Laois 1-14 Meath 2-17
Senior Inter-County Challenge Match
The Laois Senior footballers lost out to Meath tonight in a challenge match in Graiguecullen.
John Sugrue used 29 different players over the course of the hour long game with many lads getting valuable game time ahead of the first round of the championship away to Wexford.
Laois actually began the game well and found themselves two points up after ten minutes.
Niall Donoher hit the first with Benny Carroll adding the second. Meath responded via Bryan McMahon but Gary Walsh regained the two point lead a short time after Eoin Keogh had made a point blank save from Luke Martyn.
Meath got the next four points and then grabbed the game’s first goal when Eoin Keogh’s kickout went wrong and then ball eventually came to Cillian O’Sullivan who sidestepped the keeper to score.
Ross Munnelly, Gary Walsh and Jamie Farrell all responded for Laois but Meath finished the half well.
Donal Lenihan continued to kick points and then Meath got a second goal via Cian O’Brien to go in 2-9 to 0-6 ahead at half time.
Laois introduced seven fresh faces at half time but Cillian O’Sullivan extended Meath’s lead with a free.
But back came Laois. Substitute Evan O’Carroll set up Donie Kingston for a wonderfully taken goal and that seemed to give them life.
David Conway kicked a brace and with Paul Cahillane, Kingston and Stephen Attride all raising the white flags, the gap was down to two points with 15 minutes to play.
Cian O’Sullivan and Conway exchanged points but Meath got back on top then and saw the game out.
Lenihan landed a brace with O’Sullivan and the impressive Bryan Menton also scoring.
St Joseph’s Michael Keogh kicked the game’s final point on his senior debut to leave six in it at the finish.
The victors were then presented with the Barney Hennessy Cup by Barney’s great-grandson Brendan Hennessy and his great-great-granddaughter Aoife Hennessy.
SCORERS – Laois: Donie Kingston 1-2, Gary Walsh 0-2, Niall Donoher 0-1, Benny Carroll 0-1, Ross Munnelly 0-1, Jamie Farrell 0-1, Paul Cahillane 0-1, David Conway 0-3, Stephen Attride 0-1, Michael Keogh 0-1 Meath: Donal Lenihan 0-6, Cillian O’Sullivan 1-4, Cian O’Brien 1-0, Bryan Menton 0-4, Shane McEntee 0-1, Bryan McMahon 0-1, Sean Curran 0-1
LAOIS: Eoin Keogh; David Holland, Mark Timmons, Gareth Dillon; Trevor Collins, Darren Strong, Finbarr Crowley; John O’Loughlin, Kieran Lillis; Niall Donoher, Benny Carroll, Jamie Farrell; Ross Munnelly, Gary Walsh, Donie Kingston. Subs: Ruaidhri Fennell for Dillon (20mins), Graham Brody for Keogh, Denis Booth for Timmons, Shane Nerney for Collins, Stephen Attride for Crowley, Rory Bracken for Lillis, Evan O’Carroll for O’Loughlin, Damien O’Connor for Farrell, David Conway for Munnelly (all half time), Tom Shiel for Walsh (40mins), Paul Cahillane for Carroll (40mins), Eoin Buggie for Holland, Michael Keogh for Donoher and Chris Finn for Strong (45mins)
MEATH: David Gallagher; Conor Dempsey, Conor McGill, Seamus Lavin; Mickey Burke, Donal Keogan, Shane McEntee; Bryan Menton, Paddy Kennelly; Cian O’Brien, Cilliian O’Sullivan, Liam Ferguson; Bryan McMahon, Donal Lenihan, Luke Martyn. Subs: Andrew Colgan, Seán Curran, Darragh Griffin, Luke Moran, Gaibhin Mac Aodha