Leinster club SFC: Portlaoise survive Slashers' exam aet

November 17, 2013

Craig Rogers Portlaoise
Portlaoise 1-15
Longford Slashers 3-7 aet

Portlaoise dug deep in extra-time, to advance to an AIB Leinster Club SFC semi-final against Moorefield, following a two-point win over Longford Slashers at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park.

In testing weather conditions, the former Leinster champions trailed by seven points in the 40th minute after a Colin Smith point, but Longford Slashers failed to add to their tally for the remainder of normal time.

A Brian McCormack goal two minutes later kick-started Portlaoise's revival, as they continued to peg off scores, including a Paul Cahillane point which forced extra-time.

Portlaoise were strongest in extra-time, as points from substitute Adrian Kelly and top-scorer Craig Rogers handed them a two-point interval lead.

As conditions became dusky scores and cramp also began to set in, scores were at a premium in the second period of extra-time.

Colin Smith claimed Slashers lone score in extra-time in the 79th minute, and while Kevin Fitzpatrick handed Portlaoise a two-point lead in injury-time Slashers still had a chance.

However, a Mark Smith goal effort was cleared out as referee David Gough subsequently signaled full-time.

Earlier, Portlaoise dominated possession in the first quarter and led by 0-3 to 0-1 after 12 minutes, with Craig Rogers firing two of their opening three points.

The seven-in-a-row Laois champions had most of the early chances, and could have added more to their tally, with Gareth Dillon denied a goal following a Colm Farrell save after three minutes.

Slashers scoring opportunities were limited during this spell, and it took them 10 and a half minutes to open their account thanks to a Mark Smith score.

A second Rogers point handed Portlaoise a two-point lead, but Portlaoise's goalmouth was breached for the first time in the 15th minute.

A high ball from Niall Mulligan was cleanly caught inside by Mark Smith, who slotted the ball past Michael Nolan to hand Slashers the lead for the first time.

A first pointed 45 of the game from Mulligan handed Slashers a 1-2 to 0-3 lead after 16 and a half minutes.

Portlaoise levelled thanks to a brace of Rogers points, but two goals for Slashers in the space of 40 seconds quickly handed the Longford outfit a six-point lead.

Martin Nevin broke through for Slashers second goal five minutes from the interval to push his side back in front.

Slashers regained possession from the kick-out, and Niall Mulligan pounced to slot the ball to the right of Michael Nolan and ensure a six-point cushion.

Mulligan and Nolan traded pointed 45's before the break, as Slashers held a 3-3 to 0-6 interval lead.

Slashers extended their advantage to eight points inside three and a half minutes of the restart, with Nevin and Peter Foy on target.

These scores were cancelled out following points from Brian McCormack and Conor Boyle, and although Colin Smith pushed Slashers seven points clear, as he became their fifth scorer, Slashers wouldn't score again until the second period of extra-time.

Portlaoise were more clinical in front of the posts during the remainder of normal time.

Brian Glynn set up McCormack for their only goal of this game in the 42nd minute to cut the gap to four points.

McCormack was in superb form as he quickly added a point, while scores from Rogers; substitute keeper Graham Brody and Cahillane leveled the tie in the 54th minute.

Both sides had chances to push ahead, particularly in injury-time, but were wasteful in front of the posts, as extra-time was required following a 3-6 to 1-12 score-line at the end of normal time.

Scores were hard to come by for both sides in extra-time, with Slashers kicking three wides inside four minutes of the opening period, as a point each from Adrian Kelly and Craig Rogers ensured a 1-14 to 3-6 interval lead.

Portlaoise were strong defensively on the restart, and with light continuing to fade they held out on the restart to book a semi-final date next weekend.

Scorers for Portlaoise: C Rogers (2f) 0-6; B McCormack 1-2; P Cahillane 0-2; C Boyle, M Nolan (1 45), G Brody (1 45), K Fitzpatrick, A Kelly 0-1 each.

Scorers for Longford Slashers: N Mulligan (2 45') 1-2; M Nevin, M Smith 1-1 each; C Smith (2f) 0-2; P Foy 0-1.

PORTLAOISE: M Nolan; M McNulty, P Cotter, B Mulligan; E Whelan, C Healy, T Fitzgerald; C Boyle, K Lillis; B Glynn, B McCormack, C Rogers; P Cahillane, G Dillon, B Smith. Subs: S Nerney for Dillon (HT); D Seale for Whelan (HT); G Brody for Nolan (49); K Fitzpatrick for Smith (52); A Kelly for T Fitzgerald (55); B Smith for Glynn (73).

LONGFORD SLASHERS: C Farrell; D Glennon, B Gilleran, G Ghee; P Brady, D Brady, M Diffley; N Mulligan, D Sheridan; M Nevin, C Smith, T Clendenning; M Smith, P Foy, M Brady. Subs: P Dobson for Glennon (52); A Dalton for Clendenning (55); M Tarney for Sheridan (59); T Glendenning for Dobson (66).

REFEREE: David Gough (Meath)

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