Laois 0-6 Meath 3-11
Bord na Mona O’Byrne Cup Round 1
Just like last season, the Laois footballers have made a losing start to their new campaign as they were well beaten in truly atrocious conditions in O’Moore Park.
There will be very few positives for boss John Sugrue to take from this as despite even enough opening exchanges, Meath were far superior and won easily enough in the end.
Of the new players, Adam Campion from St Joseph’s was the most impressive as he was left one-on-one in the full back line and coped very well – marking three Meath players over the hour he was on the field.
It was also great to see Graiguecullen’s Danny O’Reilly back on the field. He sustained a brutal head injury after being attacked on a night out after Laois won the National League Division 4 earlier in the year that left him in a coma – and this was his first game back of any description since.
After 23 minutes of this game, the sides were level at two points apiece but the rain stopped at that point and Meath took over.
They outscored Laois by 2-6 to a point in the time that remained and built up an 11 point lead at half time.
Gary Walsh kicked the first point of the 2019 campaign after three minutes and although Mickey Newman and James Conlon replied for Meath, a Brian Daly score on the run had Laois level.
But it went downhill from there as Meath got a run on Laois. They reeled off four points in a row and then almost had a goal when Adam Flanagan got in but Scott Osbourne denied him.
However, that goal did eventually come when corner back Ronan Ryan started and finished a counter attack which pushed Meath on.
And a minute later the ball was in Laois’s net again when Daniel Quinn got on the end of a move and although Osbourne saved his initial attempt, he scored the rebound.
Laois should have had a goal in reply but Gary Walsh chipped the ball over the bar with just the keeper to beat while two Mickey Newman frees gave Meath a 2-8 to 0-3 lead at half time.
Laois started the second half better and Eoin Lowry reduced the margin with a point off his left foot – however Newman wiped that out with his fifth of the night before Thomas O’Reilly extended Meath’s advantage.
David Conway kicked Laois’s fifth score but the game was settled as a contest after 53 minutes when Thomas O’Reilly scored Meath’s third goal.
Laois kept plodding away with a point from Mark Timmons but incredibly a Darragh Campion point for Meath after 55 minutes would be the final score of the night.
Laois next face Wexford next Saturday where they must win to keep their hopes of progression from the group alive.
SCORERS – Laois: Gary Walsh 0-2 (one free), Brian Daly 0-1, Eoin Lowry 0-1, David Conway 0-1 (one free), Mark Timmons 0-1 Meath: Mickey Newman 0-5 (three frees, one 45), Daniel Quinn 1-1, Thomas O’Reilly 1-1, Ronan Ryan 1-0, James Conlon 0-2, Donal Keoghan 0-1, Darragh Campion 0-1
LAOIS: Scott Osbourne (Portarlington); Adam Campion (St Joseph’s), Denis Booth (The Heath), Damien O’Connor (Timahoe); Stephen Attride (Killeshin), Mark Timmons (Graiguecullen), Robbie Piggot (Portarlington), John O’Loughlin (St Brigid’s, Dublin), Brian Daly (St Joseph’s); Marty Scully (Ballyroan-Abbey), David Conway (Arles-Kilcruise), Sean Byrne (Portarlington); Eoin Lowry (Killeshin), Gary Walsh (Ballylinan), Paul Kingston (Arles-Killeen). Subs: Daniel O’Reilly (Graiguecullen) for Pigott, Paddy O’Sullivan (Portarlington) for Daly and Michael Keogh (St Joseph’s) for Kingston (all 43mins), Nigel Murphy (Emo) for , Darren Strong (Emo) for O’Loughlin, and Shane Nerney (O’Dempsey’s) for O’Connor (all 50mins), Richie Hitchcock (Park-Ratheniska) and Brian Byrne (Graiguecullen) for Scully and Campion (both 63m), Finbarr Crowley (Emo) for Attride (65m)
MEATH: Andrew Colgan; Seamus Lavin, Bryan Menton, Ronan Ryan; James McEntee, Donal Keoghan, Gavin McCoy; Sean Tobin, Adam Flanagan; Daniel Quinn, Darragh Campion, Bryan McMahon; James Conlon, Mickey Newman, Thomas O’Reilly. Subs: Niall Hickey for Conlon (30m), Graham Reilly for McMahon (46m), Thomas McGovern and Niall Kane for Ryan and McCoy (both 55m)
Referee: Pierce Kelly (Offaly)