Laois 1-6 Cavan 3-10
Allianz Football League Division 2
Two goals either side of half time saw Laois’s unbeaten start to Division 2 ended by Cavan in MW Hire O’Moore Park this afternoon.
In very difficult conditions, Cavan goals through Evan Doughty and sub Stephen Murray proved the difference and the latter left 10 between them in the end with his second goal with almost the final kick.
Laois could have set up an interesting finale but Gary Walsh’s penalty as we entered five minutes of injury time was saved and there would be no heroics like we saw in Roscommon several weeks ago.
It is a defeat which sees Laois drop to fifth in the table with games against Clare, Kildare, Fermanagh and Westmeath to come.
Storm Dennis kicked up a real gust at the start of the game with driving wind and hail blowing down the field towards the Town end.
Cavan had the wind in the first half and they registered the first score with 30 seconds on the clock through Oisin Pierson.
Laois had to retain possession whenever they won it as kicking the ball simply wasn’t an option but they almost had a goal with their first meaningful attack as Paddy O’Sullivan found Evan O’Carroll but his shot was blocked out for a 45.
They did get their first score from that via John O’Loughlin but Cavan got back on top through Pierson and Bryan Magee after 11 minutes.
O’Carroll and Cavan wing back Gerard Smith, who landed three from play in the first half, traded scores before Laois took the lead for the first time after 21 minutes.
They worked a free short from the wing and the ball flashed across the goal where Evan O’Carroll got a toe to it. His effort came back off the post but Eoin Lowry was first to react and he smashed the ball to the net.
Cavan made a mess of the resulting kick-out and Laois won a free which Mark Barry converted after 22 minutes to leave them 1-3 to 0-4 ahead.
However, Cavan, revved on by the wind, finished the half strongly with Pierson, Smith and Bryan Magee all pointing to leave them two clear as we entered four minutes of injury time.
And that would prove a costly period for Laois as Cavan scored a fortutious goal through Evan Doughty who was surely going for a point when his effort hung in the air and deceived Niall Corbet by looping in off his far post.
Laois would then lose Robbie Pigott to a black card after a hand trip meaning they would have to play what remained and the opening period of the second half with 14 men.
Cavan took a 1-8 to 1-3 lead into the break and used their man advantage straight away as Oisin Kiernan popped a ball into space where half time sub Stephen Murray got to the ball before keeper Niall Corbet and fisted it to the net.
Laois were restored to 15 men after 44 minutes as Pigott returned and they ended their 22 minute drought with an Evan O’Carroll free a minute later.
Laois had chances to further narrow the gap but O’Carroll missed a free and then a really good goal chance after some great work by Paddy O’Sullivan while Kieran Lillis had a shot drop short as Cavan led 2-9 to 1-4 with 53 minutes gone.
O’Carroll cut the margin to seven but Cavan keeper Raymond Galligan made it 2-10 to 1-5 with a free after 60 minutes.
John O’Loughlin smashed over his second point and then with three minutes of normal time to play, a Damien O’Connor high ball resulted in a penalty after Kieran Lillis was fouled and a black card for Gerard Smith.
But substitute Gary Walsh saw his penalty saved by Raymond Galligan and any chance Laois had of staging a late comeback was ended.
Stephen Murray’s excellent strike was the only significant thing that happened in injury time.
Laois are back in action again next weekend when they face Clare in Ennis before welcoming Kildare to Portlaoise the following Saturday, February 29.
They then have a break before two away games to wrap up the campaign – away to Westmeath on March 15 and to Fermanagh on March 22.
SCORERS – Laois: Evan O’Carroll 0-3 (two frees, one 45), Eoin Lowry 1-0, John O’Loughlin 0-2, Mark Bary 0-1 (free) Cavan: Stephen Murray 2-0, Oisin Pierson 0-3, Gerard Smith 0-3, Bryan Magee 0-3 (one mark, two frees), Evan Doughty 1-0, Raymond Galigan 0-1 (one free)
LAOIS: Niall Corbet (Clonaslee); Brian Byrne (Graiguecullen), Mark Timmons (Graiguecullen), Gearoid Hanrahan (Mountmellick); Sean O’Flynn (Courtwood), Robbie Pigott (Portarlington), Paddy O’Sullivan (Portarlington); John O’Loughlin (Rosenallis), Sean Byrne (Portarlington); Michael Keogh (St Joseph’s), Colm Murphy (Portarlington), Eoin Lowry (Killeshin); Mark Barry (O’Dempsey’s), Kieran Lillis (Portlaoise), Evan O’Carroll (Crettyard). Subs: Damien O’Connor (Timahoe) for Keogh (ht), Trevor Collins (Graiguecullen) for Byrne (45), Ross Munnelly (Arles-Kilcruise) for Murphy (49), Gary Walsh (Ballylinan) for O’Flynn (60, inj), Diarmuid Whelan (Ballyroan-Abbey) for O’Carroll (64)
CAVAN: Raymond Galligan; Martin Reilly, Padraig Faulkner, Killian Brady; Gerard Smith, Ciaran Brady, Oisin Kiernan; Thomas Galligan, Chris Conroy; Luke Fortune, Bryan Magee, Evan Doughty; Oisin Pierson, Gearoid McKiernan, James Smith. Subs Stephen Murray for Fortune (ht), Conor Madden for Conroy (51), Liam Buchanan for Smith (69), Paul Gilcreest for Doughty (71), Stephen Smith for Magee (73)
REFEREE: Niall Cullen (Fermanagh)