A DOMINANT first 30 minutes was enough for Portlaoise to claim an Intermediate first round win over Barrowhouse in Timahoe on Friday night.Portlaoise held their opponents scoreless for the first 30 minutes of the game and went 15 points clear on the resumption of play, but amazingly would not score again.In fairness to John Larkin’s side, they did battle back with eight unanswered points in the second half but they will have to hope for better things in round two or they will be facing a relegation final for the second successive year. Portlaoise played with a strong breeze in the first half and they certainly made full use of it.While Paddy Downey came up from wing-back to get the game’s first point and Craig Rogers also landed a free, it was Laois minor panellist Jason Maher that did most of the damage in the opening half. He scored three of Portlaoise’s first five points and then lobbed keeper Darragh Phelan to put them 1-5 to no score up after 15 minutes.And Portlaoise only inflicted more damage as the half went on, Rogers adding two more points before Aaron Rafter also added two and Kevin Fitzpatrick one. Indeed Rafter’s second point could well have been a goal but he shot over the bar from close range. But at the break Portlaoise still held a 1-10 to no score advantage.Portlaoise got the first two points of the second half as well, from Liam McGovern and Ronan Molloy, but that was to be the end of their scoring. Eric Mackey got Barrowhouse off the mark and would go on to kick six points from there to the finish. Brian ‘Bugsy’ Malone and Joe Murphy got their other two points.But John Larkin’s men had left themselves far too steep a mountain to climb and they’ll now have to pick themselves up for their second chance in the losers section where they meet The Rock.Portlaoise will face a stiff test when they take on Emo who are looking to make an immediate return to the senior ranks.
PORTLAOISE: Michael Nolan; Darragh McAuley, Colin Finn, Fintan Walsh; Paddy Downey (0-1), Jack Browne, Oisin Fitzpatrick; Dean Cullen, Shane Smyth; Ronan Molloy (0-1), Craig Rogers (0-3,0-2f), Liam McGovern (0-1); Jason Maher (1-3), Kevin Fitzpatrick (0-1), Aaron Rafter (0-2). Subs: Aindle MacGearailt for Smyth, Dylan McCabe for Fitzpatrick, Craig Scully for Cullen, Pat Travers for Molloy
BARROWHOUSE: Darragh Phelan; Thomas McDonald, Thomas Page, Stevie Langton; Denis Brophy, Joe Murphy (0-1), Michael Langton; Mark Braithwaite, Luke Malone; Martin Murphy, Eric Mackey (0-6, 4f), Neal O’Shaughnessy; James Baldwin, Brian Malone (0-1), Andrew Baldwin. Subs: Pauric Whelan, Kieran Murphy, Aaron Mackey, James Brennan
REFEREE: Des Cooney (St Joseph’s)