien and he chipped the keeper to make it 1-0.
Banagher at this stage playing against the gale were trying their best just to keep the ball cleared from their defence as Portlaoise staged attack after attack. On 20 minutes Portlaoise went 2-0 when Brian Sheehy and Aaron Wright combined on the left and Wright’s pass into the box volleyed home by Jack Langton. Fionn Scully, Niall Doran and Ruairi Lewis then went close before Ross Brennan made it 3-0 on 28 minutes when he fired home from the edge of the box after being set up by a fine pass from Ronan McEvoy.
Jack Langton and Joe Nevin had shot just wide before the referee blew the half-time whistle with the score at 3-0. Portlaoise went 4-0 just after the break when a brilliant cross field pass by Ross Brennan sent Jack Langton away on the right and his cross was swept home by Aaron Wright Portlaoise then had three great chances to extend this lead but Jack Langton Craig Reddin and Aaron Wright were denied by brilliant saves by the Banagher keeper.
Banagher, now aided by the gale, mounted attack after attack but good defensive work by Sean McCormack, Jason Maher, Ciaran Rowney and Brian Sheehy kept them at bay until the 70th minute when the Banagher centre forward fired home to make it 4-1. One minute later the same player made it 4-2.
This was the end of the scoring however and the referee blew the final whistle soon after to leave the final score 4-2 to the Town. Every player deserves a mention for producing such a top quality match in such horrendous conditions and well done to all the players, mentors, referee and supporters who were present.
Portlaoise received a bye into the last 16 in the SFAI National Cup when the draw was made last Saturday and will play either Wilton from Cork or Nenagh Town in the last 16 with Portlaoise getting the home draw. This is the first time this team has got to the last 16 of this Cup and this match will be played in February
Portlaoise Squad: Sean McCormack Fionn Scully Jason Maher Ciaran Rowney Brian Sheehy(Capt)Ronan McEvoy Ruairi Lewis Charlie O Brien Aaron Wright Joe Nevin Jack Langton Ross Brennan Craig Reddin Aaron Feane Niall Doran.