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Leinster SFC round-up: Portlaoise edge Rhode

St Columba’s too good for Eire Og, Rathnew strike at the death to give Newtown the blues

Portlaoise’s Scott Lawless is tackled during his side’s Leinster SFC win over Rhode. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Portlaoise 1-10 Rhode 0-10

Portlaoise had to stage a ferocious second half rearguard action before claiming their Leinster SFC quarter-final place at Bord na Mona O’Connor Park.

Ahead by 1-9 to 0-6 seven minutes into the second half, the Laois champions looked to be coasting home but were forced onto the back foot by Rhode..

Playing with great spirit, the Offaly champions drove forward relentlessly and four unanswered points had them back to within two points, 0-10 to 1-9, with seven minutes left.

It looked like they might get there but they ran out of steam in the closing stages and a point from Gareth Dillon six minutes into injury time was the game’s final score . Rhode’s Brian Darby had been red carded four minutes earlier for an off the ball incident.

It was an excellent game of football, played with real intensity and Portlaoise were the better side in the first half, with the veteran Brian McCormack pulling the strings. Ciaran McEvoy got the all important goal in the 23rd minute.

Portlaoise were full value for their 1-8 to 0-6 half time lead and ultimately, they won because they were much more clinical in front of goal.

Portlaoise: M Nolan; D Holland, D Seale, C Finn; B Mulligan, K Lillis, F Flanagan; A Kelly, C McEvoy (1-0); G Dillon (0-3), C Boyle (0-1), B Carroll; P Cahillane (0-3, 3f), B McCormack (0-3), S Lawless. Subs: B Smyth for Lawless (17m), S Smyth for Kelly (41m), C Rogers for Carroll (52m), P Downey for Mulligan (57m).

Rhode: K Garry; D Kavanagh, S Sullivan, J McPadden; J Kavanagh, B Darby, N Darby (0-2, 2f); A McNamee (0-1), C McNamee; A Sullivan,P Sullivan, S Hannon; P McPadden (0-1, f), N McNamee (0-5, 2f), R McNamee. Subs: D Garry for P McPadden (37m), C Heavey (0-1) for D Kavanagh (40m).

Referee: B Tiernan (Dublin).

Mullinalaghta St Columba’s 1-14 Eire Og 1-07

Longford champions St. Columba’s advanced to the Leinster Club quarter-final after a seven point win over Carlow side Eire Og.

The Mullinalaghta side held a seven point lead at the break but were made to work hard in the second half. A goal from Darragh O’Brien in the fourth minute of second half stoppage time cut the gap to just three points, but Columba’s replied with a point from Jayson Matthews before Gary Rogers sealed the win with a goal.

Eire Og ended the game with 14 men after Mark Fitzgerald was sent off for a second yellow.

The damage was done in the first half as the McGivney brothers, James and David, combined to put their side six points up inside the opening 11 minutes. Eire Og didn’t get their first score until the 30th minute; a free from O’Brien.

Eire Og were a better side in the second half with Derek Hayden blasting his shot off the crossbar in the 34th minute. They eventually cut the gap to three in stoppage time but Mullinalaghta were able to pull away in the end.

St. Columba’s: P Rogers; S Cadam, P Fox, F Mulligan; C Brady, S Mulligan, D McElligott; R McElligott, J Keegan; D McGivney (0-5,5f), J McGivney (0-4), G Rogers (1-0); J Matthews (0-2,1f), R Brady (0-3), C McElligott. Subs: A McElligott for R McElligott (45)

Eire Og: R Moore; F O’Toole, M Fitzgerald, B Kavanagh; J Lowry, P McElligott, R Dunphy (0-1); S Gannon (0-2), K Chatten; C Mullins (0-1), J Morrissey, E Ruth; D Hayden, M Furey, D O’Brien (1-2,1f). Subs: C Blake (0-1) for Morrissey (45), E Kelly for Lowry (55), N Quinlan for Dunphy and M Ware for Rea (60+2mins)

Referee: S Mulhare (Laois)

Rathnew 2-6 Newtown Blues 0-9

Wicklow legend James Stafford earned Rathnew a date with the winners of Monday’s Dublin SFC decider with a dramatic late goal in Drogheda.

Newtown Blues appeared to have done enough as they hung on to a two-point lead in the third minute of injury-time, but veteran midfielder Stafford snatched a last-gasp victory when he rose to punch a miss-kick from Theo Smith past Jason Lowney.

Rathnew’s first goalscorer, Mark Doyle, added a free in the fifth minute of added time to put the seal on the win, but having kicked just two points from play in almost 80 minutes, Willie Murphy’s men would appear to have a bit to find to trouble St Vincent’s or Ballymun Kickhams.

In a tetchy affair, a row broke out before David Hickey even threw the ball in and both sides were lucky to keep 15 men on the pitch when a second flashpoint saw players and substitutes engage in an ugly melee.

Hickey kept his red cards in his pocket and when the game eventually settled down it was the Blues who started to take a grip on the contest.

Seven first-half wides would come back to haunt the Louth champs, but with Ross Nally continuing his county final form, they went into the break with a 0-4 to 0-1 lead.

Rathnew made the perfect start to the second period when Satfford and Jody Merrigan combined to set up Doyle for a well-worked goal, but Robbie Carr and John Kermode edged the Blues back in fornt.

But with Stafford starting to dominate, Rathnew kicked the next four points without reply to take the lead for the first time.

But the hosts then stormed back and a brace from Nally, and another point from Robbie Carr restored their lead.

As normal-time elapsed, Nally converted added another free to put two between the sides, but Rathnew didn’t throw in the towel and were rewarded with Stafford’s dramatic winner.

Rathnew: P Dignam; P Merrigan, D Power, J Snell; W Kavanagh, R O’Brien (0-1), E Glynn; J Stafford (1-0), T Smith; E Doyle (0-1f), L Glynn, G Merrigan; N Mernagh, M Doyle (1-2, 2f), J Merrigan (0-2, 1 ‘45’). Subs: J Manley for E Glynn (45), S Byrne for J Merrigan (59).

Newtown Blues: J Lowney; R Levins, F Donohoe, P Moore; K Carr, C Reynolds, E Carolan; A McDonnell, J Kermode (0-1); D Kierans, C Judge, R Carr (0-1); C Downey, R Nally (0-7, 4f), C Moore. Subs: C Branigan for Kierans (39), J Murray for Levins (41), H McGin for Downey (46), K Lynch for McDonnell (48), T Costello for J Kermode (72, black card).

Referee: D Hickey (Carlow)