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Remember the Game: Laois defeat Wexford to stave off Division 1B relegation in 2004

Laois 1-14 Wexford 1-8
2004 National Football League Division 1B Round 7

The Laois footballers staved off potential relegation to Division 2B 17 years ago this week thanks to a six point win over Wexford in O’Moore Park.

Laois were reigning Leinster champions at the time but went into the game in the relegation zone.

They needed to win and hope that one of Meath, Sligo and Armagh lost in able to finish safely in midtable.

Mick O’Dwyer’s charges did what they had to while Sligo defeated Meath which saw the Royals drop down alongside the already relegated Cavan.

It was a remarkable feat to stay up – considering Laois had lost their first three matches against Limerick, Sligo and Armagh.

Wexford were managed at the time by former Laois footballer Pat Roe and they could have reached the league semi finals with a win.

Laois led 0-9 to 0-5 at half time and put the game to bed shortly after when Arles-Kilcruise teammates Chris Conroy and Ross Munnelly combined for the latter to score a goal.

Laois would go on to defeat Carlow and Meath en route to the 2004 Leinster final where they lost after a replay to Westmeath.

Their campaign was then ended by Tyrone in Round 4 of the All-Ireland Qualifiers.

Check out some great Alf Harvey pictures from this match below:

SCORERS – Laois: Ross Munnelly 1-2 (two frees), Kevin Fitzpatrick and Beano McDonald (two frees) 0-4 each, Colm Parkinson and Chris Conway 0-2 each Wexford: Matty Forde 1-4 (three frees), Scott Doran 0-2, John Hudson and John Hegarty 0-1 each

Laois: Michael Nolan, Aidan Fennelly, Colm Byrne, Joe Higgins; Darren Rooney, Tom Kelly, Paul McDonald; Kevin Fitzpatrick, Noel Garvan; Ross Munnelly, Ian Fitzgerald, Mark Dunne; Brian McDonald, Colm Parkinson and Chris Conway. Subs: Michael Lawlor for Ian Fitzgerald (61), Daragh McEvoy for Kevin Fitzpatrick (69).

Wexford: John Cooper; Colm Morris, Philip Wallace, Niall Murphy; Darragh Breen, David Murphy, George Sunderland; Robert Hassey, Willie Carley; David Fogarty, Paddy Colter, John Hudson;, Scott Doran, John Hegarty, Matty Forde Subs: Nicky Lambert for Willie Carley (30), Redmond Barry for Robert Hassey (33), Leigh O’Brien for John Hegarty (39), Kieran Kennedy for David Fogerty (63), Tom Wall for Niall Murphy (66)

Referee: Eugene Murtagh (Longford)

SEE ALSO – Laois Abroad: The remarkable adventure of a Portlaoise woman in Sydney via Spain, the UAE and Chile

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.