Byrne goal crucial as Laois hang on
Laois had to withstand a ferocious comeback from Longford in O'Moore Park to claim a win in the first round of the Leinster championship.
Donncha Phelan's men looked home and hosed as they entered the final quarter with a nine-point lead. However, they then managed just two points while Longford reduced the deficit to a goal.
They missed several opportunities to get that goal too. Cian Dooner blazed wide, Darragh O'Connell hit the post and their final chance fell to substitute Reece Reilly and he drew a fantastic save from Tom Wright in the Laois goals.
Laois had the breeze in the first half and, thanks to three points from Eamonn Delaney at wing-back, they led 0-8 to 0-3 at the break.
Longford re-started well with an O'Connell point but they were rocked when Seamus Farrelly's pass found Oisin Byrne who rattled the net.
But back came Longford and they made Laois sweat, until an injury-time point from substitute Seamus Farrelly eased any lingering nerves.
Scorers - Laois: O Byrne 1-2 (2fs), E Delaney 0-3 (2fs), S O'Neill and D Galvin 0-2 each, N Carey, S Greene and S Farrelly 0-1 each. Longford: C Dooner 0-5 (3fs), E McCormack, K McGann 0-2 each, D O'Connell and J Borland 0-1 each.
Laois - T Wright; S Greene, M Bennett, C Byrne; N Carey, C Bennett, E Delaney; B Conroy; J Lacey; SM Corcoran, S O'Neill, D Galvin; O Byrne, D Larkin, R Murphy. Subs: S Farrelly for Corcoran (27), C Doyle for Conroy (42), B Whelan for Larkin (47), M O'Connell for Lacey (56), J Kelly for Delaney (58), R Bolger for Byrne (58).
Longford - P Murray; R Kenny, D Ciglianio, C Nolan; C Belton, J Moran, P Dempsey; C Leonard, R Prior; C O Nualláin, E Finneran, D O'Connell; C Dooner, E McCormack, K McGann. Subs: A Quinn for O Nuallain (35), J Borland for Leonard (37), J Martin for McGann (46), R Reilly for Prior (53).
REF - Chris Dwyer (Offaly).
Beirne points the way as Lilies cruise
Alex Beirne’s 1-5 gave Kildare a comfortable first-round win against Wexford at St Conleth’s Park.
It was a tough afternoon for Wexford. Trailing by 0-8 to 0-0 in the 18th minute, the sending off of half-back Ollie Gahan in the 21st minute obliterated their revival chances.
Despite two consecutive Lee Jordan frees opening Wexford’s account by the 20th minute, four points apiece from Beirne and Muiris Curtin gave Kildare a 0-12 to 0-2 lead at half-time, underpinned by Drew Costello and Marcus Kiely’s dominance in midfield.
As Wexford failed to register a point from play throughout the entire game, Kildare’s onslaught continued.
Two points from Tom Brown, before Beirne scored his 43rd-minute goal, gave Kildare a 16-point lead.
Kildare eventually finished with a spread of seven scorers on what proved to be a stroll in the sunshine.
SCORERS – Kildare: A Beirne 1-5, M Curtin 0-5 (1f), T Browne, J Smyth 0-2 each, P McDermott, M Kiely and P Behan 0-1 each. Wexford: L Jordan 0-7 (7f).
KILDARE – J Ball; O O’Loughlin, S Hill, J Hamill; D Caulfield, L Broderick, P McDermott; D Costello, M Kiely; T Browne, A Beirne, M McGovern; M Curtin, P Behan, J Smyth. Subs: S Englishby for O’Loughlin (38), S Morrissey for Smyth (42), N Jackman for Broderick (50), S Moore for Behan (55), A Kennedy for Hill (55), J Cleary for Costello (60).
WEXFORD – A Larkin; J Sheehan, R Murphy, J O’Leary; O Gahan, M Kehoe, H Kehoe; E Cullen, C Kavanagh; J Finnucane, E Nolan, N Connolly; J Doran, L Jordan, C Kehoe. Subs: A Breen for Finnucane (24), J Devereux for Breen (33), P Casey for Connolly (h/t), C O’Reagan for Kehoe (42), L Nolan for Nolan (53), S Murphy for Doran (60).
REF – S Johnson (Louth)