Championship round-up: Laois and Longford advance in Leinster
Laois and Longford opened their Leinster championship accounts with wins, with the O’Moore County now advancing to face Dublin.
Laois 0-21 Wicklow 1-11
After the furore surrounding the dropping of Colm Begley, Laois did most of their talking on the pitch and in Ross Munnelly had the stand-out performer.
The star forward helped himself to nine points and Wicklow struggled in the second period to keep tabs, at one stage conceding six successive points without reply.
A Paul Cunningham goal just before half-time for Wicklow left the sides level at the break, 1-5 to 0-8, but as the game wore on Laois’ added class up front was telling.
Donie Kingston too was a handful, though Tomas O’Flaharta knows a huge step-up is required when they face the reigning All-Ireland champions in the next round.
Longford 0-19 Offaly 0-15
At Pearse Park, Longford saw off a spirited Offaly challenge to set-up a quarter-final clash with Wexford.
Despite the best efforts of Niall McNamee, the Faithful County pushed the home side all the way but could not edge past in a closely fought second-half, who had David Hanlon red-carded with less than five minutes remaining.
Paul Barden had had a goal controversially disallowed and also dragged a one-on-one opportunity wide but the home side still entered the break 0-10 to 0-08 ahead.
McNamee drew the teams level with one of his three frees in the second half, but Longford pulled away in the closing exchanges with Francis McGee, Barden and Brian Kavanagh all pointing in their first championship victory over Offaly in 49 years.
In the Leinster hurling, Carlow defeated Westmeath on a scoreline of 0-14 to 0-09, while Laois had just three points to spare over London, 0-16 to 2-13