Laois 0-15 Louth 2-11 (AET)
Leinster Minor Football Championship Round 1
Laois made a losing start to the Leinster minor championship as a missed penalty and a number of dubious officiating decisions saw them succumb to a two point defeat after extra time.
Louth scored two points which appeared to be wide while Laois had one ruled out which seemed to have gone over as referee Niall Ward and his officials made decisions which routinely incensed the home crowd.
It culminated in his decision deep into the second half of extra time not to award what looked like an obvious penalty to Diarmuid Whelan when he was taken down in the area.
But Laois were their own worst enemy. They kicked fifteen wides and had an Alan Kinsella penalty saved in a game that they really should have won.
It took Laois just 20 seconds to open the scoring courtesy of a free from Alan Kinsella and they quickly doubled their lead when Colin Slevin split the posts after a strong run.
Louth squandered a chance to hit back when a simple free from John Gallagher went wide but the same player made no mistake after five minutes from the same position.
Laois restored their two point advantage though after 10 minutes when Diarmuid Whelan converted a free following a foul on Ronan Coffey.
Louth cut the gap to one when Jack Murphy, on as a blood sub, curled an effort with his left foot which looked to have gone over the upright rather than through it.
But Laois moved 0-4 to 0-2 ahead from the resulting kick out which was excellently fielded by Diarmuid Whelan who then charged forward and scored.
However, Louth then struck for the game’s first goal after 24 minutes. A move which began in their own full back line ended with centre forward Ben Mooney smashing the ball to the net.
But Laois weren’t rattled and hit back with three successive points from Jack Owens, Alan Kinsella and Diarmuid Whelan to regain the lead.
Louth replied through Gerry Garland and that is how it remained until half time as Laois took a slender 0-7 to 1-3 lead into the interval.
Laois introduced Ronan McEvoy for Jack Owens at half time but it was Louth who opened the second half scoring thanks to a brace of John Gallagher frees to put them in front for the second time.
Laois registered the first point of the second half in the 36th minute as Alan Kinsella drew Laois level but Louth quickly regained the lead through corner back Alan Connor.
The scoring was tit for tat now and Whelan converted another free to bring Laois level again.
Gallagher replied with one from play from distance for Louth but Whelan continued to be Laois’s main attacking threat and he kicked his fifth point to bring us level as we entered the final quarter of the game.
And with ten minutes to go Laois were awarded a penalty. Diarmuid Whelan was fouled in the area but Alan Kinsella’s effort was saved by Louth keeper Alan McAuley.
Laois did take the lead after 52 minutes from a Mark Barry free but Louth refused to go away and a John Gallagher 45 level the game with four minutes to play.
Laois had two chances to retake the lead but both Ronan McEvoy and Damien McCaul missed chances and Louth almost made them pay when Gerry Garland popped up to put them in front.
But Laois equalised in the first minute of injury time through Alan Kinsella and then had a late chance to win the game but Damien McCaul’s effort was adjudged to have gone over the post and we headed for extra time.
Laois started the first period of extra time with an Alan Kinsella point but it really should have been a goal as he blazed over from close range.
The same player then put Laois two clear before Ciarán Keenan replied for Louth with a free.
Louth then scored their second dubious point of the day after John Gallagher point was given having initially been waved wide.
Then with the final action of the first half of extra time, Louth were awarded a penalty. Full back Seán O’Flynn was deemed to have fouled Jack Murphy and Gallagher smashed home from the spot to leave Louth ahead by 2-11 to 0-14.
It took Laois five minutes of the second period of extra time to score but they did through Whelan after Ciarán Comerford was fouled.
Laois were then denied a stone wall penalty with two minutes to play. Diarmuid Whelan collected Alan Kinsella’s long ball and was bundled over on the edge of the square but referee Niall Ward signalled for a free to Louth.
Laois kept trying for the goal that would win them the game but time ran out and it is Louth that advance to the Leinster quarter final.
Laois will now enter the qualifier stage of the draw and must win to have any chance of progressing this year.
SCORERS – Laois: Alan Kinsella 0-6, Diarmuid Whelan 0-6, Colin Slevin 0-1, Jack Owens 0-1, Mark Barry 0-1 Louth: Ben Mooney 1-0, John Gallagher 1-7, Jack Murphy 0-1, Gerry Garland 0-2, Ciarán Keenan 0-1
LAOIS: Tom McCann (Ballyroan-Abbey); Michael Dowling (Portlaoise), Seán O’Flynn (Courtwood), Daniel Comerford (The Harps); Colin Slevin (Portarlington), Seamus Lacey (Ballylinan), Gary Saunders (Portlaoise); Robert Tyrell (Camross), Diarmuid Whelan (Ballyroan-Abbey); Alan Kinsella (Courtwood), Niall Dunne (Courtwood), Ronan Coffey (Portarlington); Mark Barry (O’Dempsey), Ciarán Comerford (The Harps), Jack Owens (Emo). Subs: Ronan McEvoy (Portlaoise) for Owens (ht), Jason Maher (Portlaoise) for Dunne (43mins, black card), Damien McCaul (Annanough) for Barry (57mins), Jack Owens for McCaul (70mins)
LOUTH: Alan McGauley; Alan Connor, Philip Trainor, Dan Corcoran; Leonard Grey, Eoghan Callaghan, James O’Reilly; Liam Jackson, Conor Morgan; Gerry Garland, Ben Mooney, Fergal Malone; Keelan O’Neill, Conor Nicholson, John Gallagher. Subs: Jack Murphy for Jackson (15mins, blood sub) Ciaran Keenan for Nicholson (ht), Jack Murphy for O’Neill (39mins), Shane Hickey for Malone (43mins), Ciaran Keenan for Mooney (49mins), Alex Mohane (Portarlington) for D Comerford (65mins)
Referee: Niall Ward (Westmeath)