Arles Killeen 1-13
By Kevin Regan
A PERSONAL tally of 1-7 from star man Donie Kingston sent Arles Killeen on their way to an opening round victory over Portarlington at O’Moore Park on Bank Holiday Monday.
Joe Higgins’ charges got off to a great start in this tie and led by 1-3 to no score after just six minutes, with Kingston sending a bullet past Brian McAuley in the Portarlington goal.
It appeared that the writing was on the wall at this stage, however, Portarlington settled in to the game, slowly but surely, with points from Jason Moore and free taker Jake Foster.
The sides then went score for score as the game edged towards half time with Jason Enright and Kingston trading points with Evan Lyons and Foster. That Lyons effort could easily have been a goal had it not skied over and instead Arles Killeen led by 1-5 to 0-5 at the break.
The tonic that Portarlington badly needed arrived straight after the interval. A loose ball broke across the Arles Killeen danger area and Jonathon Fullam was on hand to strike it first time off the surface and past Mick Leigh to level the game.
From the kick out Robert Piggott gathered and put his side ahead for the first time, and within a minute Kevin McGrath also found the target and Arles Killeen appeared to be in bother.
However, the eventual winners didn’t panic and three points from Kingston and another fine effort from Sean O’Shea had them back in front at a time where Evan Lyons pointed for a second time in response.
Killeen were 1-9 to 1-8 in front entering the last quarter and it was at the beginning of this period where Portarlington will be kicking themselves for losing the game.
Firstly Mick Leigh denied what looked to be a certain goal and within a minute Pat O’Sullivan’s effort at a point came back off the upright and trickled along the goal line but nobody was there to poke the ball home.
Instead Arles Killeen pushed on with the next four scores, with veteran Brian ‘Beano’ McDonald coming on to pop over a point, with Jake Foster’s effort from play proving slim consolation for a disappointed Portarlington side.
Both sides now face tricky assignments in the next round with Killeen up against Portlaoise, while Portarlington must regroup for a crunch clash with Graiguecullen.
ARLES KILLEEN: Mick Leigh; Niall O’Rourke, Joe Mulhare, Brian Kennedy; John Mahon, Shane Julian, Cathal Moran O’Brien; Enda O’Rourke, Jason Enright (0-2f); Shane Byrne (0-1), Sean O’Shea (0-2), Conor Keightley; Donie Brennan, Donie Kingston (1-7, 0-3f), Dermot Julian.
Sub: Brian McDonald (0-1) for Byrne (51m)
PORTARLINGTON: Brian McAuley; Evan Lyons (0-2), Keith Bracken, Cathal Ryan; Diarmuid Bennett, Sean Byrne, Robert Pigott (0-1); Pat O’Sullivan, Stuart Mulpeter; Jason Moore (0-1), Steven Lyons, Graham Weldon; Jake Foster (0-4,3f), Kevin McGrath (0-1), Jonathon Fullam (1-0).
Subs: Stephen O’Neill for Weldon (28m, black card), Eoin McCann for Fullam (57m)
REFEREE: Eamonn Strong (Emo)