Portlaoise are the Laois Senior football champions for the 35th time, this title their third on the hop, after just about edging a brave Killeshin side by the narrowest of margins in what was their final debut.
Portlaoise 0 - 14
Killeshin 2 - 7
Laois Shopping Centre Senior Football Championship Final
*Our county football final coverage is in association with The Baba's Barbershop
Portlaoise opened the defence of their title with the first score of the day going their way when Kieran Lillis floated over from range to set The Town off.
Unfazed by the occasion surrounding their first-ever final, Killeshin announced their arrival to the big stage in emphatic fashion.
With three minutes on the clock a lofted ball into the Portlaoise square was met with uncertainty. Laois senior star Eoin Lowry was on hand snap up the breaking ball before squeezing through only for his shot to come back off the post. Veteran full-forward Cathal Brennan was there to crash home the rebound, and send Killeshin into a precarious lead.
It didn't take Portlaoise long to reply, Conor Boyle's shot was dropping short but the reliable Bruno McCormack was there to help it over with an outstretched fist as Portlaoise narrowed the deficit to the minimum.
It was all square by the tenth minute, Conor Boyle and Benny Carroll combining to see the latter's shot scrape over the crossbar for the equaliser.
Another score didn't arrive for 13 minutes, but there was plenty of flash-points in between.
Portlaoise went close on goal twice in that period, and Killeshin one real moment of danger. Midway through the half Killeshin goalkeeper Shane Coakley fumbled the ball on his way out, a scramble ensued, and the ball finally broke to Ricky Maher his soccer-style finish was saved on its way to the line by Kevin Ryan.
Killeshin's chance came next. David Aston expertly picked out Adam Deering on the edge of the square, his initial shot was saved and his second stab was cleared off the line by Gareth Dillon in last-ditch dive.
Portlaoise tested the Killeshin goalkeeper once more, Benny Carroll's shot smothered by Coakley with 21 minutes played.
Portlaoise finally broke the deadlock two minutes later, Dillon feeding Bruno to angle over and put them a point in front.
The reigning champions saw another promising move fall to the wayside. Bruno McCormack was bearing down on goal two-on-one with Glynn in support, but the pass was overcooked and Killeshin breathed a sigh of relief.
Portlaoise extended their lead to two points in the fourth minute of additional time, Kieran Lillis swinging over his second of the day to send Portlaoise in ahead, 0-5 to 1-0, after a low-scoring opening half of football.
Killeshin restarted the half with a bang, hitting 1-1 in the first five minutes. The Lowry brothers, Evan and Eoin, combined for the point as Eoin stroked over. Their second goal of the game arrived soon after, and what a goal it was.
Mark McDermott picked out Evan Lowry to set him off on a daring 65 metre run that he spectacularly lofted into the top corner from range to put them two points ahead.
Brian Glynn stemmed the Killeshin rising with a well-taken point, but Killeshin were on the board a minute later with a David Aston free.
Portlaoise got back level with a Bruno free followed by Gareth Dillon's equaliser. Aston nailed a 45 with a quarter of an hour to go as Killeshin re-took the lead, but the battle-hardened Portlaoise were only beginning to hit their stride.
Glynn slotted over from an acute angle to level the proceedings once more, and Lillis' third put them into a lead. Again, Aston was the man to drag Killeshin back level with nine minutes of normal time remaining.
Three points in-a-row followed for Portlaoise. Dillon, Glynn and Boyle fortifying their lead.
Aston and Dillon traded points in the final minutes, and then Aston stepped up again to reduce the gap to two points.
Having been unflappable from placed balls all year - Aston missed two scoreable frees in the dying minutes. He did however convert in the second of four minutes of injury-time to make it a one-point game, but that elusive equaliser wouldn't come as The Town held out for their 35th title.
Scorers: Kieran Lillis, Bruno McCormack (0-1 free), Gareth Dillon and Brian Glynn 0-3 each, Benny Carroll and Conor Boyle 0-1 each.
Team: Michael Nolan; Brian Mulligan, Frank Flanagan, David Seale; Gareth Dillon, Gary Saunders, Chris Finn; Kieran Lillis, Ciaran McEvoy; Brian Glynn, Conor Boyle, Damon Larkin; Brian 'Bruno' McCormack, Benny Carroll, Ricky Maher. Subs: David Holland for Maher (39 mins), Colin Finn for Seale (52 mins), Ronan McEvoy for Glynn (57 mins), Craig Rogers for Larkin (62 mins).
Scorers: David Aston 0-6 (0-2 frees, 0-1 '45), Cathal Brennan and Evan Lowry 1-0 each, Eoin Lowry 0-1.
Team: Shane Coakley, Arnie Mahon, Jeremy Mahon, Stephen Attride; David Aston, Shane Bolger, Mark McDermott; Gavin Brennan, Brian Lowry; Kevin Ryan, Eoin Lowry, Adam Deering; Michael Doran, Cathal Brennan, Evan Lowry. Subs: Barry Ryan for Deering (40 mins), Ross Bolger for Doran (44 mins), Pauric Bolton for McDermott (49 mins), Luke Attride for Brian Lowry (53 mins).
REFEREE: Brendan McCann (Portarlington)
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