‘Blast from the Past’

‘Blast from the Past’

‘Blast from the Past’: 2009/10 Season

CCFL Division 4A
Portlaoise power past Ballyroan
Ballyroan rocked by Portlaoise goal burst

Portlaoise AFC ‘C’ 6 ( P. Lynch 16′, 32′, 52′, 67′ J. Griffin 32′, OG) Ballyroan 2 ( K. Burtenshaw 11′, J. Keegan 79′ )

Ironically it was Ballyroan that got off to the proverbial ‘flier’ and took a deserved early lead. Portlaoise, though, continued to haul in Ballyroan and had a comfortable lead at the break. The hosts then built on their advantage to run out convincing winners.

The visitors hit the ground running and had a slow-starting home side pinned back throughout the opening quarter. A needless foul on Domhnall Roche saw the resulting Ballyroan free pushed around the post by Portlaoise keeper Gary Scully. The visiting side kept up the pressure and soon came agonisingly close to taking a deserved lead. James Keegan took the ball up a full thirty yards from the Portlaoise goals and his thunderous strike smashed back into play; and eventual safety, off the Portlaoise crossbar. The host’s first sally forward should have resulted in their opening goal but Barry Treacy’s deft lay-off was driven wide with the goals gaping. Portlaoise’s passing game was slow to click into gear however and it was a misplaced pass that gifted Ballyoran their opener. A square ball across the Portlaoise midfield was gobbled up by Ballyroan. A rattled home side conceded a free in their self-induced panic. Kevin Burtenshaw stood over the resultant free some twenty-five yards to the right of the Portlaoise goals and sent his setpiece spinning into the far corner of Scully’s goals.

That stunning opening goal only succeeded in waking up a slumbering Portlaoise side. Chris Dent had his shot cleared off the Ballyroan line before striker Paul Lynch conjured a stunning strike to cancel out Burtenshaw’s opener. The home were now on the front foot and soon notched a second goal. Brave play from Richie Reid saw Portlaoise gain possession on the edge of the Ballyroan area and Reid’s unselfish lay-off saw Lynch finish with aplomb. Lynch’s clinical finishing had wiped out Ballyroan’s bright opening and Portlaoise’s increasing mastery in midfield and in the back four allowed Ballyroan little sight of goal up to the interval. Led by the imperious Mark Farrell at the back Portlaoise were beginning to snuff the life out of Ballyroan’s challenge in the run up to the interval.

Portlaoise’s super-bright second quarter was added to by a third goal just minutes after the restart.  A superb ball into the heart of the Ballyroan defense saw Lynch’s initial shot come back off the post and John Griffin was on hand to steer the rebound past Phelan.  Ballyroan’s reply saw a good cross from Roche feed Christopher Lalor but his shot was totally miscued. The visitors were made to rue that missed chance almost instantly as Portlaoise broke away on the counter. A cross from out wide across the face of the Ballyroan goals was controlled instantly by Lynch who tucked his shot away into the bottom left-hand corner for a well-deserved hat-trick.

Ballyroan were now well-held by Portlaoise in the midfield exchanges and a home rearguard led by Farrell ensured Ballyroan didn’t test Scully unduly. Portlaoise’s next goal saw a long ball force Ballyroan’s last defender into a miscued header back toward his own goals and Lynch; in an off-side position, pounced and fired home. The goal stood and that summed up Ballyroan’s day. The visiting side showed plenty of spirit however and got a deserved second goal late on. A marvellous Keegan free gave Scully no chance. The visiting side’s joy was short-lived however as an inswinging cross from the left flank forced Ballyroan to cough up an own goal. That misfortune summed up Ballyroan’s woeful luck throughout.

The victors were best-served by the marvellous Mark Farrell at the heart of their defence. He was assisted by Ger Campbell and Eddie Colbert in resisting Ballyroan’s best attacks. Robert Cody and John Griffin were prominent throughout in the winners’ midfield. Richie Reid, Barry Treacy and Richie Reid were very sharp upfront. Kevin Burtenshaw, Gary Ward and James Keegan were best for Ballyroan.

Portlaoise AFC: Gary Scully; Ger Campbell, Eddie Colbert, Mark Farrell, Michael O’ Sullivan; Robert Cody, Chris Dent, John Griffin, Richie Reid; Barry Treacy, Paul Lynch Subs Used: Thomas Byrne, Derek Keane, Barry Lawless, Joey Delaney, Trevor Marum

Ballyroan FC: Trevor Phelan; Sean Ramsbottom, Kevin Burtenshaw, Killian Fitzpatrick, Thomas Whelan; Gary Ward, Christy Lalor, Domhnall Roche, John Moran; James keegan, Paddy Lalor Subs Used: Greg Conroy, Jamie Whelan, Ben Mahon

Match Official: Noel Carty ( Offaly Branch )