Ballymun Kickhams win Leinster Club Football Championship

Ballymun Kickhams win Leinster Club Football Championship

Ballymun Kickhams 0-11 Portlaoise 0-8

Ballymun Kickhams only scored two points in the closing 22 minutes, but it was enough as the North Dublin outfit claimed their first AIB Leinster Club SFC title at Cusack Park, Mullingar this afternoon.

Paul Curran's charges earned some early Christmas cheer in a high-intensity encounter dominated by missed opportunities by both sides, particularly Portlaoise in the second half.

The Laois side opened the scoring after two minutes with a point from play from Brian McCormack, but failed to score for another 28 minutes as Mick Lillis and Mark Kavanagh's charges failed to convert their scoring chances.

Portlaoise kicked six wides in the opening 22 minutes of the opening half, while their were also under strong pressure at the back with Michael Nolan forced to pull off a number of saves.

The Portlaoise custodian pulled off a superb foot save from Dean Rock in the ninth minute.

Ballymun kept up their pressure and were eventually awarded, taking the lead for the first time in the 16th minute following a second Rock point.

Kickham's wouldn't trail this game following Rock's score, with three further points from the place-kicker putting his side 0-5 to 0-1 ahead after 27 minutes.

Kevin Leahy pushed Kickhams five points clear with their first score from play after 29 minutes, after some excellent team-work.

Portlaoise were forced to dig deep for a score late in the half.

They claimed their first score in 28 minutes late on after some excellent work by defender Cahir Healy to send a fisted effort over Currie's cross-bar.

The Laois champions went in search of further scores late on, but referee David Gough called a halt to the first half 90 seconds into injury-time, despite Adrian Kelly being in a scorable position for Portlaoise.

Portlaoise reorganised their side on the restart, with veteran player Kevin Fitzpatrick coming in and midfielder Adrian Kelly taking his place on the substitutes bench.

The experience of the 34-year old certainly came to the fore in that second half, but ultimately Ballymun done just enough to take honours.

Defender Karl Connolly opened the second half scoring with a soccer style point inside the first 30 seconds, while two of the next three points came from Ballymun as they took a 0-9 to 0-3 lead in the 38th minute.

Portlaoise kept plugging away with McCormack, Cahillane and Barry Fitzgerald taking scores.

Just three points separated the sides with 14 minutes remaining, but Portlaoise certainly had the chances to cut the gap even further.

The eventual losers kicked four wides between the 46th and 51st minutes, before Ballymun eventually broke their personal scoring dead-lock with a second Jason Whelan score.

Defender Healy popped up for a trademark point for Portlaoise to cut the deficit once again, but despite four minutes of injury-time and the Laois side continuing to dominate possession they were unable to convert this to scores.

Rock and Fitzgerald swapped points late on, with referee David Gough blowing the full-time whistle four minutes into injury-time signalling wild celebrations.

Afterwards, Ballymun Kickhams captain Davy Byrne received the cup from Leinster GAA Chairman Martin Skelly.

Scorers for Ballymun Kickhams: B Rock (6f) 0-6; J Whelan (f) 0-2; T Furman, K Leahy, K Connolly 0-1 each.

Scorers for Portlaoise: B McCormack, B Fitzgerald (2f), C Healy 0-2 each; P Cahillane (1f), B Glynn 0-1 each.

BALLYMUN KICKHAMS: S Currie; Enda Dolan, P McMahon, Eoin Dolan; A Hubbard, K Connolly, J Burke; J McCarthy, Davy Byrne; E Reilly, K Leahy, J Whelan; T Furman, D Rock, S Forde. Subs: Derek Byrne for Forde (38); S George for Reilly (43); A O'Brien for Furman (60); J Small for Leahy (64).

PORTLAOISE: M Nolan; T Fitzgerald, B Mulligan, C Healy; P Cotter, K Lillis, C Boyle; A Kelly, H Coughlan; C Rogers, B Fitzgerald, B Glynn; P Cahillane, B McCormack, B Smith. Subs: K Fitzpatrick for Kelly (HT); B Gaynor for Mulligan (41); E Whelan for Smith (45); R Maher for Cahillane (60).

REFEREE: David Gough (Meath)

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