Laois 1-13 Longford 0-13
Allianz Football League Division 3
Donie Kingston was the star of the show for Laois tonight as his nine points kept their chances of survival in Division 3 alive.
Laois ended the game with 14 men once again but this time it didn’t matter as Laois won by three points.
Longford played with the aid of the breeze in the first half and they began well with early scores from Larry Moran and Michael Quinn.
It took Laois six minutes to open their account and it was Donie Kingston who – after being passed fit to play following a groin problem – that got it after he played a clever quick free kick with David Conway.
The same player then leveled matters from a virtually impossible angle after beating two players with his strength.
Laois were really in their stride now and when Eoin Buggie picked out Evan O’Carroll in front of the stand, he swiveled before putting Laois in front.
But Longford got themselves back in front through Robbie Smyth and Seán McCormack before Laois had a great goal chance.
Paul Kingston won a free in midfield and quickly fed older brother Donie who turned his man and headed for goal only to see his low effort blocked by keeper Paddy Collum.
Donie did kick a free shortly after but Longford kept in front thanks to midfielder John Keegan with 20 minutes on the clock.
Robbie Smyth kicked Longford two clear from distance and Laois had chances to close the gap but Donie Kingston hit the upright and David Conway’s effort was blocked.
But Darren Strong nailed a 45 and Laois did reduce the margin to just one as we entered the last ten minutes of the second half.
And Eoin Buggie then tied the game again with an excellent point after his shot from under the terrace hung in the air for what seemed an eternity before dropping over.
But Longford registered the final two scores of the half thanks to Robbie Smyth and Larry Moran to take a 0-8 to 0-6 lead into the interval.
Laois needed to start the second half well and they did when Evan O’Carroll won a free and Donie Kingston put one between them.
The same player converted another free soon after and Laois were level again after 38 minutes.
There was a real intensity to Laois’ play and Donie Kingston was in imperious form as he kicked his third free in succession to move Laois into a 0-9 to 0-8 lead after 42 minutes.
A fourth Kingston free soon followed and Laois went into a two point lead for the first time but it didn’t last long as Seán McCormack quickly replied for Longford.
But from the resulting kick out, Laois got the first goal of the game. John O’Loughlin won it and played the ball to Paul Kingston who picked out Evan O’Carroll on the 45.
The Crettyard native then pinged a ball to David Conway who found himself in acres of space and he exploited it devastatingly by rifling the ball to the roof of the net.
Laois were relentless and Alan Farrell dissected the posts from 45 metres to move them five clear with less than 20 minutes to play.
But Laois have had a problem with discipline all year and it raised its ugly head with fifteen minutes to go when Evan O’Carroll picked up a second yellow card.
But Donie Kingston was not in the mood to let that set back dent him and he kicked his eighth point of the game after beating off several defenders.
Donal McElligot began the Longford comeback and Robbie Smyth kicked another three points to reduce the gap to two with three minutes to play.
The game remained at 1-12 to 0-13 in Laois’s favour as we headed into injury time – of which five minutes were signalled by fourth official.
Incredibly, Laois managed to get through it without conceding a score and Donie Kingston made the game safe with his ninth point as Laois prevailed.
This sets up a final day showdown against Offaly in Tullamore next Sunday.
SCORERS: Laois – Donie Kingston 0-9 (six frees), David Conway 1-0, Evan O’Carroll, Alan Farrell, Darren Strong, Eoin Buggie 0-1 each. Longford – Robbie Smyth 0-7 (two frees), Larry Moran 0-2, Seán McCormack (free), Michael Quinn, John Keegan,Donal McElligot 0-1 each
James Finn for Begley (53mins – injured)
Gareth Dillon for Donoher (61mins – black card)
Danny Luttrell for Conway (75mins)
Diarmuid Masterson for McKeon (half time)
Ronan McEntee for Gallagher (58mins)
Brian Farrell for Gilleran (65mins)
Daniel Mimnagh for Keegan (72mins)
REFEREE: Jerome Henry (Mayo)