Portlaoise collected three valuable points with a hard fought but deserved victory over North Dublin side Skerries Town on Wednesday night. Games between the sides have being competitive over the years, going right back to the ninety’s, and Wednesday’s game was no exception. Both sides were full of confidence going into the game, Portlaoise recent good run taking them to third in the table, while Skerries were just behind in fourth.
Weather conditions were perfect on the night, cold but calm, and with the playing surface in excellent condition both sides attempted to play good ground football. The first half however saw very few chances created, with end to end play but the defences were dominant for both sides.
The second half saw Portlaoise come out more determined, knowing a home win was needed, and within five minutes they got their reward. The impressive Jimmy Dermody made a dashing run down the left wing, beat a defender and squared from the end line to the in-rushing Jason Murphy, and the inform marksman made no mistake from six yards. Skerries came roaring back at this stage, and started to test the home side with some neat play. Both sides created some half chances during the next twenty minutes, but the game turned in the home teams favour as a result of two pieces of indiscipline in the Skerries team. Firstly on eighty minutes the Skerries ‘s centre forward got in a tangle with Portlaoise defender Mark Dunne , in the process head-butting him and getting himself a straight red card. Things got worse for them twelve minutes later when their left full threw the ball at Portlaoise Jason Murphy, and as he was already on a yellow he followed his team mate to an early shower. These incidents ruined whatever chances Skerries had of a comeback, and Portlaoise duly took advantage to wrap the game up with two late goals. The first of these came on 85 minutes, where a short corner involving Poole and Cahillane ended with the keeper fumbling the ball to the unmarked Mullaney who fired home from close range. On 89 minutes the game was wrapped up when Dermody again was the provider, crossing to set up Jody Dillon for a looping header that left the keeper stranded.
Overall a fine win for Portlaoise, and although not at their best they will still be happy with the win that puts them into second spot and opens a gap on Skerries. After a sluggish start to the season they are now right back in the hunt for at least a promotion slot, and if they get a few more wins before the break they will have an exciting few months ahead in the New Year.