Glenealy bow out
Wicklow champions come up short against Portlaoise
PORTLAOISE GLENEALY 0-16 1-10
GLENEALY’S hopes of another memorable Leinster Intermediate Club Hurling Championship journey met with a fatal end in dire conditions in Joule Park Aughrim last Saturday afternoon.
A three-point defeat to Laois’ Intermediate kingpins Portlaoise scuppered any hopes of another magical run to a Leinster decider like last year and Garry Laffan’s men will have to look at errors, missed chances and a style of play that was found wanting against a physically powerful and capable Portlaoise side who seemed far more at ease with the conditions than their Wicklow opponents.
Glenealy trailed by 0-11 to 0-5 at the break but had the benefit of facing down towards the dressing rooms with the wind at their backs for the second period so were not overly concerned at the scoreline.
What might have concerned them was their failure to really trouble that Portlaoise defence in that opening half and their vulnerability against a side who were spraying the ball superbly and dragging fullback Danny Staunton out the field.
Such was the worry about the situation that Garry Laffan made a double substitution after 25 minutes, sending in Leighton Glynn for Matthew Traynor at midfield and Tommy Doyle for Joey Driver Jnr with Warren Kavanagh slipping back to full-back and Danny Staunton moving to centre back.
A bright start saw Paul O’Brien pick out Jonathan O’Neill Snr with a superb ball from out on the stand side and the veteran star split the posts at the Rednagh Hill end to get their Leinster campaign up and running.
A foul on Gavin Weir allowed ‘Bosco’ another chance and he duly obliged but Portlaoise found their feet on the slippery surface to quickly move level with the Wicklow champions thanks to points from Dean Lynch and Gary Bergin after eight minutes.
Glenealy’s starting 15 showed one change, that of Matthew Traynor in for Gary Hughes with Traynor going to midfield with ‘Bosco’. Paul O’Brien took up position at centre forward on the excellent Cahir Healy while Jamie Byrne slipped into the corner with Gavin Weir roaming out the field.
Things were starting to look slightly worrying for Glenealy as we approached the 10th minute. Portlaoise were proving adept at moving the ball well and were for the most part a big, physically strong team.
A shot from Alan Driver dropped short to Eoghan Nealon in the Portaloise goal and was cleared down the stand side.
The loose ball was gathered by Gary Byrne who cleared but only as far as a Portlaoise man who delivered a nice ball to corner-forward Cathal Duggan who fed Tommy Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald drove past Joey Driver Jnr and on to Danny Staunton who had no choice but to stop his run and referee Sean Stack, who incidentally took charge of the Leinster Intermediate club final last year between Glenealy and Ballyragget of Kilkenny, held his arms aloft to signal a penalty. Danny Staunton was furious and protested that the foul took place outside the square, but Stack was adamant.
Up stepped Cormac Rigney who fired in a shot only for it to be saved by the superb Cian Staunton on the Glenealy line. Danger averted, for now.
A wide from Robert Byrne after good work from Alan Driver was followed by a marvellous point from Cathal Duggan out on the sideline, stand side, to push Portlaoise in front before Gavin Weir pointed.
The move for the score had started when a Paul O’Brien high ball into the Portlaoise square was gathered confidently by corner-back Frank Flanagan and worked to Tommy Fitzgerald who galloped up the field almost unchecked.
A clever handpass from Jonathan O’Neill Jnr under pressure found Gavin Weir who rifled over an excellent point to level matters at 0-3 apiece and a ‘Bosco’ free returned the Reds to the front yet again.
However, Portlaoise moved up a gear for the next five minutes and opened up a 0-8 to 0-4 lead with points from Cian Taylor (2), Cahir Healy, Tommy Fitzgerald and a pointed free from Cormac Rigney as Glenealy struggled all over the field with Danny Staunton picking up a yellow card for a foul on Taylor.
Garry Laffan made his double substitution and things steadied momentarily, a super Robert Byrne point lifting the siege.
But the relief was to be shortlived. Poor stuff from Glenealy allowed Cian Taylor point after 27 minutes before Glenealy had two wides, one from a ‘Bosco’ free and the other from Robert Byrne. Portlaoise would finish the half strongly with points from Dean Lynch and Cormac Rigney with Cian Staunton also saving a shot off his line. Glenealy had a goal chance late in the first half as well, only for Alan Driver’s groundstroke to prove wayward.
