Maynooth University Town FC 2
Portlaoise AFC 1
PORTLAOISE AFC first team suffered a setback in their promotion hunt on Friday night when they were beaten away to Maynooth University Town FC.
Maynooth started brighter and dominated possession for the first 18 minutes but never really troubled Mateusz Cwienk.
Portlaoise however settled into the game and had three shots blocked in quick succession, Jason Murphy with two efforts and Colm Poole, but Maynooth defended well.
On 24 minutes the visitors took the lead. Cwienk played a short kick out to Jason Caffrey and he delivered a delightful pass over two defenders’ heads and Jason Murphy produced a sublime piece of skill before being taken down inside the penalty area. The referee waved play on but Colm Coss got to the ball and was taken down. This time the penalty was awarded and Murphy dispatched the spot kick for his 12th goal of the season.
Maynooth went close on 28 minutes when David Travers’ long range effort was pushed away by Cwienk and Eoghan White brilliantly blocked Eoin McDermott’s follow up shot.
Portlaoise went close on 33 minutes but Murphy headed wide from and excellent Poole corner kick and Murphy had a great chance on 40 minutes to put his side further ahead but David Sterio did well to keep out his effort.
On 43 minutes Maynooth were level. Portlaoise lost possession three times in quick succession and Travers played a great pass to Cillian Duffy to fire past Cwienk.
Portlaoise went close again just after the break when a long throw was headed goal-ward by Coss but Sterio produced a brilliant save. Murphy almost had a second from a counter attack but his effort was blocked, then Mullaney’s long range volley was blocked.
However, Portlaoise were made to pay for not taking their chances when a free kick on 58 minutes came off the head of a defender and flew past Cwienk to give Maynooth the lead and ultimately the winner.
Portlaoise threw everything at Maynooth and Coss went close twice, while at the other end McDermott volleyed over after an excellent Maynooth counter attack and time ran out for Portlaoise.
Portlaoise host Beggsboro AFC for the first time on Friday night with a 7.45pm kick off in Rossleighan Park.
Over the past week Portlaoise played two friendlies. They played Wexford FC in IT Carlow on Monday and lost 3-1 with Jody Dillon scoring. They also played Galway United on Sunday in University of Limerick, Galway winning 2-0 with late goals.
PORTLAOISE: Mateusz Cwienk, Mark Dunne, Eoghan White, James Dermody, Oisin Fitzpatrick, Emmanuel Okpara, Colm Poole, Jason Caffrey, Colm Coss, James Mullaney, Jason Murphy.
Subs: Jody Dillon for Okpara (50m), Brian Ging for Poole (60m), Aaron Rafter for Mullaney (73m), Danny Molloy for Dunne (83m), Evan McEvoy, Joe Walshe.