Sport Gaelic Football

Wednesday 21 February 2018

Laois back on the promotion trail

Laois picked up their first win in four league games as they easily accounted for a disappointing Galway side in O'Moore Park.

On a perfect evening for football, it was the home side who dominated from start to finish, with Gary Walsh's goal after 32 seconds setting the tone for the rest of the game.

Galway offered little resistance for most the 70 minutes, in particular in the second half when they scored just four points and hit eight wides.

Laois, on the other hand, were that bit more clinical and, despite Galway starting the game ahead of Laois in the standings, looked a more confident and in-form side.

This much-needed win moves them level on points with the Tribesmen, and with two rounds left, they will be hoping to finish strongly and make a late push for promotion.

They started strongly here, with Brendan Quigley setting Walsh up 14 yards out in the opening seconds and the Ballylinan man's thunderous shot flew past Manus Breathnach.


Michael Martin responded with a free for Galway, but Laois were sprightly in the early exchanges and the superb Ross Munnelly and MJ Tierney both pointed to put them in the clear.

Galway were struggling to make inroads against a resolute Laois defence and further points for the home side from Padraig Clancy and Gary Walsh (two) saw them lead 1-5 to 0-3 after 25 minutes. Galway managed to step things up a little before the break, hitting three points to Laois' two, leaving the score 1-7 to 0-6 at half-time in favour of Laois.

Galway needed to find something in the way of consistency at the start of the second half, but Laois again started brightly with points from Tierney and Walsh opening up a six-point lead. Galway's Paul Conroy hit a couple of frees in quick succession to give them a brief glimmer of hope, but it was quickly extinguished.

Walsh, substitute Donie Kingston and Munnelly had Laois seven clear by the midpoint of the second half and, with Galway continually misfiring in attack, there was only going to be one winner from there.

Both management teams introduced the full complement of substitutes during the second half, but all the changes only further decreased the intensity of the game.

The visitors managed to create a couple of late goal chances, with Danny Cummins seeing one shot from 12 yards out strike the crossbar, and another brilliantly blocked by Denis Booth.

Laois rounded off the scoring when MJ Tierney floated a free over the bar with the last kick of the game and it put the seal on a well-earned win for the midlanders.

Man of the match: R Munnelly (Laois)

SCORERS – Laois: G Walsh 1-4 (2f), MJ Tierney 0-5 (4f), R Munnelly 0-4, P Clancy, D Kingston 0-1 each. Galway: M Martin 0-4 (3f), P Conroy 0-3 (2f), M Meehan (f), N Coleman, G Sice 0-1 each.

LAOIS – E Culliton 6; C Healy 6, D Booth 7, K Lillis 6; D Strong 7, J O'Loughlin 7, P McMahon 8; C Boyle 7, B Quigley 7; R Munnelly 8, B Sheehan 6, C Begley 8; MJ Tierney 8, P Clancy 6, G Walsh 7. Subs: C Meredith for Sheehan (18-29, blood sub), D Kingston 7 for Clancy (43), C Meredith 6 for Sheehan (49), M Timmons 6 for Lillis (57), D O'Connor for Munnelly (67), K Meaney for Strong (68).

GALWAY – M Breathnach 6; J Duane 6, F Hanly 7, G Sweeney 6; G Bradshaw 5, G O'Donnell 6, G Sice 6; N Coleman 6, A Griffin 5; M Doyle 6, P Conroy, 6, S Denvir 5; E Concannon 5, M Meehan 5, M Martin 6. Subs: F O Curraoin 6 for Griffin (42), S Armstrong 6 for Concannon (44), C Doherty 6 for Denvir (47), D Cummins 7 for Martin (53), K Kelly 6 for Bradshaw (55).

Ref – C Lane (Cork)

Irish Independent

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