The Laois senior footballers got their National League Division 2 campaign underway yesterday and emerged from Dr Hyde Park with a draw.
Mike Quirke’s men went into the game as underdogs but scored two goals in the final six minutes of the affair to leave Connacht with a point.
Speaking after the game, Quirke described the comenback as remarkable.
He said: “We were fortunate in the end to get something out of it but I thought we should have had a lead at half time with the way we played.
“We should’ve gone in a point up instead of a point down. We had about nine chances in the first half that we didn’t take and you would hope if you could improve on that you would be very competitive in the Division.
“Over the course of it I thought we played well enough to get something out of it but there was a lot of stuff in the second half you wouldn’t be happy with.
“We’ve obviously lost some players but there is a lot of quality there and a lot of guys who are really proud to wear the Laois jersey and play in Division 2 which is a big level.
“Roscommon were in the Super 8s and Division 1 last year and they are Connacht champions so that was certainly a big challenge. But there was never a question that the lads would throw in the towel.
“We also lost Mark Timmons to a black card near the end and to turn a six point deficit around with 15 men is great but to do it for the most part with 14 is remarkable.”
The manager also picked out a number of players who impressed him over the 70 minutes.
He said: “We probably lacked a bit of cleverness in the attacking third and Ross (Munnelly) gave us that when he came on.
“(Kieran) Lillis was a monster, he kicked 1-3 or something and John O’Loughlin was tackling everyone. I thought that Enda Smith wasn’t his usual self because of the job that Robbie Piggott did.
“Gearoid Hanrahan came back in after a number of years and had a massive game as did Mark Timmons and Evan O’Connor.
“Nobody is getting carried away with a point but this was a tough start with the quality of the opposition we were facing. So I think this is a statement of intent that these lads are comfortable at this level and at the minimum will try to stay there.
Laois are back in action in Round 2 this Saturday evening in O’Moore Park at 6pm against Armagh.