Second-half comeback sets up Laois U-21s for Dublin date
Laois are through to the Leinster U-21 FC semi-final after sub Evan O'Carroll inspired them to victory over Wicklow tonight.
Laois were favourites coming into the game, but Wicklow soon put paid to that with a blistering start. Gary Allen and Marc Lennon pointed before brilliant work from Michael O'Connor set up Lennon for a tap in.
The hosts were stunned by that barrage, but settled down thanks to a hat-trick of frees from Sean Moore. Tom Shiel added another from play, while at the other end, Allen was proving a real thorn in the side of the Laois defence.
The goal separated the teams for most of the half, but Wicklow then struck for their second goal in the 23rd minute, a classy finish from Allen to the bottom corner. Laois managed a couple of points in reply, but Wicklow lead 2-6 to 0-7 at the interval.
Wicklow remained well ahead in the second half until Laois sprung senior star Evan O'Carroll from the bench, and he turned the game on its head. Having trailed by six, Laois went on a 0-10 to 0-1 scoring run to take a three point lead going into the last ten minutes, with O'Carroll kicking three of them.
Wicklow were thrown a late lifeline when Michael O'Connor was fouled for a penalty, but Marc Lennon's effort cannoned off the crossbar, and Laois saw the game out from there, despite Ruairi Mannon's injury time goal.
SCORERS - Laois: S Moore 0-8 (6f), E O'Carroll 0-3, T Shiel 0-3 (1f), N Murphy 0-2, E Keane, B Daly, C Hogan, M Keogh 0-1 each.
Wicklow: G Allen 1-6 (3f), M Lennon, R Mannon 1-1 each, S McGraynor 0-1.
LAOIS - A Cooney; L Knowles, A Campion, E Buggie; A Carroll, R Dowling, T Collins; B Daly, D O'Reilly; C Murphy, N Murphy, T Shiel; S Moore, E Lowry, M Keogh. Reps - C Hogan for Carroll (29), E O'Carroll for C Murphy (33), P O'Sullivan for Campion (44), E Keane for Lowry (47), D Doyle for Keogh (52), A Brennan for Buggie (62)
WICKLOW - I Murphy; E Kelly, C McGorman, E Marsh; M Cullen, E Murtagh, C Magee; D Boothman, S McGraynor; J Callaghan, P O'Connor, G Allen; C Healy, M Lennon, M O'Connor. Reps - D Gethengs for Healy (18), P Manning for McGraynor (46), R Mannon for Allen (52, BC), P Murtagh for M O'Connor (57)
Ref - C Dwyer (Offaly)