Portlaoise Utd U/15s after victory over Abbeyleix
A sunny Rossleighan Park was the setting on Saturday morning last for this U/15 all Laois clash.
Portlaoise came into the game in confident mood after their fine display in Athlone last time out, but were fully aware of the challenge from their neighbours as past games have being very close, the most recent a 1-1 draw in January.
Portlaoise came out of the blocks strongly, and got a dream start three minutes in. Finn Delaney crossed in from the right to Callum Leonard, who drew the keeper before squaring to David Burke , who kept his composure to open the scoring with a left foot strike.
The Portlaoise midfield quartet of Luke Makem and Brandon McCarthy in the centre and Delaney and Burke outside them carried on from last week , playing some neat football and working hard when not in possession.
Up front the lively Fionn Devoy and Calum Leonard were causing problems for the Abbeyleix defence as Portlaoise went in seach of number two.
They looked set to get it ten minutes in, Sean O Sullivan's sweetly struck free kick heading for the top corner.
However Abbeyleix defender Conor Collins rose majesticly on the line to head out for a corner, top notch defending. The second did arrive shortly afterwards however when Brandon McCarthy latched onto a breaking ball in the box and rattled the net with a powerful effort.
Things got better for the home side on twenty minutes, Andrew Goggin playing a fine ball over the top to Fionn Devoy who calmly slotted home. Abbeyleix to their credit attempted to get back into the game but found the home defence in excellent form.
The central defence partnership of Tadhg Duffin and Sean O Sullivan was solid, Tadgh's excelling with his tackling and man marking , while Sean again was reading the game well and spraying fine balls out of defence to his team mates.
The two full backs were also in fine form, Matthew Walsh at left full bombing forward at every opportunity to support his front men, while the ever reliable Andrew Goggin was pumping good ball up the line on the right side. Keeper Hubert Siler was alert to anything that got past his defence, taking control of his area and communicating well with his defenders .
On twenty five minutes Abbeyleix threatened to break through, but a superb challenge by Tabhg prevented the danger. At the other end Luke Makem and Finn Delaney had shots just off target, while the Abbeyleix keeper pulled off a fine save from Fionn.
The let off was temporary however as Brandon McCarthy stepped up with two tunderbolts from outside the box to complete his hat trick and put the home side well in control before the break.
For the second week in a row Brandon has being a tower of strength in midfield , his work rate and shooting very impressive.
The second half started slowly , the first real action coming ten minutes in when Calum flicked on to his strike partner Fionn , who saw his clever effort clip the crossbar. Again the let off was temporary, as Andrew delivered another fine ball into the box and Benedict Fordjour met it with a first time volley to score his third goal since joining the team in December, a great addition to the team.
The final score of the game came with ten minutes left, Andrew again involved with a fine ball down the right wing.
The lively John Ging latched on to it , continuing down the line before delivering a fine cross to the back post where Fionn gladly slotted home his second of the game.
Portlaoise introduced Aidan Keane, Cian Bartley Bray and Usman Tarig to their defence , and along with some fine work by Matthew Walsh saw the game out with a clean sheet.
Overall a pleasing result for Portlaoise, achieved by playing some nice football combined with hard work. Credit to Abbeyleix, they kept their composure and played right to the end, with their keeper Adam O'Carroll pulling off some fine saves and the goal line headed clearance by Comor Cillins one of the highlights of the game. Referee Sid Comerford also had a fine game, communicating well with the players in the process.
Lastly thanks to the parents once again, as per normal a vital and positive support to the lads.