Borris-Kilcotton beat Portlaoise in their U-21 semi-final.
Borris-Kilcotton 2-18 Portlaoise 0-13
Two second half goals sealed victory for Borris-Kilcotton in the first U-21 semi-final of the weekend.
In a game played in freezing cold conditions the win never really looked in doubt for the 2014 champions.
The game was niggly from the get go and was slow to take off. Aaron Dunphy broke the deadlock from a free but Portlaoise immediately responded with one of their own before two points from Borris-Kilcotton, the latter a super over the shoulder score from Stephan Phelan, left them two points to the good.
Then came Portlaoise’s only real spell of dominance in the match, as a couple of poor wides were sandwiched in between two pointed frees from Ciaran McEvoy and Aaron Bergin as they began to win the breaks around the middle.
Borris-Kilcotton responded through a point from Stephen Dunphy which seemed to change the flow of the game. Gary Bergin added a good point for Portlaoise but then Borris-Kilcotton would go on to score six of the next seven points, the pick of which was a long-range effort from wing back Conor Kilbane. An Aaron Bergin free stemmed the flow and two points from either side left the half time score at 0-11 to 0-8 in favour of Borris-Kilcotton.
The second half was all Borris-Kilcotton and they opened the scoring through Aaron Dunphy. Aaron Bergin responded with a '65 but then came the crucial moment in the game. A long ball into the Portlaoise 21 was eventually gathered by Joe Campion who handed it out to Daire Quinlan, and he finished to the net via Philip Roche’s hurl.
The lead was now out to seven points but Portlaoise stayed battling and scored three of the next four points to bring themselves back into contention. However, a free from Aaron Dunphy and a brilliant goal from Stephen Phelan effectively ended the game as a contest.
A scramble for possession on Portlaoise’s 21 looked like it was about to be picked up and cleared, but just as a Portlaoise hurl rose the ball in flew Phelan to snatch possession away and finish clinically to the corner from a tight angle.
Portlaoise then went searching for goals but it was Borris-Kilcotton that added another three points in the final minutes to compound Portlaoise’s misery. Portlaoise could only add a point through a Bergin free in the closing stages as Borris-Kilcotton's defence stood firm to carry them into the final.
Scorers: Aaron Dunphy 0-8 (0-5 frees), Stephen Phelan 1-2, Stephen Dunphy 0-3, Daire Quinlan 1-0, Eoin Fitzpatrick, Stephen campion, Conor Kilbane, Bill Meade 0-1 each.
Team: Danny Brennan; DJ Kelly, Conor Quinlan, Ben Quinlan; Bill Meade, Colm Stapleton, Conor Kilbane; Stephen Dunphy, Stephen Campion; Daire Quinlan, Joe Campion, Eoin Fitzpatrick; Oisin Fleming, Stephen Phelan, Aaron Dunphy. Subs: Jamie Dooley for O Fleming (46 mins) Dean Carey for S Campion (57 mins) Ciaran Sweeney for DJ Kelly (57mins), Michael Scully for A Dunphy (57 mins) Mark Hanlon for D Brennan (60 mins).
Scorers: Aaron Bergin 0-9 (0-6 frees 0-1 65), Gary Bergin 0-2, Donal Delaney 0-1, Ciaran McEvoy 0-1 (free).
Team: Philip Roche; Joseph Geaney, Frank Flanagan, Bryan Naughton; Eoghan Nealon, Ciaran McEvoy, Pauric O’Neill; Dylan Feane, Shane Smith; Eoghan Phelan, Dean Cullen, Donal Delaney; Shane Whelan, Gary Bergin, Aaron Bergin. Subs: Niall Gleeson for Whelan (34 mins), R Brennan for E Phelan (37 mins), R Marney for Nealon (40 mins).
Referee: John Lalor (Shanahoe)