Portlaoise complete historic drive for five

PORTLAOISE won a historic fifth Laois SFC title in a row yesterday with a clinical second-half display against Graiguecullen.

Leading by just a point after a tight opening half, Portlaoise then asserted their dominance on proceedings.

“It is fantastic, there has been a lot of build up over the five in a row but we never thought of it,” said Portlaoise’s joint manager Mark Kavanagh.

“We took it one game at a time but there was a bit more pressure. It’ll probably be tomorrow before we realise what an achievement it is.”

Zach Tuohy, home from Australia for a few weeks before jetting back out with the Ireland International Rules squad, got the opening score of the game as Portlaoise opened up a 0-4 to 0-1 lead.

Portlaoise’s wastefulness, including a saved Paul Cahillane penalty, allowed Graiguecullen to chip away at their lead, and by half-time just one point separated the teams, 0-4 to 0-3.

But they were ruthless in the second half and outscored the Carlow border side 0-5 to 0-1 in the opening 10 minutes and all but confirmed victory as captain Craig Rogers rounded off a wonderful team move with an emphatic finish with eight minutes left.

Graiguecullen managed a late goal in response, but it was too little too late.

Scorers for Portlaoise: P Cahillane 0-5 (1f), C Rogers 1-0, B Fitzgerald, Z Tuohy 0-2 each, B Glynn, C Parkinson, K Fitzpatrick 0-1 each.

Scorers for Graiguecullen: M Hand 1-1, C Hurley, I Fleming (45), B Brennan (f), D Hayden, A Doran 0-1 each.

PORTLAOISE: M Nolan; C Healy, K Fitzpatrick, B Mulligan; C Boyle, K Lillis, T Fitzgerald; A Kelly, H Coghlan; B Glynn, C Rogers, Z Tuohy; C Parkinson, B Fitzgerald, P Cahillane.

Subs: M McNulty for T Fitzgerald (53), S Nerney for Kelly (53), I Fitzgerald for Rogers (56).

GRAIGUECULLEN: P Scully; T Haughney, R Alcock, S Alsybury; I Fleming, M Timmons, C Hurley; M Hand, B Maguire; J Bolton, B Brennan, S O’Neill; L Murphy, D Hayden, A Doran.

Subs: K Smith for Alcock (24), D Alsybury for Bolton (38), C Doran for Hayden (47), M Doogue for Timmons (inj. 53).

Referee: D Murphy (Portarlington).

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