Tuesday 21 November 2017

The game at a glance

Man of the match

Ross Munnelly (Laois)

There were a number of contenders, including Enda Williams, Kevin Conlon and Emlyn Mulligan of Leitrim, plus Brendan Quigley and Colm Begley of Laois, but the vote goes to Munnelly, veteran of the 2003 Leinster championship-winning side. He scored some important points and came to the fore in the vital closing stages.

Magic moment

Kevin Conlon's beautifully taken goal for Leitrim in the 24th minute. At a stroke it gave his side a three-point lead and was a real confidence-booster for the players and the home supporters.

Turning point

Conor Boyle's goal for Laois in time added on in the first half. If that hadn't gone in, Leitrim would have had the cushion of a six-point lead going in at the break and that would have made the game much harder for the visitors.

Talking point

Laois are still in the championship giving workmanlike, solid displays, but is there a big-scalp performance in them to make the O'Moore County men shock qualifiers for the quarter-finals? We'll find out after Round 4 next week.

Ref watch

Rory Hickey lasted only 14 minutes before leaving the field due to an injury; Martin Higgins took over as replacement referee and took some time to settle in. And he was not a popular man in Leitrim after penalising goalie Cathal McCrann for a pick-up in the 69th minute, giving MJ Tierney an easy score from a free.

What they said

Justin McNulty (Laois manager):

"It was really in the melting pot. We had to show a huge degree of composure. When the crowd was baying for blood and a few decisions went against us, the guys kept their composure. By the skin of our teeth we got out of here."

Barney Breen (Leitrim co-manager):

"We gave it our best shot and just came up short. In the immediate aftermath we're disappointed because it was there for the taking and we just couldn't take it due to our own mistakes."

Match statistics

Frees: Laois 21 (8 in first half); Leitrim 20 (12)

Wides: Laois 18 (8); Letirim 5 (3)

Yellow cards: Laois 2 (John O'Loughlin 39, Brendan Quigley 71); Leitrim 4 (F McMorrow 32, P Brennan 41, D Sweeney 8, C McCrann 69)

Red cards: 0

Attendance: 5,232

What next?

Laois go on to play Leinster final losers Meath in Round 4 of the qualifiers next weekend; Leitrim's season is over.

Irish Independent

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