Camross are the 2020 Laois JHC ‘B’ champions after pricing too strong for Portlaoise in their delayed final at O’Moore Park on Sunday.
Camross had wind advantage for the first half and they certainly made the most of it, hitting the from with a little over a minute gone thanks to a point from corner-forward Cillian Tiernan. Niall Bennett, his colleague in the other corner-forward position, added another moments later before Robert Delaney got their third, as they picked off scores at their ease.
Portlaoise just couldn’t get a handle on things in attack and were finding Camross hard to contain in defence, with two more points quickly following for the eventual winners. Dan Delaney lofted over a free and Niall Bennett got his second, this one a fine score from the left wing, to push the gap out to five.
That quickly became eight when a poor Portlaoise puckout fell to Cillian Tiernan 25 yards from goal, and he galloped forward before drilling a shot to the bottom corner.
Dan Delaney then added another free before Niall Bennett got Camross’ second goal with another clinical finish, with the final outcome appearing in little doubt even before we reached the first water break.
Portlaoise were not short of effort but they just couldn’t fashion enough scores, although Tom Mulligan opened their account in the 15th minute with a free. Gavin Skehan then saw a couple of goal chances just miss the target before he finally did raise a green flag late in the half, his precise shot from 20 yards giving Niall Cuddy no chance.
However, Camross hit back through Tiernan and Bennett to lead 2-13 to 1-4 at half-time.
The second half followed much the same pattern as the first, although Portlaoise were a bit more competitive this time, with Tommy Mulligan (frees) and Aidan Nealon chipping in with points. However, Camross were responding in kind at the other end, before then pouncing for their third goal.
It was Cillian Tiernan who got it, speeding his way through the heart of the Portlaoise defence and shipping a heavy tackle before composing himself and finding the back of the net. That left the score 3-17 to 1-8 at the second water break.
It was plain sailing from there to the end for the winners, as they closed out the game to seal a deserving win.
Scorers: Cillian Tiernan 2-2, Dan Delaney 0-8 (0-7 frees), Niall Bennett 1-3, Robert Delaney 0-3, Sean Higgins 0-2, Brendan O'Sullivan 0-1, Patrick Phelan 0-1.
Team: Niall Cuddy; Alan Bergin, Oliver Conroy, Thomas Palmer; Damien Ryan, Patrick Burke, Mark Conroy; Dan Delaney, Daniel Moore; James O'Keeffe, Brendan O'Sullivan, Sean Higgins; Niall Bennett, Robert Delaney, Cillian Tiernan. Subs: Gavin Delaney for Higgins (32 mins), Dean Dowling for O'Sullivan (34 mins), Patrick Phelan for O'Keeffe (34 mins), Michael Buckley for Cuddy (46 mins), Jack Moore for Bergin (50 mins), David Bredin for Palmer (50 mins), Patrick Ryan, Jack Cuddy, Shane Scully, Darragh Ward.
Scorers: Tommy Mulligan 0-5 (frees), Gavin Skehan 1-0, Aidan Nealon 0-2, Matthew Dempsey 0-1, Jamie Dooley 0-1, Brian Mulligan 0-1 (65).
Team: John Óg Hannify; James Grennan, Dennis Kavanagh, Jamie Hickey; Jamie Dooley, Diarmuid Lalor, Brian Devanney; Craig Scully, Matthew Dempsey; Eoin Rochford, Brian Mulligan, Aidan Nealon; Gary Whelan, Tom Mulligan, Gavin Skehan. Subs: Oisín Ryan for Grennan (13 mins), Bernard Walsh for Hickey (half time), Jamie Hickey for B Mulligan (39 mins), James Shalloe for Hanniffy (46 mins), Mark Mulligan for Dempsey (49 mins), Gary Deegan for Whelan (49 mins), Colm Nealon for Skehan (50 mins), Aaron Lynott, Stephen Keegan, Dylan O'Reilly, Jason Butler.
REFEREE: George Boyhan (Clough-Ballacolla)
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