Portarlington GAA Club

Founded 1893

Co. Laois

Three Is The Magic Number - Port Champions Again.

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Portarlington 2-13 O'Dempseys 0-8

Much of the pre match chatter for the last two weeks was of the 4 kilometre distance between McCann Park and The Old Pound, but yesterday the distance between the two teams was more in the order of about 40 kilometres.

Anybody that had been expecting the close, cagey affair that they saw in the earlier stages of the championship couldn't have anticipated the gulf in class between the two teams in O'Moore Park on a wet and windy pitch that was far from ideal for a county final.

Both teams came into the game with changes in personnel, opting for experience in the shape of David Murphy for Port and Conor Meredith for O'Dempseys.

Port were first on the board after 5 mins when Colm Murphy pointed, only to have it countered by an excellent Conor Meredith point a minute later.

The game remained nip and tuck up until the 20th minute before Port put on the afterburners and kicked 9 points unanswered, 3 from the boot of man of the match Adam Ryan, Jake Foster, a '45 from Scott Osborne, David Murphy and a peach from Ronan Coffey on for Stephen O'Neill who was sidelined with a broken collar bone.

O'Dempseys were shell shocked going into the dressing room for half time and facing a 10 point deficit with the score on the board 0-12 to 0-02.

Port were now firmly in the driving seat.

The start of the second half saw no break in the weather conditions and with the wind behind them, O'Dempseys only added 2 points to their tally before Port struck for a ruthlessly executed goal from Rioghan Murphy in the 38th minute.

A move that started in the middle of the field with some lovely distribution from Adam Ryan, eventually found Murphy steaming through the middle of the O'Dempseys defence to bury the ball in the back of the net past Nolan and put Port 11 points to the good.

Port rattled the O'Dempsey's net again in the 48th minute, when Colm Murphy struck to take his personal tally up to 1-04 after another well worked move that again involved man of the match Adam Ryan, Rioghan Murphy and Paddy O'Sullivan.

The 55th minute of the game gave O'Dempseys an opportunity to close the gap when referee Des Cooney awarded a penalty. Mark Barry struck a good kick from the spot, but was ultimately thwarted by an excellent full stretch save from Scott Osborne & there was now no doubt about the result.

Despite putting 2 more points on the board, time had run out for the Old Pound men, and the whistle was blown in the 61st minute to signal an achievement that has not been seen in Port for 100 years, three senior titles in a row.

The team from 1922 featured names such as Murphy, Ward, Finlay, Doyle, Shortall, Roycroft, Dunne, Cribbin, Costello and O'Shea, names that still reverberate around the town today.

Little did they know at a time of civil war and uncertainty for the future of the country, that 100 years later the club and the town that they represented would repeat their great achievement with their descendants still representing the club on the field, and supporting their club from the stands of O'Moore Park.

They would surely be proud, as are we of our history makers in 2022.

Port Abú.

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