Commins hits a hat-trick for Gort in a lively group collision

Gort 5-22

Portumna 1-23

Gerard Mulreaney in Loughrea

FOUR goals in a devastating seven-minute spell either side of half-time sealed an 11-point win for Gort in their Senior A Group 2 clash in Loughrea on Saturday as they secured a preliminary quarter-final berth, and in the process condemned Portumna to the relegation play-offs.

In a fast-paced, entertaining game in front of a big crowd on a glorious sunny evening, Richie Cummins scored a hat-trick, joint-captain Aiden Helebert scored 1-2, Greg Lally 1-1, Paddy Commins 0-7, while Jason Grealish ended up with five points as Gort won convincingly. The margin could have been much bigger had they not also struck 17 wides.

The ever-reliable Joe Canning scored nine points for Portumna – including three frees and two 65’s – while Adam Fogerty chipped in with six points, and Joe’s brother Jack scored 1-2. In a quite remarkable stat, Gort only scored 1-1 from placed balls throughout the game.

The stakes were high beforehand, with both sides knowing that defeat would send them into a relegation battle. The high stakes nature of the game was highlighted further with the addition of the returning Andy Smith to the Portumna line-up following a short-lived retirement.

Six-time county champions Portumna – their last triumph was in 2013 – often rise to the occasion when the pressure is on. And they got off to the perfect start, opening up a five-point lead (0-8 to 0-3) after just 15 minutes. They had points from the Canning brothers, Jack and Joe, along with Adam Fogarty, and Declan McLoughlin, while Jason Grealish, Paddy Commins, and Jason O’Donoghue replied for Gort.

They also had a couple of early goal chances through Jack Canning and Neil Connelly, but Gort goalkeeper Gavin Lally was up to the task on both occasions. The pace of the game was relentless in the first half, with both sides looking to take control of proceedings. The referee let the game flow, and at times turned a blind eye to certain hefty challenges.

Further scores from Grealish and Commins followed before Gort scored the opening goal in the 20th minute. Left all alone in midfield Jason Grealish dropped a delivery into the full-forward line – Cummins managed to get on the end of it and he sent the ball low and hard past Ivan Canning to level the scores.

Pictured: Gort’s Jack Linnane secures possession against Neil Connelly of Portumna during Saturday’s Senior Hurling Championship Group 2 clash in Loughrea. Photos: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

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