Home Sport GAA Whelan lands the winner as Laois minor footballers beat Meath in Navan

Whelan lands the winner as Laois minor footballers beat Meath in Navan

Pairc Tailteann in Navan

Laois 0-11 Meath 0-10

Leinster MFC Qualifier Round 1

The Laois minor footballers produced a fantastic second-half performance to knock Meath out of the Leinster championship in Navan on Saturday afternoon.

Noel Delaney’s side were beaten after extra time by Louth two weeks ago and went to Navan as outsiders – Colm Coyle’s Meath side losing to Dublin after extra time in the opening round.

Laois trailed 0-6 to 0-4 at half time and despite playing with the wind in the second half, Laois fell five points down and looked to be on their way out of the championship.

But a Ciaran Comerford point kick-started their revival and they hit the last six points of the game to record a thrilling win.

Laois played against the wind in the opening half and packed their defence. But they got off to a great start, Diarmuid Whelan scoring the opening two points within four minutes to put Laois two up.

Two points from Meath dangerman Shane Walsh levelled things up before Whelan edged Laois ahead in the 14th minute.

Meath upped things a bit then, scoring the next four points, one each from Sean Martin and Conall Ahern and two from Shane Walsh frees.

A Mark Barry free on the stroke of half time, however, ensured that Laois only trailed 0-6 to 0-4 at the break.

Meath scored the first three points of the second half to stretch five clear – Saran Ó Fionnagain, Jordan Morris and Conall Aherne all on target.

A Niall Dunne ’45 settled Laois and although Ó Fionnagain got his second, Laois then hit final six points of the second half.

Alan Kinsella landed two points (one free), while Ciaran Comerford and Ronan Coffey also pointed before Dunne’s second ’45 drew things level with three minutes remaining.

Then Diarmuid Whelan stepped up to the plate to be the match winner, the Ballyroan-Abbey man coming back on after being forced off with injury to land a wonderful point under pressure.

That put Laois one up and while Meath had a late chance to bring it to extra time, Walsh’s free went wide and they hung on to book a quarter-final place.

SCORERS – Laois: Diarmuid Whelan 0-4 (one free), Niall Dunne (two ’45s), Alan Kinsella (one free) 0-2 each, Mark Barry (free), Ronan Coffey and Ciaran Comerford 0-1 each. Meath: Shane Walsh 0-4 (three frees), Saran Ó Fionnagain 0-2, Conall Aherne 0-2, Jordan Morris 0-1, Sean Martin 0-1.  

LAOIS: Thomas McCann (Ballyroan Abbey); Michael Dowling (Portlaoise), Sean 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’s), Ciaran Comerford (The Harps); Dean Brophy (St Joseph’s). Subs: PJ Daly (The Heath) for Brophy, Jack Owens for Whelan (injured), Whelan for Barry, Damien McCaul for C Comerford

MEATH: Andrew Beakey; Sean Ryan, Dan Devine, Robbie Clarke ; Adam Murphy, John Keane, Jack Hetherington; Cian Swaine, Liam Byrne; Paddy Conway, Sean Martin, Conall Aherne; Jordan Morris, Shane Walsh, Conor Frayne. Subs: Saran Ó Fionnagain, Sean Bannon, Pauric Nulty