Portlaoise 2-16 O’Dempsey’s 1-13
Portlaoise were crowned Laois senior football champions for a 34th time - and 11th time in 12 years - following their latest county final win over O’Dempsey’s in O’Moore Park.
A goal in each half from man of the match Ricky Maher were key scores as Portlaoise made their overall superiority count against an O’Dempsey’s side making their first final appearance since 1983.
O’Dempsey’s led 0-3 to 0-2 after ten minutes and could have had a goal when Matthew Finlay got in behind the defence following a great pass from Mark Barry. But Portlaoise keeper Graham Brody pulled off a brilliant save and boosted by that let off, Portlaoise then hit 1-5 in quick succession, the goal coming in the 18th minute from Ricky Maher following a mix-up in the O’Dempsey’s defence.
O’Dempsey’s responded well and full-forward Dan McCormack got a goal back after a great team move. Still, Portlaoise settled and hit the last two points of the half to lead 1-10 to 1-7 at the break.
Portlaoise made their big move early in the second half - with Maher getting in for his second goal in the 39th minute. At one stage they stretched ten points clear and while O’Dempsey’s fought bravely, the result was never in doubt and Portlaoise held on.
Portlaoise: G Brody (0-1, f); Colin Finn, D Seale, G Saunders; Chris Finn, C Healy, D Holland; C McEvoy, K Lillis (0-1); G Dillon (0-1), C Boyle (0-3), B Carroll; R Maher (2-2, 0-1f), P Cahillane (0-5, 3f), C Rogers (0-2, 1f). Subs: S Lawless (0-1) for McEvoy (38), F Flanagan for Colin Finn (47), C Dunphy for Carroll (50)
O'Dempsey's: P Bannon; C O'Hora, S Nerney, T Kehoe; R Kehoe, P O'Leary, T Kelly; R Bracken, C Meredith (0-1); Matthew Finlay (0-5, 3f), B Kelly (0-2), M Barry (0-3, 2f); Micheál Finlay (0-2), D McCormack (1-0), B Nugent. Subs: J Kelly for Nugent (42), S O'Leary for Barry (59)
Referee: M Deegan (Stradbally)