Portlaoise AFC U/13’s continued on their winning ways with an emphatic 8-0 victory over Kinnegad Juniors at Lagan Park, Kinnegad on Saturday.
The performance from Portlaoise was very impressive, just a week before their important SFAI quarter-final game against Dublin lynchpins, Belvedere at Rosleighan Park.
Right from the off Portlaoise were up for it and after only 5 minutes a perfect cross from Luke O’Connor was headed just over the bar from close range by Brian Smith. 3 minutes later, Brian Smith showed an excellent burst of speed and got through the Kinnegad defence only for the Kinnegad goalie to make an excellent save, but the rebound fell to the ever vigilant Dylan White, who made it 1-0 with an excellent strike.
Portlaoise were now putting the Kinnegad defence under severe pressure and with 12 minutes gone won a free just outside the Kinnegad penalty area. Aaron Doran hit the ball across the penalty area and Colin Conroy was on hand to strike the ball to the net. Kinnegad made some forays into the Portlaoise half mainly through their big centre forward, but he was dealt with by an outstanding defence of Josh Hogan, Conal Rowney, Aaron Brennan and Michael Culliton. Behind the solid defence, Conor Graham was on top of his game and dealt with anything that came his way.
Jason Horan on the left wing and Luke Dunne-O’Connor on the right were causing the Kinnegad defence all sorts of trouble. While in the middle of the park, Colin Conroy and Aaron Doran were dominating. Portlaoise made it 3-0 after 17 minutes, when some beautiful play between Colin Conroy, Aaron Doran, and Luke O’Connor, resulted in Dylan White getting his second goal. With 21 minutes gone, Colin Conroy received the ball in midfield and beat two Kinnegad defenders, before passing to Brian Smith, who crossed for Dylan White to head to the Kinnegad net for goal number four and score an excellent hat-trick for the very busy Dylan. Colin Conroy after some good work from Michael Culliton passed the ball out to the left wing to Jason Horan, who turned inside and delivered a lovely shot to the right of the Kinnegad goalie, giving him no chance and making the scoreline 5-0. Tiernan Cahill was introduced and his strong running on the right wing was a threat to the Kinnegad rearguard. Kyle Enright replaced Culliton and linked well with the midfield in front of him. Then just on the stroke of half-time, Aaron Doran showed some great skill in midfield and made a perfect pass to Brian Smith, who laid it off to Luke Dunne-O’Connor who finished perfectly to the Kinnegad net.
Jamie preston and Samuel Emmanuel were introduced at half time and both had almost immediate impacts. With only four minutes gone in the second half, Portlaoise made it 7-0 when Jamie Preston guided a beautiful pass into the path of Colin Conroy down the right wing. Colin turned inside and beat the Kinnegad defender and shot under the advancing goalie. Shortly afterwards Samuel Emmanuel did some good work down the left hand side and passed into Aaron Doran who hit a wonderful shot from 20 yards to the top corner of the Kinnegad net to make it 8-0.
After 22 minutes Kyle Enright hit a fierce shot from 25 yards and the excellent Kinnegad goal tipped the ball over the bar. Portlaoise made positional changes but continued to dominate possession. They were patient with the ball throughout the second half and comfortably saw out the remainder of the game. The management and squad are now looking forward to their SFAI cup game next Saturday.