Last-gasp Lawlor pegs back Portlaoise in see-saw thriller
Portlaoise 0-15 Emo 2-9
Portlaoise and Emo will have to meet again after a remarkable decider finished in a draw at O'Moore Park yesterday.
Two second-half goals from Mick Lawlor gave Emo hope of pulling off the biggest shock in Laois SFC history, but Portlaoise managed to fight back.
Portlaoise had won their semi-final by blitzing Arles-Killeen in the opening 15 minutes, and Emo clearly had no intention of being caught out in a similar fashion.
They defended deep and frustrated Portlaoise early on, with the result being that there was just one score in the opening ten minutes, a Paul Cahillane free for the reigning champions.
Emo finally got on the scoreboard in the 13th minute when Paul Lawlor curled over a free, and he repeated the trick moments later to give them the lead.
The Portlaoise response was impressive, as they rattled off four points in a row.
Lawlor again pointed a free for Emo, but Brian Mulligan and Craig Rogers quickly hit back for Portlaoise as they started to open up a lead.
Lawlor's fourth free kept Emo in touch, and a further exchange of points left Emo trailing 0-8 to 0-5 at the interval.
Portlaoise don't usually get much trouble from there on out in these games, but Emo turned the game on its head after that.
Mick Lawlor, the oldest man on the field at 42, scored two goals in two minutes to put Emo ahead.
Two points soon followed and they were now five ahead.
Portlaoise aren't champions for the last eight years for nothing though, and they went on a remarkable run of six points in a row, the last from Brian Glynn to give them the lead in injury-time.
There was still time for drama though, as Paul Lawlor pointed a free with the last kick of the game to send it to a replay.
PORTLAOISE - G Brody; K Lillis, J Delaney, C Finn; D Seale, B Mulligan, C Healy; P Cotter, C Boyle; G Dillon, C Rogers, C Dunphy; B McCormack, P Cahillane, B Smith. Reps: R Maher for Dunphy (39), E Whelan for Mulligan (41), Z Tuohy for Cotter (47), B Glynn for Finn (55)
EMO - P Kirwan; S Murphy, S Carney, P Dunne; D Strong, N Wheeler, R Ryan; E Costello, M Carney; D Gorman, N Murphy, B Gorman; G Brophy, M Lawlor, P Lawlor. Reps: F Crowley for D Gorman (50), C Lawlor for B Gorman (55)
SCORERS - Portlaoise: P Cahillane 0-3 (2f, '45'), Z Tuohy, B McCormack, C Rogers 0-2 each, B Smith, G Dillon, C Boyle, K Lillis, B Mulligan, B Glynn 0-1 each. Emo: M Lawlor 2-0, P Lawlor 0-6fs, E Costello 0-2fs, N Murphy 0-1.
Ref - D Moore (St Joseph's)