Laois 2-12 Limerick 0-9
Allianz National Football League Division 4 Round 1
Gary Walsh kicked 1-6 as Laois began their National Football League campaign with a hard fought win over Limerick this evening.
It wasn’t pretty at times as Laois struggled to break down Limerick for long periods but they did enough in the end to take the two points.
Laois almost had a goal straight from the throw in. John O’Loughlin won it and found Paul Kingston who combined with Danny O’Reilly who raced clear on goal only for his powerful shot to be flicked over the bar by the Limerick keeper Donal O’Sullivan.
Laois then lost captain Stephen Attride to a hamstring injury before Gary Walsh converted a free to move them two clear after seven minutes.
Limerick were playing with a blanket defence and rarely ventured out of their own half in the first quarter. But on the one rare occasion that they did, Jamie Lee cut the gap with a point with just their second shot.
Laois were really struggling to break down the Limerick blanket but once again Paul Kingston created a chance after 20 minutes and The Rock’s Aaron Dowling got on the end of it to score his first point.
We had to wait another seven minutes for the next point as, after Limerick missed a 14 metre free, Gary Walsh made no mistake down the other end.
Jamie Lee hit back for Limerick with the score of the game from an acute angle in front and then added a free to reduce the margin to one as we entered the last five minutes of the half.
Walsh moved Laois two clear with his third free as we entered two minutes of injury time and that would be the last score to send Laois to the dressing rooms leading 0-5 to 0-3.
Laois once again should have had a goal four minutes after the resumption of play. Finbarr Crowley broke the line and laid the ball off to John O’Loughlin who switched it to Aaron Dowling but he shot straight at keeper O’Sullivan.
Limerick went down the other end and Jamie Lee kicked his fourth point before Laois responded through Daniel O’Reilly after a fine surge.
The game was opening up now and that Laois goal did come on 45 minutes. Once again Paul Kingston was the architect as he broke clear and fed Crowly who switched it inside to Gary Walsh and he picked out the top corner with his right foot.
Limerick replied through substitute Seamus O’Carroll but Walsh was on fire now and he moved Laois five ahead from in front of the stand.
Limerick came a post away from registering a goal after 51 minutes. Jamie Lee’s low shot had Graham Brody beaten all ends up but it came back off the post where Jim Liston was on hand to kick it over the bar.
And the gap was down to three with 15 minutes to play after Limerick substitute Seán McSweeney landed a free.
Gary Walsh settled Laois to take his tally to 1-5 and when he kicked another monster, the home side were five clear.
Eoin Lowry then landed his first after yet another run by Finbarr Crowley. The Emo man was then sent off after collecting his second yellow card of the game as Kieran Daly made it a five point game with two minutes of normal time to play.
But Laois made the game safe before the end as Paul Kingston was rewarded for all of his hard work by getting on the end of a Gary Walsh flick and rounding the keeper to raise a green flag.
Limerick kept going and Seán O’Dea kicked a point but Laois had the final say with a brace for Eoin Lowry.
SCORERS – Laois: Gary Walsh 1-6 (0-4 frees), Paul Kingston 1-0, Aaron Dowling 0-1, Daniel O’Reilly 0-2, Eoin Lowry 0-2 Limerick: Jamie Lee 0-4 (0-1 frees), Seamus Jim Liston 0-1, Seán McSweeney 0-1 (0-1 frees), Kieran Daly 0-1, Seán O’Dea 0-1
LAOIS: Graham Brody (Portlaoise); David Holland (Portlaoise), Shane Nerney (O’Dempsey’s), Ruadhri Fennell (Rosenallis); Trevor Collins (Graiguecullen), Stephen Attride (Killeshin)(Captain), Finbar Crowley (Emo); Danny O’Reilly (Graiguecullen), John O’Loughlin (St Brigid’s); Alan Farrell (Ballylinan), Paul Kingston (Arles-Killeen), Brian Glynn (Portlaoise); Eoin Lowry (Killeshin), Gary Walsh (Ballylinan), Aaron Dowling (The Rock). Subs: Colm Begley (Stradbally) for Attride (5mins, inj), Evan O’Carroll (Crettyard) for Dowling (46mins), Gareth Dillon (Portlaoise) for Glynn (58mins), Niall Donoher (Courtwood) for Farrell (58mins), Kieran Lillis (Portlaoise) for O’Reilly (67mins), Jamie Farrell (Ballylinan) for Farrell (67mins)
LIMERICK: Donal O’Sullivan; Gareth Noonan, Sean O’Dea, David Connolly; Paul White, Cillian Fahy, Jim Liston; Darragh Treacy, Brian Fanning; Daniel Daly, Peter Nash, Danny Neville; Tony McCarthy, Padraig Scanlon, Jamie Lee. Subs: Seamus O’Carroll for Scanlon (ht), Shane Doherty for Daly (41mins), Seán McSweeney for McCarthy (49mins), Robbie Bourke for Nash (53mins), Kieran Daly for Lee (59mins)
Referee: Patrick Maguire (Longford)