Portlaoise Celtic are on track for their goal of Division 1 league and cup double when they claimed the Big Brands Big Savings Division 1 Cup title by overcoming a gallant Newbridge Spurs by 4-2 at Rathbride Road on Sunday.
Big Brands Big Savings Division 1 Cup Final
Portlaoise Celtic: 4
Newbridge Hotspurs: 2
The eventual winners started brightly and almost took a three minute lead when a neat flick on from Gary O’Sullivan found Brendan LaCumber at the back post and his effort came back off the crossbar and was cleared to safety.
However it was Hotspurs who broke the deadlock against the run of play after seven minutes when Glenn Tuffy intercepted a poor Portlaoise pass and went on a mazy run before sending in a pin point cross to Ricky Caffrey who nipped in at the back post to head past Portlaoise ‘keeper Colm Rochford to put the Newbridge side 1-0 up.
Celtic were not fazed by this early set back and within three minutes were on level terms when they forced a corner on the right. Brian Farrell’s delivery was excellent when he found an unmarked Brendan LaCumber at the back post who made no mistake firing past Keith Tuffy in the Spurs goal.
Six minutes before the break Portlaoise went ahead with a carbon copy of their equaliser. Forcing a corner, Brian Farrell again found LaCumber at the back and he again made no mistake to put them 2-1 up going into the break.
The second half started as the first ended with Portlaoise on the attack and Spurs reduced to long range efforts.
Celtic extended their lead 13 minutes into the second half when Shane Mitchell broke down the right and laid the ball off for the impressive Ronan Molloy. Molloy whipped the ball in to the edge of the six yard box for Daniel Mills to head to the back post giving Tuffy in goal no chance and leave a two goal cushion for Portlaoise going into the final third.
The leaders introduced Darren Kelly on sixty five minutes and he made his presence known immediately setting Brian Farrell up however his effort was just wide of the Spurs goal.
Portlaoise extended their lead to 4-1 with 15 minutes remaining when Mark O’Sullivan nodded the ball home following good work by Sean Browne. However a lapse in concentration soon after allowed the Newbridge side in to reduce the deficit when they were awarded a penalty by Referee Martin Hickey following a foul on Ricky Caffrey and the evergreen John Fitzpatrick stepped up to cooly slot past Rochford to leave the score at 4-2.
Try as they may Hotspurs could not find a way past a resolute Portlaoise defence well marshalled by Danny Mills and Celtic went on to claim the Division 1 cup title for the second time in the Club’s history.
Best for the winners were Danny Mills in defence, Sean Browne in midfield and Brendan LaCumber upfront, while for a Hotspurs side that never gave up Glenn Tuffy and John Fitzpatrick in defence, Gary Nugent in midfield and Ricky Caffrey up front excelled.
Colm Rochford, Daniel Mills, Keith Lawless, Mark Ryan, Mark O’Sullivan, Ronan Molloy, Sean Browne, Brian Farrell, Brendan LaCumber, Gary O’Sullivan, Shane Mitchell, Daragh Kelly, Ross Moylan, David Nevin, Willie Kerry, Pat Loughman.
Keith Tuffy, John Fitzpatrick, Glenn Tuffy, John O’Brien, Keith Houlihan, Gary Nugent, Greg Kelly, Darren Bradley, Mark Murnaghan, Ricky Caffrey, Ross Lynch, Thomas Kemmy, Richard Farrell, Wayne Kennedy, JP Lee, Mick Nugent.