The Laois footballers were beaten 0-15 to 0-10 by Kildare in MW Hire O’Moore Park on Sunday afternoon in Round 5 of the Allianz Football League Division 2.
Here we go through some of the game’s main talking points.
1 – Man of the Match – Paddy O’Sullivan
Daniel Flynn and Tommy Moolick were both very impressive for Kildare but from a Laois point of view, Paddy O’Sullivan had another fine game for Laois continuing his recent good run of form.
He started centre-back in a reshuffled Laois back line and got on an amount of ball as he cleared possession, cut out attacks and carried well out of defence.
Laois were on the back foot for most of the game but O’Sullivan couldn’t be faulted for another full-hearted display.
2 – Poor record against Kildare continues
Kildare have really had the upper hand in this fixture in league and championship in recent times. Today’s loss means Laois have now failed to beat Kildare in their last seven meetings, losing six times and drawing in the 2015 championship.
Laois’s last win was in the 2010 league while since the famous Leinster final win in 2003, the sides have met 15 times with only two Laois wins. Kildare have won nine of those games with Laois winning in the 2005 championship and 2010 league.
3 – Hanging in – but missed chances costly
Kildare dominated possession, particularly in the first half. They raced into a 0-4 to no score lead after four minutes and never trailed thereafter.
They had Laois on the rack in the opening 35 minutes but 11 wides ensured they never stretched clear. And Laois were the ones with most of the goal chances – with Colm Murphy, Evan O’Carroll and Mark Timmons all having chances of goals.
While Kildare were the stronger side and the five-point winning margin scarcely did them justice, Laois could have put more pressure on them had they converted some of their chances at key times.
4 – Third week running
Much has been made in the hurling championship of the poor record of teams playing three weeks in a row – and it was the case here too.
While Kildare were undoubtedly the better side, Laois were playing for the third week running as their Round 3 game against Cavan was played a week later.
At this time of the year, in poor playing conditions, three weeks on the trot is a tough ask. Conversely, it could be a help for Laois down the line as Fermanagh’s game today against Armagh was postponed because of an unplayable and is likely to be re-fixed for next weekend.
That would mean by the time Laois play Fermanagh in the final round on March 22 in Enniskillen, Fermanagh will be playing for the third week running.
5 – Forward struggles at home again
The Laois footballers have struggled for scores in two of the three home games they have played in the league.
Laois used ten forwards in this game and only two of them, Evan O’Carroll and sub Brian Byrne managed to score from play. This was a similar story in the defeat to Cavan where an Eoin Lowry goal was the only score from play.
If Laois are to pick up the points they need to survive, this is going to have to improve in the games that remain.
6 – Other results and how the table stands
Roscommon moved top of the table thanks to a 1-16 to 0-12 win over Westmeath in Dr Hyde Park while Clare had a 1-14 to 0-15 win in Cavan. The Fermanagh-Armagh game was postponed.
It means that Roscommon are top on seven points while Cavan are second on six. Laois, Westmeath and Armagh are all on five with Kildare and Clare on four each and Fermanagh on two, but with a game in hand.
7 – What now?
There is a two-week break now until Laois travel to Westmeath in Round 6. On the same weekend, Kildare are at home to Cavan, Clare are at home to Fermanagh and Armagh host Roscommon.
In the final round of games on Sunday, March 22, Laois are away to Fermanagh, Cavan are at home to Roscommon, Clare are at home to Armagh and Kildare are at home to Westmeath.
Plenty to play for yet.