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Penalty shoot-out drama as Laois down Kildare to reach O’Byrne Cup decider with Dublin

Laois senior footballers
Photo: Ray Commins

Laois 0-9 Kildare 1-6 (Laois win 6-5 on penalties)
O’Byrne Cup Semi Final 

There was serious drama in Dr Cullen Park tonight as Laois defeated Kildare on penalties to advance to the O’Byrne Cup final.

Billy Sheehan’s charges battled heroically to push Kildare all the way and reach the decider for the first time since 2007 where they will, as they did that day, face Dublin.

Neither team could be separated after 70 minutes and it took a sudden death penalty shoot-out to ultimately decide it.

The first quarter was even enough with Laois holding a one point lead by the end of it.

Sean Moore landed a free early on and then curled over a lovely score from play after great work by Evan O’Carroll and Sean O’Flynn.

Paddy Woodgate responded with a free but Eoin Lowry instantly cut that out. Woodgate ended the quarter with a free to leave it 0-3 to 0-2 to Laois.

But Laois fell behind in the 23rd minute in rather unfortunate circumstances.

Daniel Flynn’s long range effort dropped short and Paddy Woodgate challenged with Matthew Byron in the goal – with the ball ending up in the net.

Laois went 17 minutes without scoring but that was ended by Evan O’Carroll and then it was levelled again by Sean Moore.

However, Paddy Woodgate’s third point of the half brought it to a close and left Kildare 1-3 to 0-5 ahead at half time.

Laois were level three minutes into the second half when Gareth Dillon broke forward and found Evan O’Carroll who scored off his left.

But Kildare almost struck for their second goal a couple of muinutes later when sub Kevin O’Callaghan found Daniel Flynn who beat Matthew Byron but his shot was cleared off the line by Trevor Collins.

Nevertheless, Laois went back ahead in the 43rd minute when sub Gary Walsh was fouled for a free which he then kicked.

Jimmy Hyland tied the game up soon after and then sub Jack Sargent fisted Kildare ahead with twenty minutes to play.

However, Laois were level again right on the stroke of the water break when Evan O’Carroll beat several Kildare defenders for his third point – 0-8 to 1-5.

Paddy Woodgate’s fourth point restored Kildare’s lead when play resumed but Gareth Dillon, who was excellent all game, soon levelled matters once again.

Incredibly, neither team scored again and after two minutes of extra time, we went to penalties.

In the end, we went to sudden death in the shoot out with Cormac Murphy scoring and Matthew Byron saving the last penalty from Paul Cribbin for Laois to win it.

Laois will now face Dublin in Dr Cullen Park on Saturday at 3pm.

SCORERS – Laois: Sean Moore 0-3 (one free), Evan O’Carroll 0-3, Gary Walsh 0-1 (one free), Gareth Dillon 0-1, Eoin Lowry 0-1 Kildare: Paddy Woodgate 0-4 (two frees), Daniel Flynn 1-0, Jimmy Hyland 0-1 (one free), Jack Sargent 0-1

LAOIS: Matthew Byron (Courtwood); James Kelly (St Joseph’s), Trevor Collins (Graiguecullen), Alex Mohan (Portarlington); Sean O’Flynn (Courtwood), John O’Loughlin (Rosenallis), Gareth Dillon (Portlaoise); James Finn (Ballyfin), Kieran Lillis (Portlaoise); Brian Byrne (Graiguecullen), Eoin Lowry (Killeshin), Paddy O’Sullivan (Portarlington); Ross Munnelly (Arles-Kilcruise), Sean Moore (Ballyfin), Evan O’Carroll (Crettyard). Subs: Gary Walsh (Ballylinan) for Munnelly (41), Cormac Murphy (Crettyard) for Byrne and Daniel O’Reilly (Graiguecullen) for O’Sullivan (both 55), Podge Dunne (Park-Ratheniska) for Finn and Dylan Kavanagh (The Heath) for Dillon (both 64), Mark Barry (O’Dempsey’s) for O’Carroll and Brian Daly (St Joseph’s) for Lowry (66)

KILDARE: Mark Donnellon; David Randles, Mike Joyce, Tom Harrington; David Hyland, James Murray, Tony Aarchbold; Liam Power, Tadhg Hoey; Davy O’Neill, Eoghan Lawless, Kevin Flynn; Paddy Woodgate, Daniel Flynn, Jimmy Hyland. Subs: Mick O’Grady for Joyce, Kevin O’Callaghan for Hoey and Jack Sargent for D Hyland (all ht), Paul Cribbin for Lawless (46), Aaron Masterson for Power (51), Ben McCormack for O’Neill (55), Ryan Houlihan for Randles (64)

Referee: David Hickey (Carlow)

SEE ALSO – Three new faces appointed to Laois GAA County Board for 2022 season

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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.