AIB Leinster Club Senior Football Championship semi-final
Portlaoise . . . . . . 5-12
Emmet Óg Killoe . . . 0-11
A brace of Paul Cahillane goals inside a devastating seventy seconds spell early in the concluding half ultimately condemned Emmet Óg Killoe to a horrible defeat in this disappointing AIB Leinster Club Senior Football Championship semi-final at O’Moore Park, Portlaoise.
First half goals executed by the skilful Craig Rogers and Brian McCormack gave seven times Leinster club kingpins Portlaoise an interval advantage of 2-6 to 0-7.
The concession of the goals were hammer blows for Killoe to endure. Declan Rowley’s charges, among them captain Michael Quinn who starred with Ireland the previous evening in Croke Park, began impressively, surging 0-3 to 0-1 in front after five minutes with clinical scores dispatched by Sean McCormack and Daniel Mimnagh (2).
Killoe’s rearguard was twice carved open ruthlessly, thereby undoing their positive start and leaving them 0-3 to 2-2 adrift with ten minutes elapsed.
Credit to Killoe, they kept plugging away and Mark Hughes forced Portlaoise ‘keeper Graham Brody into producing a smart 11th minute save. A goal at that stage would have helped their cause significantly.
With their defence creaking and reeling from the concession of two sickening goals, Rowley deployed Joe McCormack, who started at midfield, as an extra defender and Paddy Thompson, who started at top of the left, switched to midfield leaving McCormack and Hughes as a two-pronged inside attacking line.
Roared on by their vocal and enthusiastic supporters, Killoe raced out of the traps for the concluding half and great points by McCormack and Hughes reduced the deficit to a very manageable three points, 0-9 to 2-6.
The momentum of these rapid-fire scores was unfortunately immediately wiped out as Portlaoise full forward Cahillane slammed home two goals and with only four minutes of the second moiety played, it was 4-6 to 0-9 and game over as a meaningful contest.
Killoe did manage the next two scores, a pair of converted McCormack frees, 0-11 to 4-6, however, they failed to add to their tally as Portlaoise sealed the deal racking up an unanswered 1-6 before the final whistle. Portlaoise sub Ciaran McEvoy, with his first touch, clipped in their fifth goal in the 53rd minute, 0-11 to 5-11.
Things got worse for Killoe a minute later as they were reduced to fourteen men with midfielder Simon Kiernan picking up a second yellow card.
Portlaoise’s Craig Rogers received a 56th minute black card and as if the day couldn’t get any gloomier for Killoe, McCormack’s strike for goal from the free flew wide.
The Portlaoise full forward line of Cahillane, Rogers and Brian McCormack contributed a massive 4-11 between them, 4-5 of this from play, and this illustrates the extent of the torturous headaches Killoe’s defenders endured.
McCormack was forced to depart the fray injured on the cusp of full time and Portlaoise manager Malachy McNulty will no doubt be hoping he makes a full recovery ahead of Sunday week’s final in O’Connor Park, Tullamore where his side will face Ballyboden St Enda’s bidding to win their 8th provincial title and a first since 2009.
PORTLAOISE: Graham Brody; David Seale, Cahir Healy, John Delaney; Eoghan Whelan, Kieran Lillis (capt.), Brian Mulligan (0-1); Conor Boyle, Dean Cullen; Gareth Dillon, Brian Smith, Conor Dunphy; Brian McCormack (1-2), Paul Cahillane (2-6, 0-4 frees), Craig Rogers (1-3, 0-2 frees).
Subs.: Richard Maher for C Dunphy (45 mins), Ciaran McEvoy (1-0) for D Cullen (53 mins), Kevin Fitzpatrick for B Smith (55 mins), David Holland for C Rogers (black card) (56 mins), Colin Finn for B McCormack inj. (60 mins).
EMMET ÓG KILLOE: Cillian Burns; Liam Hughes, Padraig McCormack, Daniel Keogh; Shane Dowd, Michael Quinn (capt.), Cian Farrelly; Joe McCormack, Simon Kiernan; Denis McGoldrick (0-2, 0-1 free), Daniel Mimnagh (0-2), Paddy Kiernan (0-1); Mark Hughes (0-1), Sean McCormack (0-5, 0-3 frees), Paddy Thompson.
Subs.: Ronan McGoldrick for P Thompson (half-time), Larry Moran for D McGoldrick (43 mins), Eugene Clarke for P Kiernan (43 mins), Shane Clarke for L Hughes (53 mins), Ronan Keogh for S Dowd (58 mins).
REFEREE: Niall Ward, Westmeath.