Portlaoise Town U14’s were hoping to clinch the treble at home in the Lads versus Dads end of season winner takes all tie at Rossleighan. The dads took the game to their more illustrious hosts from the outset thanks in the main to a strong midfield of Mick Maestro Fitzpatrick, Pat Gaffer Horan and Silky Sylvia Gee.
Mick Dodger Dempsey opened the scoring with a scorcher, having been set up with an exquisite pass from the Gaffer Horan. Within minutes Shay Chopper Preston doubled the lead with a superb finish after some intricate midfield play between Silky Sylvia and the Maestro Fitzpatrick. At this point the banter from the Lads ceased, it was time to get stuck in.
Darragh Kelly found David Olubowale with a neat pass out of defence, he in turn drew the keeper to allow Brian Smith the easiest of finishes. The Dads made it three thanks to another sublime effort from Chopper Preston after excellent approach play from Tom Twinkle Toes Emmanuel. The Lads responded in style and leveled with two quick fire goals coming from Jason Horan and Daryl Ntumba.
Michael Culliton won a great tackle in midfield and released Tiernan Cahill down the right with a super diagonal ball, Cahill crossed for Smith to score the lead goal. The dads made a tactical change Ger Gloves Rowney went in goals as he was offering nothing outfield, thus allowing young Tiernan Hayes to move up front, while Paddy Chippy Cahill was introduced to a flagging midfield.
With Hugh Hassler Brennan moving to centre half the Dads defence became more resolute. The Lads were beginning to enjoy their tic tac toe thanks to the touches of Aaron Brennan, Kyle Enright, Luke Dunne O’Connor, Jamie Preston and Ben Dempsey. However it was the Dads with less of the ball who finished the half stronger scoring two excellent goals through Paddy Chippy Cahill. The assists came from Silky Sylvia and Dodger Dempsey.
The Dads lost Silky Sylvia at half time. Sylvia was quoted as saying “I am happy to give the team a dig out but I am not willing to do ALL the donkey work”.
Undeterred the dads knuckled down to the task at hand. Meanwhile Conall Rowney who was managing the boys endeavoured to co-ordinate his substitutions. There was an obvious contrast in styles for the second half. The Loys trying to speed things up with one touch play while the Dads introduced an incredible array of stalling tactics. With three minutes to play the sides were level at 8 goals each. The Lads goals coming from Tiernan Cahill twice, Samuel Emmanuel, Ben Dempsey and an excellent Luke Dunne O Connor effort where he waltzed around the floundering keeper and tapped home. The Dads goals came from Dodger Dempsey, Chippy Cahill and the Maestro Fitzpatrick.
It was then that the Gaffer Horan pulled a master stroke when he made a double substitution of Joe Jinkxy Culliton and Joe Crusher Cahill. The Lads threw everyone into attack to get the winner. The Dads defence were surviving on their wits. Just on time a long clearance from the Dads keeper hopped between Crusher Cahill and Lads keeper Brian Smith. The referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty due to an infringement on the striker.