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Eire Og reach first Leinster club football championship final in 21 years

They defeated 13-man Portlaoise in MW Hire O’Moore Park this evening.

Portlaoise's Benny Carroll with Eoghan Ruth and Mark Fitzgerald of Eire Og.
Portlaoise's Benny Carroll with Eoghan Ruth and Mark Fitzgerald of Eire Og.
Image: Tom O'Hanlon/INPHO

Eire Og 2-11

Portlaoise 1-6

Alan Hartnett reports from MW Hire O’Moore Park

EIRE OG are through to their first Leinster club football championship final in 21 years, after they defeated 13-man Portlaoise in MW Hire O’Moore Park this evening.

The Carlow club, who won five Leinster titles between 1992 and 1998, were full value for their eight-point win this evening.

Joe Murphy’s charges started both the first and the second halves extremely well and although Portlaoise battled back to go ahead at one stage in the first half, they could not repeat the trick in the second period.

Without sharpshooting forward Paul Cahillane through injury, Portlaoise looked toothless at times in their attack and they really struggled to break down an Eire Og team who were extremely well organised at the back.

An unfortunate slip from Portlaoise defender Gary Saunders saw the game’s first goal in the opening minute fall to Chris Blake, who smashed a shot off the inside of Graham Brody’s post.

Blake kicked another point and although Bruno McCormack replied for Portlaoise, Eire Og went 1-3 to 0-1 ahead by the midpoint of the half via Blake and Ross Dunphy.

But Portlaoise sparkled into life thereafter, with Bruno McCormack pulling the strings in the forward line to create a point for Benny Carroll and a goal for Kieran Lillis. The latter and Gareth Dillon gave Portlaoise the lead, but Eire Og were then awarded a penalty when Kieran Lillis committed a foul in the area, but Cormac Mullins saw his shot saved by Graham Brody to his left.

Colm Hulton levelled matters at 1-5 apiece on the stroke of half time and from there, Eire Og never looked back.

Eire Og got the first three points of the second half via Blake (2) and substitute Niall Quinlan, and although Bruno McCormack replied for Portlaoise after 39 minutes with a free, that would prove to be their only score of the second half.

They were reduced to 14 men after 53 minutes when Kieran Lillis was shown a second yellow and then finished with 13, when Conor Boyle was sent off in injury time.

Portlaoise pushed for goals, but Eire Og punished them with points and then right on the stroke of full time, they broke upfield where Ross Dunphy got on the end of a sweeping move to score their second goal.

From there, there would be no way back for Portlaoise, as Eire Og proceed to face either Garrycastle or Ballyboden-St Enda’s in two weeks’ time.

Scorers for Portlaoise: Kieran Lillis 1-1, Bruno McCormack 0-2 (1f), Benny Carroll, Gareth Dillon and Conor Boyle 0-1 each

Scorers for Eire Og: Chris Blake 1-4 (one free), Niall Quinlan 0-3 (3f), Ross Dunphy 1-1, Jordan Lowry, Colm Hulton and Darragh O’Brien 0-1 each

PORTLAOISE

16 Graham Brody

3 Frank Flanagan
2 David Seale
4 Gary Saunders

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5 Chris Finn
17 David Holland
7 Paddy Downey

8 Kieran Lillis
9 Ciaran McEvoy

10 Brian Glynn
11 Conor Boyle
12 Gareth Dillon

14 Benny Carroll
13 Bruno McCormack
15 Ricky Maher.

Subs:
18 Damon Larkin for Downey (ht)
21 Colin Finn for Holland (43)
19 Craig Rogers for Maher (46)
22 Ronan McEvoy for Flanagan (53)

EIRE OG

16 Ricky Keating

5 Jordan Lowry
3 Mark Fitzgerald
4 Brendan Kavanagh

30 Richie Mahon
6 Mark Furey
7 Paul McElligott

10 Sean Gannon
12 Eoghan Ruth

28 Ross Dunphy
11 Darragh O’Brien
15 Colm Hulton
8 Jordan Morrissey
13 Chris Blake
19 Cormac Mullins

Subs:
34 Niall Quinlan for Mullins (ht)
14 Derek Hayden for Hulton (51)
18 Reece Denieffe for O’Brien (60)
9 Kelvin Chatten for Mahon (66)

Referee: Patrick Maguire (Longford)

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About the author:

Alan Hartnett

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