Portlaoise 2-05 Sarsfields 0-10
A 59th minute point from Brian Smithrescued Portlaoise and ended the valiant effort of 14-man Sarsfields in this exciting affair Leinster SFC club quarter-final at O’Moore Park.
The heavy rain that had fallen throughout the day made conditions very difficult and contributed to the low scoring, with many kicks failing to travel the expected distance.
Portlaoise were unlucky when Conor Boyle saw his rasper cannon back off the Sarsfields crossbar.
The Newbridge men made the most of their fortune with a brace of 13th minute points by Sean Dempsey, and Dan Nea followed up five minutes later with a lovely score.
Portlaoise began to settle into the game and had the better of the second quarter, with Gareth Dillon fisting over from a tight angle after showing a clean pair of heels to the Sarsfields cover, before Paul Cahillane twisted excellently to cut the deficit.
The champions were in front when Craig Rogers brilliantly sent Andy O’Brien the wrong way from the penalty spot after Steven Lawlor had been booked for a foot block.
The defender was very unfortunate to be sent off when receiving a second yellow card, having appeared to have been the innocent party in a needless scuffle after the score.
Sarsfields responded well though and were level by half time (1--2 to 0-5) thanks to points from Sean Campbell and Ray Cahill.
They got their noses in front early in the second half but a Cahillane goal, after a sensational turn had created the opportunity put the hosts ahead once more.
They could never shake off John Crofton’s men though and two Cahill frees brought the sides level before Smith denied them at the death.
Portlaoise: G Brody, C Healy, P Cotter, D Seale, B Mulligan, K Lillis, E Whelan, C Boyle, D Cullen, G Dillon (0-02), B Smith (0-01), B Glynn, C Rogers (1-00pen), P Cahillane (1-1), B McCormack (0-01).
Subs: C Finn for Seale BC (40), R Maher for Glynn (44), K Fitzpatrick for Cullen (53)
Sarsfields: A O’Brien, D McDonnell, S Lawlor, S Campbell (0-01), C McConnell, A Scully, C McInerney-Asepll, M Byrne, G White, C Kavanagh, R Cahill (0-5fs), R Fitzgibbon, B McCormack, D Nea (0-01), S Dempsey (0-03).
Subs: C Duffy for Scully (18), C Hartley for Fitzgibbon (ht), C Scanlon for Nea (53), S Ryan for McInerney-Aspell (54), J Geraghty for McDonnell (70)
Referee: B Tierney (Dublin)