Laois 1-12 Longford 0-11
Leinster Minor Football Championship Round 1
Laois had to survive a dramatic late comeback from Longford to claim a valuable win in the first round of the Leinster championship this afternoon.
Donncha Phelan’s charges looked odds on for victory as they held a nine point lead as we entered the final quarter but they slacked off and allowed Longford back into the game.
In a dramatic conclusion, Longford narrowed the deficit to three points but couldn’t find the goal they needed and in the end, a late Seamus Farrelly point sealed the win.
Laois had to soak up some early pressure from Longford but a good break up field after two minutes saw Daragh Galvin fouled and Oisin Byrne converted the resulting free.
The lead was two a moment later when Ben Conroy was fouled and wing back Eamonn Delaney stroked over the resulting free.
Both sides were then guilty of squandering opportunities before Laois reeled off two in a row.
The first came from centre forward Seán O’Neill and the second was the result of a flowing move with some lovely hands from Oisin Byrne setting up Niall Carey to score.
Eamonn Delaney nailed a second free and Laois almost had a goal at the midpoint of the half. A long ball from Josh Lacey deceived the defence and Oisin Byrne raced through but his shot cannoned back off the underside of the bar.
Longford finally opened their account from a Cian Dooner free and then Keelin McGann cut the deficit to three after 22 minute’s with the visitors first from play.
Laois needed a score and they got it two minutes later when Daragh Galvin curled one over from play.
And the lead was back out to five a minute later when a cleverly taken free by Seán O’Neill found Eamonn Delaney and he pointed his third.
Once again Laois almost had a goal when Cathal Bennett combined with clubmates Rioghan Murphy and Daragh Galvin and the latter drew a fantastic save from Patrick Murray but the ball went over the bar.
Cian Dooner replied for Longford from distance and that was the final score of the half as Laois headed for the dressing rooms 0-8 to 0-3 ahead.
Longford began the second half with renewed vigor as Darragh O’Connell pointed but Laois hit back with a goal. Seamus Farrelly, who was introduced just before half time, launched a long ball which was won by Oisin Byrne who composed himself before coolly beating the keeper.
Byrne then converted a free before Seán Greene popped up with a point to leave Laois 1-10 to 0-4 ahead after 36 minutes.
Cian Dooner responded for Longford and they almost had a goal themselves when a quickly taken free sent Darragh O’Connell away but his shot came back off the post.
Longford continued to create chances but didn’t take them. Cian Dooner became the latest to squander a goal chance while Euan Finneran and Keelin McGann also kicked wides.
And captain Seán O’Neill moved Laois nine clear as we entered the final quarter after a pinpoint pass from Josh Lacey.
Cian Dooner kept plugging away for Longford with a brace and Jonathon Borland also kicked one after coming off the bench to leave six in it with ten to play.
Longford captain Eoghan McCormack kicked another and then Cian Dooner followed that to reduce the margin to four with five minutes to play.
Laois were thankful to keeper Tom Wright then for keeping them ahead. James Moran charged up field and laid the ball off to Reece Reilly but Wright spread himself well to make the save.
Longford reduced the margin to a goal with another McCormack point but Laois held on and a late Farrelly point capped a four point win.
SCORERS – Laois: Oisin Byrne 1-2 (two frees), Eamonn Delaney 0-3 (two frees), Seán O’Neill 0-2, Niall Carey 0-1, Seán Greene 0-1, Daragh Galvin 0-2, Seamus Farrelly 0-1 Longford: Cian Dooner 0-5 (three frees), Keelin McGann 0-1, Darragh O’Connell 0-1, Jonathon Borland 0-1, Eoghan McCormack 0-2
LAOIS: Tom Wright (Ballylinan); Seán Greene (Emo), Mikey Bennett (Portarlington), Ciarán Byrne (Ballyroan-Abbey); Niall Carey (Portlaoise), Cathal Bennett (Portarlington), Eamonn Delaney (Stradbally); Ben Conroy (Portlaoise), Josh Lacey (St Joseph’s); Seán Michael Corcoran (Portarlington), Seán O’Neill (The Rock), Daragh Galvin (Portarlington); Oisin Byrne (Arles-Killeen), Damon Larkin (Portlaoise), Rioghan Murphy (Portarlington). Subs: Seamus Farrelly (St Joseph’s) for Corcoran (27mins), Cathal Doyle (Ballyroan-Abbey) for Conroy (42mins), Brian Whelan (Ballyroan-Abbey) for Larkin (47mins), Mark O’Connell (Timahoe) for Lacey (56mins), Jamie Kelly (St Joseph’s) for Delaney (58mins), Ross Bolger (Killeshin) for Byrne (58mins)
LONGFORD: Patrick Murray; Ronan Kenny, Dario Ciglianio, Cian Nolan; Cian Belton, James Moran, Peter Dempsey; Conor Leonard, Richard Prior; Cian Ó Nualláin, Euan Finneran, Darragh O’Connell; Cian Dooner, Eoghan McCormack, Keelin McGann. Subs: Adam Quinn for O Nuallain (35mins), Jonathon Borland for Leonard (37mins), Jordan Martin for McGann (46mins), Reece Reilly for Prior (53mins)
Referee: Chris Dwyer (Offaly)