Laois 1-9 Louth 3-8
Allianz National Football League Division 3 Round 2
The concession of three goals in seven first half minutes and the dismissal of Kieran Lillis after 20 minutes did the damage as Laois suffered their first league defeat under manager John Sugrue.
In front of a tiny crowd in Croke Park, Louth carved Laois apart in the early stages of the game and although Laois were better in the remaining 50 minutes, the damage was already done.
They actually started well with Ross Munnelly scoring a free and a mark in the opening minutes but it was all downhill after Ryan Burns opened Louth’s account from a free.
They scored two goals in a minute from Burns and Conor Early and they scored their third goal after 14 minutes.
The nature of the way Louth opened up the Laois defence in this period will undoubtedly trouble manager John Sugrue and when Stephen Attride was forced to foot-block a goalbound Louth effort, a penalty was awarded and Burns scored his second goal.
Laois tried to settle with Munnelly pointing another free but they were rocked again after 20 minutes when Kieran Lillis was shown a straight red card following an off-the-ball incident with Louth full forward Sam Mulroy – who received a yellow card.
Laois had lost Sean Byrne to injury straight from the throw in and he had been replaced by Martin Scully. But with Lillis gone, manager Sugrue sent on Colm Begley and replaced Scully with Paul Kingston moving to wing forward.
Laois looked a bit more settled and they were aided after half an hour when Louth were reduced to 14 men for ten minutes after midfielder Conor Early received a black card.
Munnelly and Colm Murphy landed frees for Laois and then they got a lifeline in injury time.
A Louth kick-out went wrong, Colm Murphy pounced and was fouled resulting in the game’s second penalty which Munnelly converted to leave Laois trailing by four at the break – 3-4 to 1-6.
Louth were restored to their full compliment on the resumption of play as Laois introduced Donie Kingston and Evan O’Carroll from the bench.
Louth almost had a fourth goal as Conal McKeever forced a great save from Brody and the sides then swapped points via Ryan Burns and Donie Kingston.
Munnelly hit another Laois free and a second Louth black card for Andy McDonnell after 47 minutes meant we would play 14 on 14 again for ten more minutes.
But that period passed without a score for either team and Louth went five clear with ten minutes to play via Conal McKeever.
Laois needed another goal and they almost got it after 64 minutes when a wonderful move involving Graham Brody, Colm Murphy and sub Mark Barry resulted in Paul Kingston getting through but his shot was blocked by Anthony Williams.
Laois kept going and Donie Kingston kicked a free but Louth played keep ball and held on for five minutes of injury time to win.
SCORERS – LAOIS: Ross Munnelly 1-6 (1-0pen, four frees, one mark), Donie Kingston 0-2 (one free), Colm Murphy 0-1 (one free) LOUTH: Ryan Burns 2-3 (two frees, 1-0 pen), Conor Early 1-0, Sam Mulroy 0-2 (one free, one mark), Tommy Durnin 0-1, Conal McKeever 0-1
LAOIS: Graham Brody (Portlaoise); David Seale (Portlaoise), Shane Nerney (O’Dempsey’s), Adam Campion (St Joseph’s), Stephen Attride (Killeshin), Robbie Piggott (Portarlington), Gareth Dillon (Portlaoise); John O’Loughlin (St Brigid’s), Kieran Lillis (Portlaoise), Damien O’Connor (Timahoe), Conor Boyle (Portlaoise), Sean Byrne (Portarlington); Ross Munnelly (Arles-Kilcruise), Colm Murphy (Portarlington), Paul Kingston (Arles-Killeen). Subs: Martin Scully (Ballyroan-Abbey) for Byrne (1m, inj), Donie Kingston (Arles-Killeen) for Seale and Evan O’Carroll (Crettyard) for O’Connor (both ht), Mark Barry (O’Dempsey’s) for Muinnelly (56m), Paul Cahillane (Portlaoise) for Murphy (65m)
LOUTH: Fergal Sheeky; Fergal Donohue, Emmet Carolan, Des Corcoran; Anthony Williams, Bevan Duffy, John Clutterbuck; Tommy Durnin, Conor Early; Conor Brannigan, Ciaran Downey, Conal McKeever; Andy McDonnell, Sam Mulroy, Ryan Burns. Subs: James Califf for Early (ht, black card), Declan Byrne for Burns (51m, inj), Hugh Osbourne for Corcoran (57m, inj), Eoghan Duffy for McDonnell (60m, black card), Ruairi Moore for McKeever (65m)
Referee: Barry Tiernan (Dublin)