Things were looking very bad for Gleenaly after 36 minutes when Portlaoise had opened up a 0-14 to 0-6 lead, Glenealy’s opening score of the second half coming from a ‘Bosco’ free after Eoghan Nealon had overcarried.
Gary Hughes had been introduced by Garry Laffan after 35 minutes in place of Paul O’Brien and they almost had a goal when Leighton Glynn cut in a magnificent sideline ball that came back off the Portlaoise post and was cleared up the field all the way to Cian Staunton who fed Leighton Glynn who was fouled but Danny Staunton would go wide with the free from distance.
It was 0-15 to 0-7 after 45 minutes, another ‘Bosco’ free adding to Glenealy’s insufficient tally as tensions started to rise with ‘Bosco’ and Warren Kavanagh both being shown yellow cards for dissent by Sean Stack.
Just before the 50th minute Portlaoise bagged their last score, a Rigney free, as Glenealy sent in Wayne O’Gorman and pushed him and Leighton Glynn up high in search of goals.
On the 50th minute Wayne O’Gorman appealed for a penalty after he was shoved to the ground in the square by Frank Flanagan, but Stack was having none of it and gave a free out instead for a foul by Alan Driver after the shove on O’Gorman.
Back came Glenealy in the muck and dirt of Joule Park Aughrim and a fantastic catch by Alan Driver allowed him the chance to feed the ball to Gavin Weir who was dragged to the ground in the square and a penalty was awarded.
Up stepped Danny Staunton and he drilled it home beautifully to the bottom corner of the Portlaoise goal.
Now it was all Glenealy as they threw the kitchen sink at the Portlaoise visitors.
Staunton went wide from a free and was then fouled by Colm Gleeson and ‘Bosco’ converted the free with five of normal to go.
A foul by Cahir Healy on Leighton Glynn offered ‘Bosco’ another chance and he obliged with a sweetly struck point before Danny Staunton cut out a Portlaoise attack and the ball was cleared to Gavin Weir who lofted over a beautiful point to close the gap to three points with normal time elapsed.
On came Glenealy. A ball from Jonathan O’Neill Jnr was driven in and returned with O’Neill Jnr collecting the cleared ball. He fed Robert Byrne who passed to ‘Bosco’ whose initial shot was blocked but his second effort was dropped into the square where Leighton Glynn picked it up off the ground and a free out was awarded.
Back came Garry Laffan’s men again. A high ball, bodies flung into the tangle, Gavin Weir hits the deck, ball passed out to Alan Driver who lets fly, shot blocked by the head of a Portlaoise man, penalty is the call from Sean Stack. A chance.
Danny Staunton has broken his hurl a little earlier so with a new hurl and dire conditions underfoot he lifts and strikes for the top corner but Nealon saves.
Portlaoise attack but Cian Staunton and Gary Byrne repel. There’s a throw ball. Gary Byrne wins a free. ‘Bosco’ drops it into the square, Portlaoise stand tall and clear and the final whistle sounds. Disaster for Glenealy.
Garry Laffan’s men were angry at the performance of Sean Stack for the second time in 12 months and while some decisions did go against the Wicklow champions there are plenty of other reasons to help explain this defeat as well.
Scorers – Portlaoise: Cormac Rigney 0-3 (2f, 1 65), Cian Taylor 0-3, Cathal Duggan 0-3, Dean Lynch 0-2, Gary Bergin 0-2, Tommy Fitzgerald 0-2, Cahir Healy 0-1.
Glenealy: Jonathan O’Neill Snr 0-7 (6f), Gavin Weir 0-2, Robert Byrne 0-1, Danny Staunton 1-0 (p).
Emmet Byrne of Glenealy is tracked by Cathal Duggan of Portlaoise during their Leinster Intermediate hurling championship match at Joule Park, Aughrim.
Jonathan O’Neill Snr wins this aerial tussle.
Glenealy’s Danny Staunton makes a clearance as Keith Murphy of Portlaoise closes in.