Portlaoise CBS booked their place in the South Leinster senior football final last Friday after an extra time win over Colaiste Íosagáin in Portarlington.
SOUTH LEINSTER COLLEGES SFC ‘B’ SEMI-FINAL
Portlaoise CBS 1-13
Colaiste Iosagain 0-14 aet
In an exciting end to the game, Portlaoise scored two points in the last three minutes of normal time to snatch a draw, before edging ahead in extra time to seal a place in the final. It was a tough end to the game for Colaiste Iosagain, who battled back superbly from a four point half time deficit to take a deserved lead. They just couldn’t hold onto that lead though, and paid the ultimate price in extra time as the CBS had a little bit more in reserve when they needed it.
Ten of the starting 15 on the Colaiste Iosagain team hail from Offaly clubs while three Gracefield players came on as subs.
With a strong breeze at their backs in the first half, Portlaoise CBS were off the mark early when midfielder Robbie Dowling gained possession at the throw in. He sent a long ball into corner-forward Evin Keane, and he slotted the ball over the bar for the game’s opening score after just 15 seconds.
They didn’t build on it, however, as Colaiste Iosagain drew level five minutes later through Offaly U-21 panellist Richie Reynolds, although Dean Cullen soon hit back for Portlaoise. Reynolds was proving a thorn in the side of Portlaoise, and his free midway through the half kept the sides level at 0-2 each.
Wind a good wind advantage, Portlaoise really should have been pushing ahead, and the longer the half went on the less likely it looked. Both sides traded points once again before Portlaoise put a bit of distance between the teams when Mark Dunne slotted home a goal after good work by James Dunne. Evin Keane added a free soon after and the CBS had a four point advantage at the break, 1-4 to 0-3.
The second half was slow to get going, with both teams managing just one point each in the opening ten minutes of play. It didn’t stay that way much longer though, as Colaiste Íosagain rattled off three points in as many minutes to get back on level terms.
Dean Cullen hit back for Portlaoise to give them a brief respite, but Jason Ward’s free restore parity for Colaiste Iosagain. Substitute Jack Walsh then put them ahead with seven minutes left, and another effort from Ward gave them a two point cushion. It looked it would be enough, but two frees in the dying minutes from Evin Keane rescued a draw for the CBS.
The first period of extra time saw Portlaoise open up a one point lead, and they stretched it that bit further in the second period, as Evin Keane’s point in the final minute of the game finally settling an absorbing encounter.
SCORERS – Portlaoise CBS: Evin Keane 0-7 (0-3 frees), Dean Cullen 0-4 (0-2 frees), Mark Dunne 1-0, DJ O’Connell (free), Robbie Dowling 0-1 each; Colaiste Íosagáin: Richie Reynolds 0-7 (0-5 frees), Jamie Evans (0-1 free), Jason Ward (0-2 frees) 0-3 each, Jack Walsh 0-1
PORTLAOISE CBS: Joe Walshe (The Heath); Ciaran O’Brien (The Heath), Chris Lynch (Portlaoise), Eoin Phelan (Portlaoise); Ciaran Flynn (Portlaoise), James Dunne (Portlaoise), Joe Lacey (Stradbally); Ciaran McEvoy (Portlaoise), Robbie Dowling (The Heath); DJ O’Connell (Park-Ratheniska), Mark Dunne (Portlaoise), Conor Whelehan (Timahoe); Dean Cullen (Portlaoise), Daniel Delaney (Portlaoise), Evin Keane (The Heath). Subs: Conor Ryan (Portlaoise) for O’Connell (40 mins), Martin Norton (The Heath) for Dunne (87 mins), Jack Browne (Portlaoise) for Delaney (82 mins)
COLAISTE IOSAGAIN: Conor Sheedy (Gracefield); Dan Carthy (Walsh Island), Gary Fitzmaurice (Portarlington), Evan Galvin (Walsh Island); Anthony Cunningham (Bracknagh), Tomás Brereton (Walsh Island), Graham Weldon (Portarlington); Richie Reynolds (Raheen), Liam Guinan (Raheen); Nigel Murphy (Emo), Jamie Evans (Gracefield), Jason Ward (Portarlington); Jason Knight (Gracefield), Mark Garry (Raheen), Colin Hanlon (Gracefield). Subs: Jack Walsh (Gracefield) for Cunningham (24 mins – inj), Paddy O’Sullivan (Portarlington) for Hanlon (66 mins), Ryan Havill (Gracefield) for Ward (74 mins), Stephen Shields (O’Dempsey’s) for Galvin (74 mins), Gavin Smith (Gracefield) for Weldon (78 mins)
Referee: David Hickey (Graiguecullen)