Laois see off spirited Longford to keep promotion hopes alive
Laois 0-14 Longford 0-12
Laois kept their Division 3 promotion hopes alive with a hard-earned win in a gripping battle.
The hosts had to dig deep, having trailed at half-time despite playing with the aid of a considerable breeze.
They never threatened to stretch clear in that first half. While they led by 0-6 to 0-4 after 20 minutes — with Evan O’Carroll and Ross Munnelly prominent — Longford kicked the next four and led 0-8 to 0-7 at the break.
Midfielder Darren Gallagher hit three points in the first half for Longford and they deserved their narrow advantage at the midway point.
Despite facing into the elements in the second half, Laois improved massively and they reclaimed the lead in the 58th minute when O’Carroll drilled over a ‘45’.
Longford replied when Darragh O’Doherty punched over but Laois, now dominating possession and driven on by experienced midfielder John O’Loughlin, regained the lead when O’Carroll swung over an inspirational score.
Longford were dealt a blow when sub Joseph Fagan was sin-binned with five minutes of normal time remaining and Laois made sure of the win thanks to a fine point from Eoin Lowry.
Both sides remain in promotion contention with two rounds to go, with Laois away to Offaly in two weeks’ time and Longford at home to basement boys Sligo.
Scorers — Laois: E O’Carroll 0-4 (1f, 1 ‘45); R Munnelly, D Kingston (1f, 1m) 0-3 each; C Boyle (m), J O’Loughlin, S Attride, E Lowry 0-1 each. Longford: D Gallagher 0-4 (2f); J McGivney, M Hughes, D Doherty 0-2; L Connerton, M Quinn 0-1 each.
Laois: G Brody; S Attride, M Timmons, G Dillon; M Scully, R Pigott, C Begley; J O’Loughlin, K Lillis; S Byrne, B Carroll, C Boyle; R Munnelly, E O’Carroll, D Kingston. Subs: T Collins for Byrne (h-t), S O’Flynn for Pigott (50), C Murphy for Kingston (58), E Lowry for Boyle (61), P Cahillane for Scully (71).
Longford: P Collum; P Fox, A Farrell, B O’Farrell; C Smyth, D McElligott, D Quinn; D Gallagher, M Quinn; R McEntire, J McGivney, D Mimnagh; D Doherty, C Berry, L Connerton. Subs: M Hughes for Berry (inj, 19), J Keegan for McEntire (h-t), J Hagan for Hughes (65).
Referee: C Lane (Cork).