Portarlington 4-09 Portlaoise 0-06

Previously cruising along in a mid-gear, Portarlington put the foot to the floor on Laois SFC county final day to leave Portlaoise as a speck in their rearview mirror at MW Hire O'Moore Park.

Manager Martin Murphy conceded beforehand that despite reaching the final with four wins from four, and no goals conceded, Portarlington hadn't yet come close to reaching their peak.

Well, Port' certainly ticked that box with this game as good as done and dusted by half-time when the holders led by 2-07 to 0-02 after a near flawless half hour or so.

An early goal from Adam Ryan set Portarlington on their way and a second from county man Colm Murphy, who struck 2-02 overall, just before the interval left 11 between them at that stage.

It was all too easy for Portarlington who crushed Portlaoise's hopes of getting back on top in Laois having claimed a dozen titles, including a nine-in-a-row, between 2007 and 2019.

Fourth quarter goals from David Murphy and Colm Murphy added further gloss to a commanding display which will go down as one of Portarlington's greatest ever.

Notoriously stubborn in defence Portarlington went through the entire campaign without conceding a goal and have only leaked one in the last two seasons.

They can now consider themselves the established senior force in Laois football having previously been successful at underage level and will fancy their chances against the Westmeath representatives in the AIB Leinster club SFC on 5 December back in Portlaoise.

Under Offaly man Murphy they won the delayed 2020 final in mid-August and just 13 weeks later they are now back to back county champions.

Interestingly, Portarlington completed a similar feat in 1955 when winning both the delayed 1954 and '55 finals in the same calendar year.

They were favourites from the outset in the 2021 campaign, and particularly so after Portlaoise slipped up in the opening round against Courtwood.

But the niggling feeling was that Portarlington still weren't quite at their best and that Portlaoise, who beat them in 2019 after an extra-time semi-final epic, may draw on all their big game experience to spring an upset.

It never looked like occurring though with centre-forward Ronan Coffey leading a dynamic Portarlington from the off.

Portarlington led 1-04 to 0-02 at the first water break and Coffey had a hand in each of their scores, pointing himself in the fourth minute.

Jake Foster's frees were important too and he struck 0-03 in the first-half before combining with Ryan in the 29th minute to set Murphy away for his goal.

Portlaoise, painfully unable to penetrate Portarlington's miserly defence and restricted to pot shots from long range, booted 10 first-half wides.

Graham Brody performed his usual sweeper 'keeper role but couldn't make any great impact.

The one blot on Coffey's copybook was his failure to convert a penalty five minutes into the second-half, Brody getting down low to his right to avert the danger.

That gave Portlaoise some hope but they needed a miracle and ran four of their subs in by the 43rd minute in an attempt to divine some inspiration.

To their credit, they won the third quarter by 0-03 to 0-02 but still trailed by 10 points at the second water break.

Portarlington finished this game on a high, cracking in 49th and 57th minute goals. Colm Murphy fed David Murphy for the first of those and then hit the net himself after Foster's inviting ball across the goalmouth.

Portarlington: Scott Osborne; Cathal Bennett, Diarmuid Bennett, Alex Mohan; Stuart Mulpeter, Patrick O'Sullivan, Robert Pigott; Keith Bracken, Sean Byrne; Adam Ryan (1-00), Ronan Coffey (0-01), Rioghan Murphy; Jake Foster (0-05, 0-04f), Colm Murphy (2-02, 0-01f, 0-01m), David Murphy (1-01).

Subs: Stephen O'Neill for David Murphy 50, Colin Slevin for Coffey 52, Jordan Fitzpatrick for Rioghan Murphy 55, Dean Foster for Ryan 56, Jonny Fullam for Jack Foster 58.

Portlaoise: Graham Brody; Frank Flanagan, Gary Saunders, Ben Dempsey; Kevin Swayne, Chris Finn, Paddy Downey; Kieran Lillis, Ciaran McEvoy; Conor Boyle, Gareth Dillon (0-01), Ronan McEvoy (0-01); Brendan Carroll (0-01), Paul Cahillane (0-01), Damon Larkin.

Subs: John Kavanagh for Cahillane 16, David Holland for Downey h/t, Ricky Maher (0-02, 0-01f) for McEvoy h/t, Josh Hogan for Finn 43, Ben Brennan for Swayne 50.

Referee: Brendan Hickey.