Moorefield edge Portlaoise to advance to Leinster Senior Club Football Championship semi-finals
MOOREFIELD 1-9 PORTLAOISE 0-11
NIALL Hurley Lynch couldn't have chosen a better time to nail his first score of the day in O'Moore Park this afternoon.
As this nerve-jangling contest ticked into its 64th minute, the Moorefield forward cut in from the left wing to angle over a priceless match-winning point against 14-man Portlaoise.
The Laois champions still had one last chance to force extra-time but Paul Cahillane's testing 14-metre free, from a tight angle, veered narrowly wide of the near post.
That left Portlaoise bereft and a jubilant Moorefield heading for an AIB Leinster club semi-final date in Aughrim, against Rathnew, the surprise conquerors of holders St Vincent's.
While Hurley Lynch took the late plaudits, there was no doubting Moorefield's Man of the Match. Eanna O'Connor, son of Jack, clipped five points in a lively first half and then delivered the equalising 55th minute goal that reignited the Kildare champions.
An enterprising first-half saw the lead oscillate forward on back, initially in Portlaoise's favour, then Moorefield's, before the hosts finished with a late three-point salvo to establish a 0-9 to 0-7 interval lead.
Portlaoise only managed two points in the second half – via Cahillane and a Scott Lawless free – but those scores pushed them three ahead.
And they looked poised to hold on … until a second yellow card for veteran Portlaoise sub, Craig Rogers, after 53 minutes. Whether this caused the late momentum shift is open to question but, when Portlaoise coughed up possession in defence, the resultant move culminated in O'Connor taking the ball at pace and then squeezing an angled, left-footed shot beyond Graham Brody.
SCORERS - Moorefield: E O'Connor 1-5 (2f), A Masterson, E Heavey, C O'Connor, N Hurley Lynch 0-1 each. Portlaoise: S Lawless 0-3 (1f), G Brody (2 '45s), P Cahillane 0-2 each, D Holland, B McCormack, C Boyle, B Mulligan 0-1 each.
PORTLAOISE: G Brody; C Finn, F Flanagan, D Holland; B Mulligan, K Lillis, D Seale; C Boyle, C McEvoy; G Dillon, B Carroll, B Smyth; S Lawless, B McCormack, P Cahillane. Subs: C Rogers for Smyth (inj 23), P Downey for Mulligan (51), Smith for Lawless (55).
MOOREFIELD: T Kinsella; L Callaghan, L Healy, S Dempsey; S Healy, J Murray, M Dempsey; C O'Connor, A Masterson; K Murnaghan, E Heavey, R Sweeney; A Tyrrell, N Hurley Lynch, E O'Connor. Subs: I Meehan for S Dempsey (27), A Mullins for Tyrrell (inj 42), M Murray for Sweeney (46), M McDermott for Heavey (54).
REF: D Coldrick (Meath).