Sport Gaelic Football

Monday 11 December 2017

Laois find form to dent Galway's promotion bid

Laois 1-15 Galway 0-10

Declan Rooney

Laois got their Division 2 campaign back on track in O'Moore Park last night as MJ Tierney and Ross Munnelly destroyed a disappointing Galway.

Laois got their Division 2 campaign back on track in O'Moore Park last night as MJ Tierney and Ross Munnelly destroyed a disappointing Galway.

A Gary Walsh goal from the first attack of the game set Laois up nicely for their best showing of the league to date, but they were aided by Galway's wayward shooting and some poor defending.

With leaders Westmeath not in action until tomorrow against Wexford, Alan Mulholland's Galway faced into this tussle eyeing top spot in the division.

But as it turned out both sides now sit in mid-table obscurity, with chances of a spot in the top flight in 2014 looking ever slimmer.

The home support didn't have long to wait for their first score as Walsh rattled the net with a blistering shot from the edge of the large square after barely 30 seconds of game time.

By the 10th minute, Laois had opened out their goal advantage again after points from Munnelly and a Tierney free – but they should have been much further ahead after they hit five wides in the first quarter.

Justin McNulty's tactics of Padraig Clancy as a one-man full-forward line, using Colm Begley as a sweeper and employing runners from deep was perplexing Galway's defence.

Munnelly was proving especially difficult to reign in for Galway's defenders and after Gary Sice had an unsuccessful attempt at silencing the veteran, Gary O'Donnell was switched onto the wing-forward.

But the move was not immediately successful as Munnelly set up Clancy for a fine point from play to give Laois a five-point lead by the 24th minute, but Martin, Niall Coleman and Paul Conroy all kicked points before the break as Laois led 1-7 to 0-6.

Two frees from Conroy gave Galway some temporary respite, but the home side refused to allow them pull back to one score and instead they managed to extend their lead. A free from Walsh was quickly followed by a score from Donie Kingston three minutes after his introduction and a Munnelly special from the right to give McNulty's side a 1-12 to 0-8 lead.

The introduction of Fiontan O Curraoin at midfield did much to ease Galway woes around the middle, but three wides from Conroy, including two frees from the same spot on the left, meant the Laois's lead held solid.

Munnelly landed his fourth point after a mazy run in the 62nd minute, but some desperate wides continued to haunt Galway with Michael Meehan missing a free before Michael Boyle's punched effort missed the target.

The chances of a Galway comeback were given a small boost when Cahir Healy was sent off after he picked up his second yellow card 10 minutes from time, but it mattered not as Laois easily held on to take the victory.

Scorers – Laois: G Walsh 1-4 (3f), MJ Tierney 0-5 (4f), R Munnelly 0-4, P Clancy 0-1, D Kingston 0-1.

Galway: M Martin 0-4 (3f), P Conroy 0-3 (2f), N Coleman 0-1, M Meehan 0-1 (1f), G Sice 0-1.

Laois: E Culliton; K Lillis, D Booth, C Healy; D Strong, J O'Loughlin, P McMahon; B Quigley, C Boyle; R Munnelly, C Begley, B Sheehan; MJ Tierney, P Clancy, G Walsh. Subs: C Meredith for Sheehan (18-29 blood), D Kingston for Clancy (43), C Meredith for Sheehan (49), M Timmons for Lillis (56), D O'Connor for Munnelly (66), K Meaney for Strong (68).

Galway: M Breathnach; J Duane, F Hanley, G Sweeney; G Bradshaw, G O'Donnell, G Sice; N Coleman, A Griffin; M Boyle, P Conroy, S Denvir; E Concannon, M Meehan, M Martin. Subs: F O Curraoin for Griffin (42), S Armstrong for Concannon (44), C Doherty for Denvir (46), D Cummins for Martin (53), K Kelly for Bradshaw (56),

Referee: C Lane (Cork).

Irish Independent

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