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Mountmellick march to league glory with emphatic win
Sport

Mountmellick march to league glory with emphatic win

Portlaoise no match for champs as Mountmellick earn promotion to Senior Division

Portlaoise AFC 0 Mountmellick Utd 4

CCFL Division 1

Mountmellick United are the 2024 CCFL Division 1 champions after a dominant 4-0 away win to Portlaoise.

It was a surprisingly one-sided affair, with goals from Conor Comiskey, Colm Coss, Mark Grennan and Eoin George giving Mountmellick the league-clinching victory.

The stakes could not have been higher in Rossleighan Park as both sides desperately needed all three points.

Mountmellick needed to win to guarantee the league title, as dropping points would have handed the advantage to Clonaslee. With Monksland beating Birr last night, Portlaoise knew they needed to win to avoid relegation. But they never looked like causing Mountmellick problems as Tony Smith’s side cruised to victory.

Colm Coss almost gave Mountmellick the lead in the ninth minute when Shane O’Connell retrieved a corner and put the ball back into the danger area, but Portlaoise goalkeeper, Jack Pedro made an unbelievable reflex save. The visitors took the lead after 15 minutes when Coss played a tremendous ball, splitting the Portlaoise defence. Conor Comiskey ran in behind and shot across the goal, picking out the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

It was 2-0 moments later when Finn Culliton and Mark Grennan combined down the left wing, setting up Coss, whose shot from 20 yards sailed past Pedro into the bottom corner. Grennan almost added to the lead midway through the half when he cut back inside and got the shot away, but Pedro again made a phenomenal save.

Portlaoise improved after the water break and began to stretch Mountmellick down the wide channels, with Elson Simao and Ben Doyle looking sharp. But the visitors looked the more likely to score next, with Culliton and Comiskey both going close. Gary Dowling thought he’d scored, but Ashraf Hossain made an incredible block on the line.

Mountmellick did go 3-0 up just before the break, however, when Grennan was brought down inside the box.He took the responsibility himself and fired his spot kick into the net to give Mountmellick a commanding three-nil half-time lead.

They went hunting for a fourth straight after half time, with Portlaoise pinned back for the opening ten minutes. Mountmellick introduced Chris Lee for the remaining 35 minutes to run at the tiring Portlaoise defence, and he was almost in for a goal just moments after coming on.

The incredible heat in Portlaoise led to a pedestrian spell midway through the half as the sides began to feel the effects of the weather. Portlaoise knew they needed four goals to escape relegation, but they were unable to cause Mountmellick any problems at the back.

The visitors made it 4-0 after the water break when the substitutes combined to create a great goal. Lee weaved his way past two defenders and whipped the ball across the face of goal where Eoin George tucked it away unmarked at the back post.

Mountmellick closed the game out with captain, Shane O’Connell lifting the trophy.

The result means Mountmellick United and Clonaslee United are promoted to the CCFL Senior Division, while Portlaoise are relegated to Division 2 alongside bottom team, Stradbally Town.

SCORERS – Mountmellick Utd: Conor Comiskey, Colm Coss, Mark Grennan (pen), Eoin George.

PORTLAOISE AFC: Jack Pedro; Ronan Corr, Gavin Comerford, Ashraf Hossain, Evan Hewitt; Ben Dwyer, Jake Comerford, Diarmuid Brosnan; Elson Simao, Kristians Arkins, Ben Doyle. Subs: Cian Bartley Bray, and Kacper Horoszko for Arkins and Brosnan (both 72).

MOUNTMELLICK UTD: Eoin Keogh; Eoghan O’Riordan, John Watchorne, Shane O’Connell, Gary Dowling; Owen Thomas, Luke O’Connor; Finn Culliton, Colm Coss, Conor Comiskey; Mark Grennan. Subs: Chris Lee for Grennan (54), Eoin George for Comiskey (66), Robbie Hibbitts, Colin Murphy and Daniel Ryan for Coss, O’Connor, Culliton (all 72).

REFEREE: Martin Buckley.