St Joseph’s 1-11
By Denis J. Croke
IF he had any nerves, St Joseph’s substitute Colin Campion did not show them as he calmly converted a 65th minute free to deny Portlaoise victory in O’Moore Park on Saturday evening.
St Joseph’s had seen a three point 51st minute lead turned into a one point deficit by the 55th minute. As the game drifted well into time added on, the Kellyville lads mounted one last despairing attack and won a free 25 metres out under the stand. Having substitutes free takers Dan Dunne and James Kelly, Campion was called up and slotted the equaliser to send the Saints’ supporters into raptures.
For much of the opening half it was tit for tat. Adam Campion and Paul Cahillane swapped early points, as did Michael Keogh and Craig Rogers. This trend continued up to the mid-point of the half, Dan Dunne converting three excellent frees for St Joseph’s, Rogers and Cahillane doing likewise from frees and Chris Finn from play to leave the sides level 17 minutes in.
Over the next five minutes Portlaoise took the initiative through the efforts of Brian McCormack. First he pointed despite being bundled over in the process. Daniel Nelligan’s kick out flew straight to Bruno and he split the posts again. Then when Cahillane’s jinking run ended with his shot coming back off the upright, Bruno was on hand to pop over.
St Joseph’s needed to react positively and they did with two free coming from James Doyle and James Kelly to leave the Kellyville outfit trailing by just a point at the break, 0-8 to 0-7.
The Saints maintained the momentum on the restart. Three minutes in Adam Campion went on a storming run before passing to Dylan Doyle. His rasping shot was saved but the in-running Danny Hickey found the back of the net.
By the 38th minutes the sides were level once again, Cahillane replying with a brace, one a free, the other an excellent effort from play.
The sides were tending to negate each other at this stage but suddenly St Joseph’s found another gear. Dan Dunne landed a fantastic free from 45 metres out under the stand with 46 minutes gone. Two minutes later Jason Campion put two between the sides and when Dylan Doyle added another in the 51st minutes, Portlaoise’s winning streak looked in serious trouble.
Bt the Town are not nine-in-a-row champions for nothing. They hit back with a goal in the 53rd minute, albeit a tad fortunate. James Doyle lost control of the ball as he carried it out of defence and it fell to McCormack. He went on a defence splitting run, passed to Brian Glynn who picked out Rogers and he calmly finished under the keeper.
When Cahillane converted a free two minutes later the Town were back in the driving seat. They could have wrapped up the game when Rogers delivered a peach of a ball over e top of the defence to McCormack who was denied by a brilliant Nelligan save.
The Town were now happy to play ball but were punished when St Joseph’s won that free allowing Colin Campion to landed the equaliser with 65 minutes on the clock.
Now they must do it all again on Friday evening.
PORTLAOISE: Graham Brody; Chris Finn (0-1), Paul Cotter, David Seale; Brian Mulligan, Kieran Lillis, Gareth Dillon; Stuart Nerney, Conor Boyle; Brian Glynn, Brian Smyth, Conor Dunphy; Craig Rogers (1-2, 0-1f), Paul Cahillane (0-5, 0-3f), Brian McCormack (0-3).
Subs: Scott Lawless for Dunphy (48m), Ricky Maher for Glynn (60m)
ST JOSEPH’S: Daniel Nelligan; Liam Kealy, Tom Dunne, Cian Maher; Ian Donnelly, James Kelly (0-1f), Donal Ramsbottom; Adam Campion (0-1), Kevin Campion; Danny Hickey (1-0), Jason Campion (0-1), Dan Dunne (0-4f); James Doyle (0-1f), Matthew Campion, Michael Keogh (0-1).
Subs: Dylan Doyle (0-1) for Keogh (29m, inj), Keogh for Hickey (46m), Colin Campion (0-1f) for Dunne (57m), Murtagh Condron for Kelly (61m)
Referee: John Flynn (The Rock)