Laois 2-13 Louth 1-8
Leinster U-21 Football Championship Quarter Final
Laois U-21 footballers recovered from being reduced to 14 men midway through the first half to record a stunning victory in O’Moore Park tonight.
Ballyfin forward Seán Moore kicked 1-8 and Laois needed every one of his scores after clubmate David Connolly was harshly red carded early on.
Laois began well with an early Moore free but Louth responded with vengeance when Ryan Burns accelerated through the defence and smashed the ball into the net.
Burns then kicked a free but Seán Moore replied with a brace to keep Laois in touch after ten minutes.
Sam Mulroy and Brian Daly exchanged points before Laois struck for two goals in a minute.
The first came when Colm Murphy surged through and palmed off the ball to Moore who converted from close range. The second arrived from the resulting kick out.
Eoin Buggie won the ball and fed Darragh Connolly who used his pace to break clear before passing to Murphy who slid the ball beneath the keeper.
But disaster then struck for Laois after 18 minutes. David Connolly appeared to strike out off the ball at Dean Maguire. The referee initially did nothing but, after he was called by his linesman, he returned and produced a red card for the Ballyfin man.
Ryan Burns looked to make Louth’s numerical advantage pay with a free after the red card but Laois responded instantly through another point from Moore.
Brian Byrne and Conor Whelehan kicked Laois further in front but Ciarán Downey kept the gap at six points and it remained 2-7 to 1-4 until half time.
Laois began the second half well and Seán Moore kicked them seven clear with a point off his left after a neat pass from Danny Luttrell.
Louth responded thanks to a long-range Ross Nally point but Laois kept the pressure on as Moore fisted his sixth of the evening.
We then had a ten minute period without a score before Tadgh McEneaney finally broke the deadlock with a lobbed effort.
However, Laois went straight down the other end and Eoin Buggie popped up and split the posts to put seven between them as we entered the final quarter.
Louth went in search of goals but the Laois defence stood strong and counter attacked effectively with Moore kicked adding another free to move Laois eight clear as we entered the final five minutes.
Burns attempted to get Louth back into it with a brace but Daniel O’Reilly, who was excellent for Laois throughout, responded with a drilled effort.
Louth went in search of goals but Laois would not concede again and ran out convincing eight-point winners.
Laois will now face Offaly in the Leinster semi-final in Carlow next Wednesday night at 7.30pm.
SCORERS – Laois: Seán Moore 1-8 (0-4 frees), Colm Murphy 1-0, Conor Whelehan, Daniel O’Reilly, Brian Byrne, Eoin Buggie, Brian Daly 0-1 each. Louth: Ryan Burns 1-4 (0-3 frees), Sam Mulroy, Ciaran Downey, Ross Nally 0-1 each
Aaron Cooney (St Joseph’s)
James Kelly (St Joseph’s)
Shane Nerney (O’Dempsey’s)
Trevor Collins (Graiguecullen)
Patrick O’Sullivan (Portarlington)
Eoin Buggie (Stradbally)
Daniel O’Reilly (Graiguecullen)
David Connolly (Ballyfin)
Danny Luttrell (Courtwood)
Darragh Connolly (Ballyfin)
Brian Daly (Barrowhouse)
Conor Whelehan (Timahoe)
Colm Murphy (Portarlington)
Sean Moore (Ballyfin)
Brian Byrne (Graiguecullen)
Liam Knowles (Stradbally) for D. Connolly (20mins, inj)
Dylan Doyle (St Joseph’s) for Byrne (46mins)
Aaron Carroll (Ballyroan-Abbey) for Whelehan (58mins)
Robbie Piggott (Portarlington) for O’Sullivan (59mins, inj)
Hugh Osbourne for Maguire (22mins)
Aaron O’Brien for Cathal Grogan (ht)
Ryan Ward for Nally (42mins black card)
Glen Matthews for Mceneaney (46mins)
Seán Marrye for Downey (52mins)