Heavy favourites coming in the game, Ballacolla were made to battle all the way by a determined Portlaoise outfit, who themselves had to come to terms with a fourth final defeat in five years. They had started the better of the two teams with Noel Costelloe slotting over a free in the second minute, but a Mick Dunphy goal after nine minutes had Ballacolla into the lead. That goal separated the sides 1-6 to 0-6 at the break.
The second-half was a tight, niggly affair, with Portlaoise dominating possession but crucially, they couldn’t turn into scores, and Ballacolla held on for a two point win.
Scorers for Clough-Ballacolla: M Dunphy 1-1, W Hyland 0-3 (all frees), M McEvoy, D Bergin 0-2 each, T Delaney, W Dunphy 0-1 each.
Scorers for Portlaoise: N Costelloe 0-6 (0-5f), T Byrne, C Healy, E Costello, T Fitzgerald, B Fitzgerald 0-1 each.
PORTLAOISE: C Clear; C Healy, E Browne, B Smith; B Mulligan, H Coghlan, J Phelan; E Costello, K Murphy; T Byrne, N Costelloe, B Fitzgerald; C Taylor, T Fitzgerald, D O’Mahony.
Subs: S Norton for Taylor (ht), C Gleeson for Byrne (48, inj).
CLOUGH-BALLACOLLA: D Hanlon; JA Delaney, D Maher, J Doyle; T Delaney, B Duggan, C Coonan; M McEvoy, S Hanlon; T Delaney, S Maher, B McEvoy; W Dunphy, W Hyland, M Dunphy.
Subs: D Bergin for S Hanlon (18, inj), A Flaherty for B McEvoy (52).
Referee: M Cleere.