Portarlington come good in second half to fend off Stradbally

Ronan Coffey kicked the last three points of the game to get Port over the line

Brian Lowry

Reporter:

Brian Lowry

Email:

brian.lowry@leinsterexpress.ie

Portarlington come good in second  half to fend off Stradbally

Adam Ryan had an excellent game for Portarlington at wing back

They were pushed to the pin of their collar but Portarlington survived and ground out a hard fought win over Stradbally in the opening round of the Laois senior football championship earlier tonight.

Portarlington 1-12

Stardbally 0-12

A Jake Foster goal with the last kick of the first half proved the vital score as Port, who had played second fiddle for most of that opening half, grabbed the momentum off a Stradbally side who looked to be bringing in a decent half time cushion having played with the strong wind in the opening 30 minutes.

Stradbally led 0-8 to 0-4 before Foster found the net after the rebound from his saved penalty fell back into his path.

With the wind at their back in the second half, they were always likely to come strong in the second half but they were met with a stubborn resistance as Stradbally looked to hold on to that precious lead.

Ronan Coffey was the difference between the sides in the second half as he kicked five second half points including the last three of the game after the sides were level with 10 minutes to go.

The opening exchanges were even but the pick of the early scores from the outside of Stephen O'Neill's right foot that put Port 0-2 to 0-1 in front.

Garry Comerford nailed two superb frees for Stradbally before the score of the game landed from Jody Dillon who curled over a free, off the ground, from out near the sideline.

Tom Shiel and a mark from Darren Maher added to their tally and they led 0-7 to 0-4 with two minutes left to the break.

Shiel then grabbed his second to make up for his spurned goal chance minutes earlier and Stradbally looked to be heading for an 0-8 to 0-4 half time lead.

Then with the last action of the half, Killian McGannon pulled down Colm Murphy and Port had a penalty. Wayne Comerford saved the kick from Jake Foster but the rebound fell back to him and he hammered it to the net to make it 0-8 to 1-4 at the break.

Points were exchanged in the opening seven minutes of the second half but that one point margin still stood as Stradbally dug deep.

Garry Comerford put them two points in front on 40 minutes but Port rattled off the next three scores in the space of eight minutes to push them into a 1-9 to 0-11 lead with David Murphy with the pick of the scores.

Comerford drew Stradbally level and with 10 minutes to go, it was all square.

Portarlington had that bit extra in the tank through and three points from Ronan Coffey, two from play, pushed them over the line while Stradbally finished with 14 after Paul Begley picked up his second yellow card late on.

PORTARLINGTON

Scorers: Ronan Coffey 0-5 (0-3 frees), Jake Foster 1-2, Colm Murphy 0-2 (0-1 free), David Murphy, Adam Ryan and Stephen O'Neill 0-1 each.

Team: Scott Osbourne; Stuart Mulpeter, Cathal Ryan, Cathal Bennett; Adam Ryan, Robbie Piggott, Jason Moore; Keith Bracken, Eoin McCann; Colin Slevin, Stephen O'Neill, Ronan Coffey; Jake Foster, David Murphy, Colm Murphy. Subs: Sean Byrne for Colm Murphy inj (42m), Rioghan Murphy for Stephen O'Neill (44m).

STRADBALLY

Scorers: Garry Comerford 0-6 (0-5 frees), Jody Dillon 0-3 frees, Tom Shiel 0-2, Darren Maher 0-1 (mark).

Team: Wayne Comerford; Eoin Buggie, Eamon Delaney, Liam Knowles; Damien Murphy, Paul Begley, Garry Comerford; Colm Begley, Killian McGannon; Tom Shiel, Kieran Delaney, Conor Goode; Darragh Carolan, Darren Maher, Jody Dillon. Subs: Padraig Fitzpatrick for Damien Murphy (13m),Ciaran O'Neill for Kieran Delaney (49m), Jack Langton for Conor Goode (57m)

REFEREE: B Hickey

READ ALSO: Ballyfin open championship with derby win