AIB Leinster Senior Club Football Championship Quarter-Final
Moorefield (Kildare) 1-11 Portlaoise (Laois) 1-14
By Kevin Dillon
Portlaoise advanced to a Leinster semi-final with a win over defending Leinster champions Moorefield at St. Conleth’s Park on Sunday.
On a rainy day in Newbridge, it was the visitors who started the brighter, with points from Paul Cahillane and Craig Rogers giving Portlaoise an early two point lead.
Eddie Heavey got Moorefield off the mark with a point after five minutes, but frees from Cahillane and Rogers again kept the tie in Portlaoise’s favour.
The defending Kildare and Leinster champions had a goal chance soon after, when former Lilywhite stalwart Ronan Sweeney broke away from the Portlaoise cover, but his shot was saved by current Laois goalkeeper and All-Star nominee Graham Brody, and Niall Hurley Lynch put the rebound over the bar to cut the deficit to two.
Minutes later, Portlaoise extended their lead with a goal from Craig Rogers, pouncing on a poor punch from Moorefield goalkeeper Tom Corley inside his own square. Adam Tyrrell kept Moorefield intact with a free, but this was cancelled out with three points without reply from Rogers, Kieran Lillis and Ricky Maher for Portlaoise.
Tyrrell and Cahillane both managed frees before half-time, as Portlaoise were seven points clear at the interval, 1-08 to 0-04.
The home side started the second-half stronger with a point from Sweeney, and a goal from Niall Hurley Lynch after a handling error from Brody in the Portlaoise goal reducing the gap to three, 1-08 to 1-05.
Portlaoise kept on going though, and another three unanswered points from Cahillane and Brian McCormack kept them in the driving seat.
But points from Sweeney, Heavey and Eanna O’Connor brought Moorefield right back into it once again, Cahillane and O’Connor both on target to set up a grand finale, Portlaoise leading 1-13 to 1-10.
Portlaoise had a late goal chance when a shot from sub Scott Lawless was saved by Moorefield’s sub goalkeeper Ian McDonnell, and Gareth Dillon knocked the rebound over the bar to push the lead out to four.
Moorefield got back within three with another point from O’Connor in stoppage time, but the Portlaoise defence held firm in stoppage time to see the game out.
Graham Brody, Frank Flanagan, David Seale, Chris Finn, Colin Finn, Cahir Healy, David Holland, Ciaran McEvoy, Conor Boyle, Craig Rogers (1-02, 0-01 f), Kieran Lillis (0-01), Gareth Dillon (0-01), Paul Cahillane (0-07, 0-03 f), Brian McCormack (0-02), Ricky Maher (0-01).
SUBS – Brian Glynn for C Rogers (44 mins), Scott Lawless for R Maher (49 mins)
Thomas Corley, Liam Callaghan, Liam Healy, Mark Dempsey, Kevin Murnaghan, Anthony Durney, James Murray, Daryl Flynn, Aaron Masterson, Cian O’Connor, Eddie Heavey (0-02), Eanna O’Connor (0-04, 0-01 f), Adam Tyrrell (0-02, 0-02 f), Ronan Sweeney (0-02), Niall Hurley Lynch (1-01).
SUBS – Ian Meehan for D Flynn (30 mins), Ian McDonnell for T Corley (Half-time), Sean Healy for K Murnaghan (37 mins), Jason Phillips for C O’Connor (57 mins), Mark McDermott for E Heavey (58 mins), Aaron Mullins for N Hurley Lynch (61 mins)
Referee- Barry Tiernan (Dublin)