Saturday 25 January 2020

O'Gara the difference for Dublin

Dublin 1-14 Laois 1-9

John Harrington

A tour de force performance from full-forward Eoghan O'Gara was the defining factor in this topsy-turvy game in Portlaoise.

He finished 1-5 from play, and played with the sort of swagger that suggests he now has the confidence and all-round game to complement the strength that had already made him a handful for opposition defences.

Laois began brightly, and three points from Ross Munnelly and another from Padraig Clancy helped them into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead. But Dublin responded and led by 0-7 to 0-6 at half-time.

Diarmuid Connolly scored two sublime points at the start of the second half to keep up their momentum. O'Gara, too, was still in the mood and his point put Dublin 0-10 to 0-6 ahead.

Laois sensed they might still have a chance though when Dublin kicked a couple of sloppy wides, and when Colm Kelly landed a free and then Munnelly kicked another superb point, the fightback was on. But it soon petered out. When Munnelly missed a kickable free to cut the gap to just one, Dublin took advantage of the let-off by blitzing Laois with four points in as many minutes, two of them from the by now unstoppable O'Gara.

Laois looked down, but Munnelly proved they weren't out by arcing a spectacular shot to the top corner for a goal that made it 0-14 to 1-8.

Man of the match O'Gara wasn't finished yet and sealed Dublin's first League win of the campaign when he smashed the ball to the net after another charging run.

Scorers -- Dublin: E O'Gara 1-5, D Connolly (1f) 0-5, T Quinn 0-2 (1f), P Flynn, A Brogan 0-1 each. Laois: R Munnelly 1-4 (1f), C Kelly 0-2 (2f) P Cahillane, P Clancy C Begley all 0-1.

Dublin: M Savage; D Daly, R O'Carroll, P McMahon; D Byrne, G Brennan, C Dias; R McConnell, E Fennell; P Brogan, K McManamon, P Flynn; D Connolly, E O'Gara, T Quinn. Subs: B Cullen for P Brogan (32), MD McAuley for R McConnell and A Brogan for K McManamon (both 54), P Andrews for T Quinn (61).

Laois: E Culliton; C Healy, K Lillis, P O'Leary; D Strong, K Meaney, C Boyle; B Quigley, J O'Loughlin; R Munnelly, C Begley, D O'Connor; P Cahillane, P Clancy, B Sheehan. Subs: C Kelly for P Clancy (32), S Conroy (46), B Mulligan for B Sheehan (64), J Kavanagh for D O'Connor (67).

Referee: D Coldrick (Meath).

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