Laois 4-11 Offaly 3-15
Allianz National Football League Division 3
Laois have been relegated to Division 4 of the National Football League after they were beaten by Offaly this afternoon.
Peter Creedon’s men had a man sent off for the fifth time this season as they slumped to a one point defeat.
Kevin Meaney saw red for the second time after he picked up two yellows for two late challenges in the second half.
Laois needed a draw to keep them up and they had the chance to clinch it with the final kick of the game but Darren Strong’s effort went over the post and wide.
After a couple of wides from both sides, Offaly lost Peter Cunningham to a black card after he tripped Donie Kingston and David Conway gave Laois the lead when the resulting free was played short to him.
The same player was then instrumental in Laois next score as he drew a free which Donie Kingston converted.
Offaly hit back with a great point from Eoin Carroll from distance and they drew level in the 9th minute when Bernard Allen scored a free.
The home side made it three in a row soon after when Joseph O’Connor split the posts after Laois were guilty of turning over the ball in the full forward line.
Nigel Dunne pointed a 45 before Offaly had the game’s first goal after 16 minutes. Seán Doyle beat Graham Brody after he was left one on one following a strong run from Nigel Dunne.
Laois needed a response and then got when the Kingston brothers combined with Donie pointing from the angle.
But Offaly had their tails up and extended their advantage to seven points with one each via Eoin Carroll, Michael Brazil and Joseph O’Connor from distance.
Laois then had a brilliant chance to get back in the when Evan O’Carroll fed John O’Loughlin on the edge of the square but his left footed effort ended in the side-netting.
Laois woes were then compounded when Offaly went down the other end and Nigel Dunne put eight between them.
Offaly looked intent to put this game beyond Laois in the first half and their incredible shooting stats continued with Eoin Carroll picking up his third of the afternoon from distance.
But Laois dug deep. Evan O’Carroll kicked a point and when Alan Farrell’s high ball wasn’t dealt with by Offaly keeper Alan Mulhall, Donie Kingston was on hand to tap in the rebound after the ball struck the post.
Pádraig McMahon then kicked one off his left and it was now a four point game as we entered the final stages of the first half.
And Laois got one more back before half time as Paul Kingston scored from range to leave the score reading 1-9 to 1-6 at half time.
But all Laois’ hard work was undone 30 second after the restart. Offaly won the ball from the throw in and quickly moved down the field where Cian Donoghue eventually put the ball in the net after Graham Brody had saved the first effort.
Nigel Dunne then kicked a free and Offaly were seven points clear. But this crazy game took another twist.
Darren Strong’s long ball was flicked into Damien O’Connor’s path by Donie Kingston and he squared it to Kevin Meaney who punched the ball into the net.
Evan O’Carroll and Bernard Allen swapped points and the score stood at 2-11 to 2-7 in Offaly’s favour after 42 minutes.
Alan Farrell reduced the arrears to three but Laois were reduced to 14 men and conceeded a third goal within 30 seconds.
Kevin Meaney was sent off for the second time this year after picking up a second yellow card but before that, Seán Doyle notched his second goal.
Donie Kingston responded with free but Offaly hit back with two more from Niall Darby and Seán Doyle to go seven clear.
John O’Loughlin reduced the arrears to six with 15 minutes to go and Laois were then awarded a penalty when David Conway was bundled over in the penalty area.
Donie Kingston converted from the spot and the 14 men were within three points of Offaly once again.
Nigel Dunne hit back with a free but incredibly, Laois scored a fourth goal when Eoin Buggie’s inviting ball found Donie Kingston and he blasted to the net to complete his hat-trick and leave one between them with 8 minutes to go.
Offaly gave themselves some breathing space as we entered the final five minutes with a Bernard Allen point from an acute angle.
But Laois kept going and Donie Kingston kicked a free to leave one between them as we entered into four minutes of injury time.
Laois had a last chance to gain the draw which would have kept them up but Darren Strong’s effort went over the post and wide as Offaly held on.
SCORERS – Laois: Donie Kingston 3-4, 3f, Kevin Meaney 1-0, David Conway 0-1, Evan O’Carroll 0-2, John O’Loughlin, Pádraig McMahon and Paul Kingston 0-1each Offaly: Seán Doyle 2-0, Cian Donohue 1-0 Nigel Dunne 0-4, 2f, Eoin Carroll 0-3, Bernard Allen 0-3, 2f Joseph O’Connor 0-2, Niall Darby and Michael Brazil 0-1each
LAOIS: Graham Brody; Darren Strong, Denis Booth, James Kelly; Eoin Buggie, Pádraig McMahon, Damien O’Connor; Kevin Meaney, John O’Loughlin; Alan Farrell, David Conway, Ambrose Doran; Donie Kingston, Evan O’Carroll, Paul Kingston. Subs: Gary Walsh for Doran (30mins), Niall Donoher for Kingston (46mins), Danny Luttrell for Walsh (48mins), Seán Moore for Conway (55mins), Gareth Dillon for Farrell (66mins), Danny O’Reilly for O’Carroll
OFFALY: Alan Mulhall; Brian Darby, James Lawlor, Michael Brazil; Niall Darby, Peter Cunningham, David Hanlon; Eoin Carroll, Joseph O’Connor; Shane Nally, Graham Guilfoyle, Cian Donoghue; Seán Doyle, Nigel Dunne, Bernard Allen. Subs: Daithi Brady for Cunningham (5mins, black card), Johnny Moloney for Doyle (60mins)