Portlaoise find that little bit extra to force their way past Longford Slashers

Laois champions recover from seven point deficit to to reach Leinster semi-final

 

Portlaoise 1-15 Longford Slashers 3-7 (after extra-time): Portlaoise were forced to dig deep in extra-time to take a two-point win over Longford Slashers at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park yesterday in testing weather conditions in a game that finished in near dusk.

Trailing by seven points in the 40th minute, a Brian McCormack goal kick-started Portlaoise’s revival, with a Paul Cahillane point forcing extra-time. The experience of the seven-in-a-row Laois champions ultimately came to the fore, as they ground out victory in extra-time, outscoring their opponents by three points to one during this spell.

Goals from Mark Smith, Martin Nevin and Niall Mulligan helped Longford Slashers to a 3-3 to 0-6 interval advantage, while Denis Connerton’s charges moved eight points clear inside four minutes of the restart, following Nevin and Peter Foy points.

The gap stood at seven points in the 40th minute following a Colin Smith score, but Slashers wouldn’t score again until the second period of extra-time, as Portlaoise firmly got on top.

A goal from Brian McCormack kick-started Portlaoise’s revival, as they registered an unanswered 1-4, including a Paul Cahillane point to force extra-time.

Scores were at a premium in extra-time, with Portlaoise strongest in front of the posts during the opening spell as points from substitute Adrian Kelly and top-scorer Craig Rogers ensured a 1-14 to 3-6 interval lead.

Colin Smith delivered Slashers’ lone score in extra-time in the 79th minute, and while a Kevin Fitzpatrick point ensured a two-point lead for Portlaoise in injury-time Slashers still had a chance.

However, a Mark Smith goal effort was cleared as referee David Gough blew for full-time.

Portlaoise’s Mick Lillis was happy with the character shown by his side to deliver this victory.

“Eight points down against a quality team, of course you are going to be worried,” he said.

“I always felt that if we got a couple of points we could chip away at it and stay in the game and that’s what we did. Ultimately we came good and full credit to the lads.”


PORTLAOISE: M Nolan (0-1, 45); M McNulty, P Cotter, B Mulligan; E Whelan, C Healy, T Fitzgerald; C Boyle (0-1), K Lillis; B Glynn, B McCormack (1-2), C Rogers (0-6, 0-2 frees); P Cahillane (0-2), G Dillon, B Smith. Subs: S Nerney for Dillon , D Seale for Whelan (both half-time), G Brody (0-1, 45) for Nolan (49 mins), K Fitzpatrick (0-1) for Smith (52 mins), A Kelly (0-1) for T Fitzgerald (55 mins), B Smith for Glynn (73 mins).
LONGFORD SLASHERS: C Farrell; D Glennon, B Gilleran, G Ghee; P Brady, D Brady, M Diffley; N Mulligan (1-2, 0-2 45s), D Sheridan; M Nevin (1-1), C Smith (0-2, 0-2 frees), T Clendenning; M Smith (1-1), P Foy (0-1), M Brady. Subs: P Dobson for Glennon (52 mins), A Dalton for Clendenning (55 mins), M Tarney for Sheridan (59 mins), T Clendenning for Dobson (66 mins).
Referee: David Gough (Meath).