Sunday 27 May 2018

Laois squeeze past Wexford in thriller after stoppage-time reprieve

Laois 2-21 Wexford 1-18

Donal Kingston of Laois in action against Wexford's Michael Furlong. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Donal Kingston of Laois in action against Wexford's Michael Furlong. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Sean McGoldrick

Dublin might be a cut above the rest in the Leinster football championship, but their dominance hasn't robbed the series of its competitive edge. Division 4 champions Laois, and Wexford who were relegated from Division 3 this season, served up a thrilling contest in Wexford Park last night which was finally decided in extra time which the visitors dominated.

Man of the Match Donie Kingston hit 1-6 including a late penalty which tied up the scores for the first time in the match. Wexford still looked to have won the game deep in injury time when Donal Shanley pointed a penalty, but with the last kick in normal time Laois defender Gareth Dillon earned the visitors a dramatic 75th minute reprieve when he kicked the equalising point

But it was Laois who took the initiative in extra time with a goal from Kieran Lillis in the first period proving the decisive score as the visitors hit 1-6 while a tiring Wexford could only manage 0-3 in reply.

Laois now advance to meet Westmeath in the provincial quarter final while Wexford will be hoping for a change of fortune in the qualifiers.

Kieran Lillis of Laois celebrates after scoring a goal against Wexford. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Kieran Lillis of Laois celebrates after scoring a goal against Wexford. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Aided by the breeze Wexford completely dominated the first half - they were three points up after just four minutes with late replacement John Tubritt, the game's top scorer from play with 0-5, causing problems for the Laois defence.

By half time Wexford led 1-10 to 0-3 their goal was scored by centre back Naomhan Rossiter who was set up by his brother Tiernan, but the home side lost full-back Jim Rossiter through injury just before the break which was to prove significant.

Donie Kingston and Ross Munnelly led the Laois fightback in the second half as Wexford fought a rearguard action. Still Tubett's fifth point from play in the 67th minute seemed it might be enough to send Wexford into the next round.

But Laois were then awarded a very dubious penalty for a foul on substitute Niall Donoher. Donie Kingston calmly slotted the kick to tie up the scores for the first time since the throw-in.

But the drama was far from finished. In the third minute of the allocated four minutes of injury time Wexford's Brian Malone was hauled down in the opposite penalty area by Stephen Attride.

Predictably, Donal Shanley opted to kick the penalty over the bar. But as the contest ticked into the fifth minute of injury time the referee allowed Laois one more chance. Goalkeeper Graham Brody again joined the fray but it was corner-back Gareth Dillon who held his nerve to kick the equaliser and send the contest into extra time.

Wexford's James Stafford in action against Kieran Lillis of Laois. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Wexford's James Stafford in action against Kieran Lillis of Laois. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Laois: G Brody; R Fennell, M Timmons, G Dillon (0-1); T Collins (0-1), C Begley, S Attride (0-2); J O'Loughlin, K Lillis (1-0); A Farrell, D Kingston (1-6, 1-0 pen, 3f), D O'Connor; R Munnelly (0-5, 3f), D Conway (0-1), G Walsh (0-1, 1f). Subs: B Carroll for Walsh ht; N Donoher for Farrell 47m; P Kingston (0-3) for Fennell 50m, D Strong (0-1) for Conway 59m, T Shiel for Munnelly 66m. ET: F Crowley for O'Connor 75m; D Booth for Dillon 86m, D Holland for Collins 88m.

Wexford: C Swaine; M Furlong, J Rossiter, C Carty; G Malone (0-1), N Rossiter (1-0), S Doyle (0-1), B Malone, D Waters (0-1), J Stafford (0-1), E Nolan, B Brosnan, P Curtis, J Tubritt (0-5), D Shanley (0-8, 6f, 1 45 1 pen). Subs: T Rossiter for Curtis 11m; A Nolan for J Rossiter 35m; E Porter for Brosnnan 50m, N Doyle for Stafford 59m, N Doyle for Stafford 59m; B O'Gorman for S Doyle 69m. ET: J Stafford for O'Gorman 78m, D Shannon for T Rossister 78m; D Pepper (0-1) for Alan 80m;

Referee: M McNally (Monaghan)

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