Damien Lowry brought the curtain down on the opening weekend of the Laois Senior Football Championship with a stunning injury time winning point to edge Killeshin past Timahoe in O’Moore Park on Sunday night
His huge score was one of the rare moments of quality in this decidedly average affair and both sides will have to improve dramatically if they are to be involved in the latter stages of the competition.
From the outset it was seen as one of the standout ties of the round but it never lived up to that billing. The fact that it took fourteen minutes for the game’s first score from play left the large crowd in the stand in little doubt as to the scrappy encounter that was in store.
Ruairi O’Connor and Eoin Lowry traded frees before a Sean Ramsbottom free edged Timahoe in front. Ramsbottom swiped a lovely point over from thirty yards soon after that but Killeshin finally got some rhythm going and four points on the trot saw them take the lead.
Eoin Lowry’s hit three of those, two frees and a decent score in the 22nd minute that was his sides first from play, and Gavin Brennan chipped in with the other, although only for a superb double save from Timahoe keeper Roghan Headen and defender Donnacha Culleton, Brennan would have the green rather the white flag to mark his efforts.
Headen had already denied Eoin Lowry with a superb one-handed save only minutes earlier, and with the men in green wasting a number of very scoreable chances, you got the feeling that Timahoe might punish those misses.
And so it proved to be just before the half time whistle. Not for the first time, Killeshin tried a short free from a very kickable area, Timahoe cleared their lines and in what seemed like a flash the ball was in the back of the Killeshin net at the other end of the field.
Sean Ramsbottom’s long low ball was gathered by the ever-tricky Ruairi O’Connor and he skipped past his man before sending a bullet of a shot across goal and into the top left hand corner of the net.
That goal left Timahoe leading by one at the break, and when they rattled off the second half’s first four scores, including their second goal, the game looked to be done and dusted.
Ruairi O’Connor followed a free with a point that he probably should have send under rather than over the bar but when he gathered the next long ball in similar fashion, his marker Stephen Attride hauled him to the turf and O’Connor dusted himself off before driving the penalty past Shane Coakley.
Sean Ramsbottom increased his tally with another super score and Timahoe were leading by 2-6 to 0-5 with just over twenty minutes left.
It was far from over however. A minute later Killeshin were back in it when Cathal Brennan raced onto a loose ball and tucked a low shot into the net to finally get the better of Roghan Headen.
Buoyed on by that Killeshin rattled over the next four points to restore parity and set up a thrilling finale. Sean Ramsbottom restored his sides lead yet again with another fine score five minutes from time.
That was the end of the Timahoe scoring however, and they would be made to pay for that as Killeshin somehow managed to take full advantage.
Stephen Attride fired over a cool equaliser despite another short free going wrong for Eoin Lowry and just as the clock ticked over the hour mark Damian Lowry launched a monstrous effort to assure Killeshin’s dramatic passage to the Winners Round.
SCORERS - Killeshin: Eoin Lowry 0-7 (0-4 frees, 0-1 45), Cathal Brennan 1-0, Stephen Attride 0-2, Gavin Brennan and Damian Lowry 0-1 each; Timahoe: Ruairi O’Connor 2-3 (1-0 pen, 0-2 frees), Sean Ramsbottom 0-4 (0-1 free).
KILLESHIN: Shane Coakley; Stephen Attride, Jeremy Mahon, James Davis; Jeff McDermott, Kevin Ryan, Eoin Farrell; Gavin Brennan, Eoin Brennan; Ruairi Mannion, Arnie Mahon, Simon Attride; Eoin Lowry, Damien Lowry, Cathal Brennan. Subs: Barry Ryan for Farrell (5 mins - inj), Alan Brennan for B Ryan (29 mins), B Ryan for A Mahon (40 mins).
TIMAHOE: Roghan Headen; Richard Oxley, John Lowry, Donnacha Culleton; Ciaran Lennon, Joseph O’Connor, James Whelehan; Sean Ramsbottom, Micheal Kerr; Colm Lalor, Eoin Culleton, Martin Bergin; Ruairi O’Connor, Joe Foyle, Conor Whelehan. Subs: Benny O’Connell for C Whelehan (30 mins), PJ Kelly for O’Connell (46 mins), David O’Connell for Foyle (46 mins), Sean Daly for Bergin (56 mins)
Referee: David Moore (St Joseph’s)