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Laois hang on at the death to stun Offaly


Tommy Fitzgerald of Laois. Photo: Sportsfile

Tommy Fitzgerald of Laois. Photo: Sportsfile

Tommy Fitzgerald of Laois. Photo: Sportsfile

LAOIS thoroughly deserved their shock victory over Offaly in Tullamore despite the home side's fightback near the end.

Leading 1-17 to 0-13 inside the last 10 minutes, the visitors looked set to coast home to the facile win that their fine performance deserved.

However, Offaly almost denied them at the death. First, Brian Carroll cut the gap with a free and then Dan Currams got a fortunate goal when his close-range effort crept under the diving Eoin Reilly.

That left three points in it, but Laois crucially got the next score, a free from sharp-shooter Stephen Maher.

Despite that, Offaly wing-back Dermot Mooney batted the ball to the net to make it a one-point game, but the last score went to Laois' Tommy Fitzgerald (pictured) as they held on to win by two points, 1-19 to 2-14, even though Brian Stapleton was given his marching orders with a second yellow card late on.

Wexford, reduced to 14 men, were given a scare by Antrim, but held on for a one-point victory, 0-15 to 1-11, at Ballycastle.

Richie Kehoe saw red after a 33rd-minute exchange with Antrim full-forward Neil McManus, but the Model men went on to dominate the third quarter to lead by 0-15 to 0-8 despite trailing a by a point at the break.

Points from Paul Shiels and Conor Johnston edged Antrim closer, and, when Daniel McKernan drew a loose ball to the net on 70 minutes, just a point separated the sides. Shiels had a chance to earn a share of the spoils in injury-time, but his free drifted wide.

Shane Dowling was the hero for Limerick as he notched up 11 of his side's 17-point total in the draw against Cork on Saturday, including the injury-time equaliser at Páirc Uí Rinn.

Sub Michael O'Sullivan looked to have given the Rebels the spoils against the visitors' 14 men, but Dowling calmly converted what Cork manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy felt was a soflty awarded free, which came after the allotted two minutes had been played.

"I was amazed that the free was given, I thought it was a completely accidental clash. I didn't know what it was for," Barry-Murphy said.

"Injury-time doesn't seem to matter where we're concerned, if it was the other way round, we'd hear about Cork getting the advantage!"

Limerick lost Graeme Mulcahy to a red card when trailing by 0-9 to 0-4 after 26 minutes, but their doggedness was such that they continued to persevere, greatly helped by Dowling's excellence from dead balls, which meant the game finished 0-17 all.