ALLIANZ NFL DIVISION 3

Laois slip up once more to deepen relegation fears

Laois 0-11, Antrim 1-10

David Mohan

Reporter:

David Mohan

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sport@leinsterexpress.ie

Laois slip up once more to deepen relegation fears

Ross Munnelly scored 0-3 for Laois against Antrim on Sunday.

The relegation fears for Laois deepened at Corrigan Park in Belfast on Sunday, as they fell to a two point defeat to Antrim that leaves the O'Moore County joint-bottom of the Division 3 table.

The dismissal of Damien O'Connor and concession of a goal straight after at the end of the opening half proved pivotal for the visitors, who never led in a game that saw both sides kick a dozen wides.

Laois made the early running, but were unable to translate possession into scores as two balls sailed wide aided by the strong cross-field wind. Antrim had no such issue with their first attack as Paddy McBride curled over superbly from out on the right after three minutes.

Both sides were struggling a little with the elements as stray passes began to feature, but Laois finally leveled with Ross Munnelly kicking a free.

The hosts then enjoyed a decent spell with Conor Murray kicking two points within 60 seconds and on 16 minutes, Jack Dowling thumped over to leave Antrim 0-4 to 0-1 ahead.

Laois began to then work their way back into the game with David Conway kicking a fine score from range and Munnelly converting a free, but CJ McGourty replied at the other end when jinking onto his right boot.

The O'Moore County were again enjoying a good spell of possession and Conway did well to create an angle on the left to score before Munnelly tied the game with a shot that was tipped over by Chris Kerr with the clock ticking towards 35 minutes.

There was still plenty of incident however as from the next passage of play, Antrim's Conor Murray and Laois' Damien O'Connor got in a tangle off the ball that saw both yellow carded, but O'Connor was then shown red by referee, Eamonn O'Grady after consultation with his linesman.

From the resumption of play, a Paddy McBride shot dipped and came back off the bar, but Antrim were to get a goal seconds later when the half-cleared ball was lobbed back in by Stephen Beatty that was broken into the path of McGourty by Matthew Fitzpatrick and the St Gall's man finished to the net.

Again the referee's attention was sought by the linesman with Antrim's Kevin Niblock and Laois' David Conway both shown black cards.

There was still time for a late score with Laois' substitute, Evan O'Carroll pointing to make it 1-5 to 0-6 in favour of Antrim at the half.

O'Carroll made it a one point game just after the break, but Antrim really should have had a second goal moments later when Paddy McAleer was clean through on goal but drilled his shot wide.

They were punished further seconds later when Alan Farrell thumped over a beauty to level the game, but Laois were unable to get their noses in front as they began kicking a number of wides.
Paddy McBride fisted Antrim back ahead on 45 minutes, but this was cancelled out by a long-range score from James Finn.

McGourty then converted a free to restore the Saffrons' advantage, but again Laois drew level when Sean Moore kicked a free on 55 minutes to leave it 1-7 to 0-10.

It was certainly all to play for with Laois working hard to combat their numerical disadvantage, but their shooting was letting them down from play and frees.

McGourty again put Antrim ahead from a free on 58 minutes and two minutes later, corner back Conor Hamill advanced up the right and split the posts from distance.

Laois then had a goal chance when they intercepted a slack pass, but they perhaps over elaborated with the ball eventually lobbed across goal for Padraig McMahon to fist over and leave just one in it with five to play.

They couldn't engineer the equaliser however and in injury-time, Antrim broke clear and won a free that McGourty converted to seal the points for Antrim and leave Laois in a precarious position in the relegation battle.

ANTRIM

Scorers: CJ McGourty 1-4 (0-3 frees), Conor Murray, Paddy McBride 0-2 each, Conor Hamill, Jack Dowling 0-1 each.

Team: Chris Kerr; Conor Hamill, Patrick Gallagher, Peter Healy; Paddy McBride, Declan Lynch, Paddy McAleer; Jack Dowling, Stephen Beatty; Kevin Niblock, Ruairi McCann, Matthew Fitzpatrick; CJ McGourty, Conor Murray, Seamus McGarry. Subs: Sean Donnelly for K Niblock (half time, BC), Brendan Bradley for McGarry (47 mins), Sean McVeigh for Donnelly (57 mins), Donal Nugent for Dowling (64 mins), Neil Delargy for Lynch (66 mins).

LAOIS

Scorers: Ross Munnelly 0-3 (0-2 frees), David Conway, Evan O'Carroll 0-2 each, Padraig McMahon, James Finn, Sean Moore (free), Alan Farrell 0-1 each.

Team: Graham Brody; Darren Strong, Denis Booth, Alan Farrell; Stephen Attride, James Kelly, Padraig McMahon; James Finn (0-1), John O'Loughlin; Niall Donoher, David Conway (0-2), Damien O'Connor; Ross Munnelly (0-3, 2 frees), Donal Kingston, Paul Kingston. Subs: Eoin Buggie for Attride (18 mins, inj), Evan O'Carroll (0-2) for D Kingston (25 mins, inj), Sean Moore (0-1 free) for Conway (half time, BC), C Murphy for Munnelly (49 mins), Kieran Lillis for P Kingston (54 mins), Danny O'Reilly for Finn (63 mins).

REFEREE: Eamon O'Grady (Leitrim)