St Vincent’s 3-11 Portlaoise 0-10
Club football kingpins St Vincent’s are loath to relinquish any of their titles judging by this performance, as they had too much firepower for their Portlaoise hosts.
Without being anywhere near their free-flowing best, they still carried a greater threat and will now play Garrycastle as they look to continue their provincial campaign en route, they hope, to retaining their All-Ireland crown.
Winning manager, Tommy Conroy said there was no sense of fatigue within the squad, despite the fact that they had been going non-stop for the past 18 months or so.
“When you’re winning it’s nice and I think it brings lads on” said Conroy. “It keeps the hunger when you’re winning.”
Shane Carthy was described afterwards by Ger Brennan as “one of the improved talents in the team” and if he was one of the more unsung figures in the past, he certainly thrust himself into the spotlight with a sparkling contribution that ultimately decided this contest in the third quarter.
Carthy finished with 2-2, with those goals in the third quarter putting an end to the locals’ resistance.
The visitors flew from the traps early and led by five points after five minutes. Diarmuid Connolly was being marked by Cahir Healy but the Laois man could not get to grips with his Dublin opponent at all early on.
Connolly was involved in all three opening scores, including a point for himself, and when he put Mossie Quinn through for the simplest of goals, it was 1-2 to 0-0.
Portlaoise were in serious trouble at this stage and Vincent’s wasted a couple of glorious opportunities to goal through over-elaboration.
Portlaoise brought their Aussie rules man Zach Tuohy further out though, while Craig Rogers also began drifting and the hosts gradually gained a foothold on proceedings. That had the dual effect of setting up more opportunities for the likes of the dangerous Paul Cahillane, while also stemming the flow in Connolly’s direction.
Cahillane scored three points and Tuohy hit an absolute peach after two dummy solos and at half-time Vincent’s led by just a point, 1-4 to 0-6.
They resumed in almost identical fashion to how they started however and a 33rd minute goal from the excellent Carthy settled them down once more.
The polished attacker bagged his second goal nine minutes later to extinguish the home team’s aspirations, finishing to an empty net after Mickey Nolan failed to get a strong enough fist to Connolly’s free.
It was plain sailing from there to the end, with Portlaoise never threatening even one of the goals they desperately needed to give themselves a chance.
Brennan was understandably pleased with the result, if not the performance.
“We feel very content to have come out with the victory,” said Brennan. “Portlaoise are one of the marquee teams in Leinster the last few years, so it’s a relief we got the victory.
“We were standing off the Portlaoise players and if you stand off players they’re going to do damage. They kept coming at us, they’re a very strong team.
“There was a feeling (at half time) we weren’t doing our best, we had a lot more in us. There was an air of disappointment but you have to transfer that into a performance and we did that.”
Scorers for St Vincent’s: S Carthy 2-2; T Quinn 1-3 (0-2fs); D Connolly (1f), R Treanor, Cormac Diamond 0-2 each.
Scorers for Portlaoise: P Cahillane 0-6(4fs); C Rogers 0-2(1f); Z Tuohy, B McCormack 0-1 each.
ST VINCENT’S: M Savage, K Bonnie, J Curley, H Gill, B Egan, G Brennan, M Conarr, E Fennell, D Murphy, G Burke, D Connolly, S Carthy, R Treanor, C Dorney, T Quinn.
Subs: Cameron Diamon for Murphy (43), Cormac Diamon for Dorney (47), T Diamond for Burke (55).
PORTLAOISE: M Nolan, P Cotter, B Mulligan, D Seale, E Whelan, C Healy, C Boyle, K Lillis, S Nerney, G Dillon, B McCormack, B Glynn, P Cahillane, Z Tuohy, C Rogers.
Subs: A Kelly for Nerney (35), E Feane for Boyle (35), M McNulty for Whelan (42), M Rogers for Lillis BC (49), G Brody for Dillon (55).
Referee: A Nolan (Wicklow).
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