Carlow hang on to beat deny Laois an upset
Laois 1-12 Carlow 1-10
Two neighbouring counties produced a quality first round in the U20 football championship tie at Netwatch Cullen Park.
Long before the ball was thrown in, the rain had fallen and for the entire game players had to contend with conditions which were far from ideal. Yet they went about their business with a heart-and-a half. If the home side had got a break or two they could well have caused a major surprise.
They ran at Laois from the very start. Evan Corr and Bryan McMahon (free) knocked over a point a piece. Oisin Hooney replied for Laois from play. Carlow attacked down the left which put Eoghan Byrne clear and his low shot beat Conor Brown in the Laois goal.
The visitors hit back and having already converted a free, David Costello coolly stroked a penalty to the net.
Carlow keeper, Ben McCarron, did well when he saved at the foot of his left-hand post as Laois threatened to take over. That may have acted as a lift for the home side who recovered from conceding 1-3 in a matter of minutes.
The game was finely balanced and with Shaun Fitzpatrick scoring three points from play, Laois led 1-7 to 1-4 at the interval.
In both scoring terms and the possession stakes Carlow edged the second half. Bryan McMahon was deadly accurate from frees but Oisin Hooney and Colin Dunne scored quality points for Laois.
With time ebbing away, there was only one between them but a Laois attack produced a free which Dunne converted. An unlucky Carlow eventually ran out of time in what was a game of inches.
Laois: S Fitzpatrick 0-4, D Costello 1-1 (1-0 pen 1f), C Dunne 0-3 (1f), O Hooney 0-2, C Browne 0-1 (45), C Kelly 0-1(f).
Carlow: E Byrne 1-2, B McMahon 0-4 (fs), E Corr 0-2, K Nolan, C Healy 0-1each.
Laois: C Brown, J Darcy, B Dempsey, S McGrath, C McWey, S Fingleton, D Slevin, B Reddin, C Heffernan, J Hogan, O Hooney, S Fitzpatrick, D Costello, J Byrne, C Kelly.
Subs: J Brennan for Hogan (h/t), S Lennon for Darcy (37), C Dunne for Kelly (37), J Kelly for Byrne (51), T Fennelly for Reddin (55).
Carlow: B McCarron, J Whelan, A Delaney, L Coleman, C Healy, E Corr, J Deacy, D Curran, J Phiri, Kieran Nolan, S Cormican, E Byrne, T Behan, B McMahon, J Egan.
Subs: L Gavin for Nolan (46), C McGrath for Healy (57), C O’Neill for Egan (61).
Referee: D Byrne (Wicklow).