Laois exited the All-Ireland Qualifiers series after a brave performance against Donegal in Carrick-on-Shannon on Saturday, reports Rory Delaney.
The final six point winning margin flattered Donegal, although they did deserve to win having shown a bit more economy in attack.
The throw in was delayed by over 20 minutes due to traffic congestion, but the early stages didn’t throw up much worth waiting for, as both teams set up very defensively.
Laois only managed one point in the first half, from Ross Munnelly, as Donegal lead 0-5 to 0-1 at the break.
They really upped their game in the second half though, and chipped away at Donegal’s lead, thanks to Munnelly and Donie Kingston. With less than five minutes to go Laois were only two down, 0-10 to 0-8, but Donegal finished strong to book a place in the quarter-finals.
Afterwards, Laois manager Justin McNulty refused to be drawn on his future in the job, admitting he will talk to the county board to determine whether he is the right man to bring Laois forward.
See this week’s print edition of the Leinster Express for more reports, reaction and analysis.
SCORERS - Laois: Ross Munnelly 0-4 (2f), Donie Kingston 0-2, Conor Meredith, David Conway 0-1 each; Donegal: Colm McFadden 0-6 (4f), Paddy McBrearty 0-3, Michael Murphy 0-2 (1f), Leo McLoone, David Walsh, Neil McGee 0-1 each
LAOIS: Eoin Culliton; Paul Begley, Mark Timmons, Peter O’Leary; Darren Strong, Kieran Lillis, Padraig McMahon; Padraig Clancy, John O’Loughlin; Ross Munnelly, Billy Sheehan, Colm Begley; Conor Meredith, Donie Kingston, Evan O’Carroll. Subs: Conor Boyle for Clancy (20 mins), Stephen Attride for O’Carroll (25 mins), Denis Booth for P Begley (42 mins), David Conway for O’Leary (52 mins), Colm Kelly for Sheehan (67 mins)
DONEGAL: Paul Durcan; Paddy McGrath, Neil McGee, Eamon McGee; Declan Walsh, Frank McGlynn, Anthony Thompson; Rory Kavanagh, Neil Gallagher; David Walsh, Michael Murphy, Ryan Bradley; Patrick McBrearty, Colm McFadden, Ryan McHugh. Subs: Karl Lacey for McGrath (54 mins), Michael McElhinny for Bradley (66 mins), Leo McLoone for David Walsh (67 mins), Daniel McLaughlin for Declan Walsh (71 mins)
Referee: Marty Duffy (Sligo)