Arles Killeen 1-8
By Denis J. Croke
ARLES Killeen’s massed defence may have caused Portlaoise a few problems, but the reigning champions have the experience to remain unruffled and be patient, and it worked. Tine and time again they would hold onto possession and when the gap appeared they struck.
In some ways the two sides played a similar game in getting men behind the ball, but there was one huge difference. When Arles Killeen moved forward from defence they were cumbersome. They played too many lateral passes allowing Portlaoise the opportunity to get back and defend in numbers.
In contrast, when Portlaoise moved the ball out of defence they did so at pace. A couple of short passes would be followed by a quick ball forward as the players streamed forward in numbers.
One man to benefit on the night was Conor Boyle who always held back. While the Arles Killeen defenders crowded the inside forwards, Boyle was lurking behind and inevitably was picked out and as a result scored three great points.
At the other end Donie Kingston was left isolated and looked mighty frustrated by the end.
On paper it looks like Portlaoise could not really shake off Killeen, but the truth is, as is the norm, they just did enough to win without over exerting themselves.
Portlaoise ran into an early lead thanks to points from Gareth Dillon, Brian McCormack and Boyle.
Killeen hit back through Conor Keightley and Jason Enright but Craig Rogers’ free made it a three point game after 11 minutes. However, the lads from Maganey were in confident mood and took the lead by the 17th minute as Brendan O’Shea landed two points and Sean O’Shea another.
Paul Cahillane levelled affairs a minute later and then struck for the game’s first goal in the 21st minute, and what a goal it was. Brian Smith made a great run up the left wing before delivering a perfect pass to Cahillane. He turned his marker and sent a pin-point shot across the goalmouth into the bottom corner.
He was to add two further points before the break while Killeen’s only response was an Enright free which left the Town leading 1-7 to 0-6.
The second half was fairly indifferent as, in truth, Portlaoise were merely going through the motions because Arles Killeen offered very little in the way of a serious threat, despite getting an early goal.
Brian McCormack had extended Portlaoise’s lead with a good point before Kingston struck for Killeen’s goal. Keightley dropped the ball into the Portlaoise goalmouth from out on the terrace side. Donie was lurking and time his run to perfection to rise above Graham Brody and fist the ball to the net.
Suddenly just two points separated the sides and the new half was only six minutes old.
Boyle’s second and third points sandwiched a point from Scott Lawless who was only on the pitch about 30 seconds.
Keightley and Sean O’Shea closed the gap to a goal but Portlaoise finished strongly with points from Rogers, McCormack and Brian Glynn and the quest for the perfect ten is still on track.
PORTLAOISE: Graham Brody; David Seale, Kieran Lillis, John Delaney; Paul Cotter, Chris Finn, Gareth Dillon (0-1); Conor Boyle (0-3), Brian Glynn (0-1); Ricky Maher, Brian Smith, Conor Dunphy; Craig Rogers (0-2, 0-1f), Brian McCormack (0-3), Paul Cahillane (1-3, 0-1f).
Subs: Stuart Nerney for Maher (h/t), Scott Lawless (0-1) for Dunphy (41m)
ARLES KILLEEN: Michael Leigh; Niall O’Rourke, James Mahon, Joe Mulhare; Cathal Moran O’Brien, Shane Julian, John Mahon; Donie Kingston (1-0), Jason Enright (0-2f); Sean O’Shea (0-2), Dermot Julian, Conor Keightley (0-2); Brendan O’Shea (0-2), Enda O’Rourke, Brian Kennedy.
Subs: Shane Byrne for Kingston (62m)
Referee: Eddie Kinsella (Courtwood)