Roscommon 2-14 Laois 2-14
Allianz Football League Division 2
A new era got underway for Laois football this afternoon with Mike Quirke’s spell as manager beginning with a thrilling draw against Roscommon in Dr Hyde Park.
An injury time goal from Kieran Lillis rescued a share of the spoils for Laois after they came from six points down with a minute of normal time remaining.
But an absolute screamer from Evan O’Carroll threw Laois a lifeline and Kieran Lillis then smashed home one from close range in the 74th minute after a long ball into the square from Ross Munnelly.
Roscommon looked a sure thing when Enda Smith scored a penalty for Roscommon in the 61st minute but Laois had other ideas.
After back to back promotions, it makes for a good start for Laois to the Division 2 campaign as they were joint second favourites for relegation.
It also marked a new phase for Gaelic football with an advanced mark and a sin bin now in use in place of the old black card. The new mark will take a bit of getting used to – for players and referees –
Laois played some good football in the first half and were unlucky to go in trailing 1-7 to 0-9 after playing with the wind. Indeed Laois had 19 shots on goal compared to 11 for Roscommon but a number of efforts dropped short, one hit the post and a couple of wides.
Three of Laois’s points came from marks – from newly-appointed captain Kieran Lillis, Evan O’Carroll and Colm Murphy – while O’Carroll also pointed a ’45 and from play while Murphy, Lillis and Michael Keogh found the range too.
The Smith brothers were to the fore for the home side but Laois were good value for their 0-8 to 0-6 lead in the 32nd minute before Niall Kilroy struck for goal after a good pass from full-back Brian Stack.
Evan O’Carroll responded with a point from a mark and there was one point between the sides at the break. Lillis’s third point – a fantastic outside of the boot effort off his left boot – levelled things up early in the second half – but Roscommon then began to stretch clear and hit the next three points.
When Smith got the penalty to put Roscommon 2-11 to 0-13 up – and Mark Timmons was sin-binned for his wild last-ditch challenge on Niall Kilroy – seemed to signal the end for Laois.
But they kept at it and the heroics of O’Carroll and Lillis pulled it out of the fire for Laois.
Armagh at home next week in MW Hire O’Moore Park is next up.
SCORERS – Laois: Evan O’Carroll 1-6 (0-2 ’45s, 0-1 mark, 0-1 free), Kieran Lillis 1-3 (0-1 mark), Ross Munnelly 0-2 (one free, one mark), Colm Murphy 0-2 (one mark), Michael Keogh 0-1. Roscommon: Enda Smith 1-2 (1-0 penalty), Donie Smith 0-4 (two frees, one mark), Cian McKeon 0-3 (two frees), Niall Kilroy 1-0, Cathal Cregg, Shane Killoran, Niall Daly, Hubert Darcy (free) and Noel Gately 0-1 each.
aLAOIS: Niall Corbett (Clonaslee); Trevor Collins (Graiguecullen), Mark Timmons (Graiguecullen), Gearoid Hanrahan (Mountmellick); Sean O’Flynn (Courtwood), Robbie Pigott (Portarlington), Paddy O’Sullivan (Portarlington); John O’Loughlin (Rosenallis), Kieran Lillis (Portlaoise); Sean Byrne (Portarlington), Mark Barry (O’Dempsey’s), Eoin Lowry (Killeshin); Michael Keogh (St Joseph’s), Colm Murphy (Portarlington), Evan O’Carroll (Crettyard). Subs: Cahir Healy (Portlaoise) for Collins (45), Ross Munnelly (Arles-Kilcruise) for Murphy (49), Damien O’Connor (Timahoe) for Keogh (49), Gary Walsh (Ballylinan) for O’Loughlin (blood sub – 53-59), Garry Comerford (Stradbally) for Lowry (66), Brian Byrne (Graiguecullen) for Barry (69)
ROSCOMMON: Colm Lavin; David Murray, Brian Stack, Gary Patterson; Niall Daly, Padraig Scott, Richard Hughes; Tadhg O’Rourke, Shane Killoran; Niall Kilroy, Enda Smith, Finbar Cregg; Donie Smith, Cian McKeon, Cathal Cregg. Subs:Conor Daly for Richard Hughes (43), Hubert Darcy for Killoran (53, blood), Darcy for F Cregg (59), Ciarán Lennon for C Cregg (62), Noel Gately for D Smith (66), Dylan Ruane for O’Rourke (70+3).
REFEREEE: Ciaran Branigan (Down)