A FINAL NIALL IN THE COFFIN
With the scoring rate having dropped considerably after halftime as the game became fractured and niggly, that advantage appeared to be considerable.
But Portlaoise’s Craig Rogers was sent off with seven minutes to go and Moorefield soon equalised through an Eanna O’connor goal. In the fourth minute of injury time, Niall Hurleylynch kicked the winning point for the
The sense of missed opportunity would have been compounded for Portlaoise when they learned after the game that holders St Vincent’s had been shocked by Rathnew, who Moorefield went on to beat before taking the provincial title with an even more dramatic smash and grab raid against St Loman’s in the final.
“On one level, you’re looking at the team that beat you going on to win it so you take a bit of incentive from that to drive on for the next year because you know that you were within a point possibly yourselves of going all the way,” reflects Portlaoise manager Malachy Mcnulty (above).
“But obviously it’s balanced with extra disappointment because you know you’ve come so close to get so far and you’ve to go back to the drawing board and start all over again.
“The manner of the loss was very frustrating. Three points up on the home run with five minutes to go and they nabbed a goal and a point and the rest is history. They ran out winners.
“We’re looking, a year on, for ways to bridge that gap and not let that happen again,” he adds, as the two meet once again at the same stage in Newbridge tomorrow.
Portlaoise have just won their 11th Laois SFC in 12 years but the fact that they’ve only one provincial title to show for their efforts in that period is naturally a source of frustration.
Having won the senior ‘A’ (second tier) hurling title in Laois, Portlaoise are competing in the Leinster Intermediate Hurling Championship and, remarkably, former county star Cahir Healy (inset), one of three dual players, is commuting from his London base for both teams.
“It’s massive credit to the man,” Mcnulty acknowledges. “It shows a huge amount of pride that he has in his club.”
AFL star Zach Tuohy, currently on the books of Geelong, has turned out for Portlaoise at stages over the years when home, as he is at the moment, but it won’t be happening now.
“He’s in rehab from a little procedure so he’s definitely not a factor for us. He’d be off the radar,” Mcnulty added.