Wednesday 21 February 2018

Carroll shines as Offaly condemn Laois to drop

Offaly 3-15 Laois 4-11

Starring role: Eoin Carroll. Photo: Piaras O Midheach/Sportsfile
Starring role: Eoin Carroll. Photo: Piaras O Midheach/Sportsfile newsdesk

Offaly maintained their status in Division 3 after a pulsating and dramatic encounter with local rivals Laois that sent the O'Moore County down to Division 4.

Darren Strong's effort with the last kick of the game for Laois was touch and go whether it was over the bar but it was waved wide and Offaly survived by a point having led by seven points with 20 minutes to go.

Laois got the opening two scores of the game after seven minutes but Offaly bounced back in style with 1-4 on the spin. Eoin Carroll and Joseph O'Connor landed fine points before Sean Doyle found the net in the 17th minute to leave them 1-4 to 0-2 in front.

Donie Kingston briefly interrupted the onslaught but the home side landed three scores from Eoin Carroll, Joseph O'Connor and Michael Brazil to push them 1-7 to 0-3 ahead on 23 minutes. With Carroll in a class of his own, he soon kicked his third point but Laois were given a lifeline with five minutes left in the half. Alan Mulhall misjudged a high ball and Kingston had the simplest of tasks to steer the ball to the empty net before Laois fired two more points to leave it 1-9 to 1-6 at half-time.

Graham Guilfoyle had Offaly's second goal a mere 20 seconds after the restart but Laois got right back in the game soon after when Kevin Meaney got his sides' second goal to leave it 2-10 to 2-6 after 40 minutes. The 45th minute was pivotal. David Hanlon powered through and fed Doyle for his second goal to put Offaly 3-11 to 2-8 in front. Referee Anthony Nolan then produced a second yellow for Kevin Meaney for an infringement in the lead up to the goal as things got worse for Laois.

Offaly stretched their lead to seven points with 20 minutes to go but Donie Kingston clipped a penalty to the corner on 59 minutes and the big full-forward completed his hat-trick three minutes later when he found the net at the second attempt as Offaly now only led by a point - 3-14 to 4-10 - with eight minutes to go.

Bernard Allen and Donie Kingston exchanged points to leave one between them as injury time played out and Offaly hung on.

Scorers - Offaly: S Doyle 2-1, N Dunne 0-4 (2f , 1 '45), E Carroll & B Allen (2f) 0-3 each, G Guilfoyle 1-0, J O'Connor 0-2, M Brazil & N Darby 0-1 each. Laois: D Kingston 3-4 (1-0 pen, 3f), K Meaney 1-1, D Conway, P Kingston, E O'Carroll, A Farrell, P McMahon, J O'Loughlin 0-1 each.

OFFALY - A Mulhall 6; P Cunningham 5, J Lalor 7, B Darby 7; N Darby 7, M Brazil 8, C Donohoe 7; E Carroll 9, D Hanlon 8, J O'Connor 8, G Guilfoyle 7, S Nally 7; B Allen 8, N Dunne 8, S Doyle 8. Subs: D Brady 6 for P Cunningham (BC 5), J Maloney 7 for S Doyle (61), W Mulhall 6 for D Hanlon (69).

LAOIS - G Brody 7; D Strong 7, D Booth 6, J Kelly 6; P McMahon 7, E Buggie 6, D O'Connor 6; J O'Loughlin 7, K Meaney 6; A Farrell 6, D Conway 7, A Doran 6; D Kingston 8, E O'Carroll 6, P Kingston 6. Subs: G Walsh 5 for A Doran (30), N Donoher 6 for P Kingston (44), D Luttrell 6 for G Walsh (49), S Moore 7 for D O'Connor (56), G Dillon for A Farrell (66), D O'Reilly for E O'Carroll (69).

Ref - A Nolan (Wicklow)

Irish Independent

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