Munnelly ensures Laois get over line
Causing the shock of the week for a second time in a row proved beyond Leitrim's reach as Justin McNulty's Laois continue their progress through the qualifiers in Carrick-on-Shannon last night.
Leitrim got off to a flying start once again and two frees from Emlyn Mulligan were followed by a sweet point from play by Ray Cox.
An injury to referee Rory Hickey saw him replaced by stand-by official Martin Higgins after just 14 minutes, but either side of the change Laois found their feet as Ross Munnelly, Gary Walsh and Pardaig Clancy all hit points for a 0-4 to 0-3 lead.
Mulligan kicked Leitrim level with a free after Higgins failed to apply the advantage rule when Cox pointed, but 11 minutes from the break he applied it and allowed Kevin Conlon barrel through on goal and he found the top corner for the home side.
Two more Mulligan frees and a terrific point from wing-back Colm Clarke gave Leitrim a five-point lead, but they shot themselves in the foot in first-half injury-time when goalkeeper Cathal McCrann dropped a MJ Tierney effort at the feet of Conor Boyle, who found the net with ease.
Leitrim led 1-8 to 1-5 at the break but in the second half the gap was soon down to a point after Colm Begley and Billy Sheehan landed two points in a minute.
And Munnelly proved the hero as two points either side of Colm Kelly's score and a well-struck free from Tierney sealed the win for Laois.
Scorers -- Laois: C Boyle 1-0, R Munnelly 0-3, G Walsh, C Kelly (1f), MJ Tierney (2f), C Begley 0-2 each, P Clancy, B Sheehan 0-1 each. Leitrim: E Mulligan (6f) 0-6, K Conlon 1-2, R Cox 0-2, C Clarke 0-1.
Laois: E Culliton; K Meaney, C Healy, J Kavanagh; P McMahon, J O'Loughlin, C Boyle; B Quigley, C Begley; R Munnelly, P Clancy, D O'Connor; B Sheehan, G Walsh, C Kelly. Subs: P O'Leary for Kavanagh (24), MJ Tierney for O'Connor (31), D Strong for McMahon (59), D Conway for Kelly (61), O'Connor for Sheehan (69).
Leitrim: C McCrann; P Maguire, F McMorrow, C Clarke; A Wynne, E Williams, D Beck; D Sweeney, S Moran; G Hickey, E Mulligan, P Brennan; R Cox, J Glancy, K Conlon. Subs: R Lowe for Moran (58), C Ryan for Brennan (58), B McDonald for Conlon (63) K Conlon for Glancy (65).
Referee: R Hickey (Clare)
Sunday Indo Sport