Sport

GAA round-up: Portlaoise and Ballyboden advance to Leinster final

SportBy Sean McGoldrick
Portlaoise's Craig Rogers is congratulated by his manager Malachy McNulty after they booked a spot in the Leinster football final
Portlaoise's Craig Rogers is congratulated by his manager Malachy McNulty after they booked a spot in the Leinster football final

Ballyboden St Enda’s and Portlaoise will meet in the Leinster club football decider in Tullamore on Sunday week.

The Dublin kingpins Ballyboden reached their first ever final when they outscored Westmeath title holders, St Loman’s in Mullingar. 

Thanks to a Sam Moloney goal, Ballyboden led 1-7 to 0-6 at the break.

The home side was over dependent on John Heslin for scores and the visitors comfortably saw out the second half.

In the other semi-final, home side Portlaoise went on a goalscoring spree as they put five past Emmet Óg Killoe from Longford to reach their third final in four seasons. 

Goals in the first half from Craig Rogers and Brian McCormack set the tone but it was a double strike from full forward Paul Cahalane in the first five minutes of the second half that sealed the win.

In the decider, Portlaoise will be aiming for their first provincial win since 2009 while Ballyboden will be hoping to become the fourth Dublin club in a row to secure the title.

Meanwhile, a magnificent performance from Kerry senior star Bryan Sheehan paved the way for South Kerry's victory in an extraordinary county final in Killarney.

The game finished in semi darkness. The throw-in was delayed for ten minutes due to the late arrival of many spectators and then went to extra time.

Divisional side South Kerry won't mind, however, as they secured their tenth title and their first since 2009. 

The win means that their divisional board will now have the right to nominate the Kerry captain - probably Bryan Sheehan - in 2016.

Even though he didn't feature in extra time having picked up a black card Sheehan was still the most inspirational player in Fitzgerald Stadium as he single handedly dragged his team back into the match after Killarney Legion went seven points up early in the third quarter.

It was Sheehan's goal that sparked the South Kerry revival and the teams were tied 1-11 each at the end of normal time. Worryingly for Kerry James O'Donoghue - who has been nursing a shoulder injury since the summer - had to leave the field with a recurrence of the problem though he did come back on again.

Predictably, scores were at a premium in extra time but South Kerry managed two priceless points whereas Legion - who were bidding for only their second ever title and their first since 1946 - managed just one point. 

So South Kerry were crowned champions on a 1-13 to 1-12 score.

In the Munster club hurling championship decider in Thurles, a powerful second-half performance from Limerick champions Na Piarsaigh was the key factor in their seven-point win over Waterford’s Ballygunner.

Remarkably, Na Piarsaigh remain unbeaten in the competition and have now claimed their third title in five seasons – they previously won in 2011 and 2013.

They trailed by three points at the break (1-7 to 1-4) but took complete control of the second period hitting 1-14 with Ballygunner only managing 1-4 in reply.

In the county finals Sarsfields made no mistake at the second attempt, defeating Craughwell to win their seventh Galway title and their first since 1997. 

The win also gives them passage into the latter stages of the All-Ireland series as there is no Connacht club hurling championship at senior level.