LAOIS boss Justin McNulty was left fuming by an ‘unacceptable’ second half decision which he claimed proved the turning point in Derry’s three point victory at a sodden Celtic Park on Sunday.
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McNulty’s team lead 2-7 to 0-9 at half-time after Ross Munnelly and Damien O’Connor had taken advantage of some shocking Derry defending. Laois were still in control at 2-8 to 0-12 in the 47th minute when Munnelly tapped over for what appeared to be a point for a three point lead.
However the half-forward’s shot, - which clearly sailed over the bar - rebounded over the posts’ back stanchion and back into play with Padraig Clancy rolling his tame follow-up wide of the gaping goal with the expectation the point had been scored. However, neither umpire appeared sure if the ball had gone over the bar and after prolonged consultation with both, referee Joe McQuillan signalled a wide to dismay of the O’Moore county .
To rub salt into Laois wounds, Derry corner-back Dermot McBride went straight up to pitch and got himself on the end of flowing move to cut the visitors’ lead to the minimum and signal a marked shift in momentum. Even the 58th minute dismissal of half-forward James Kielt for a needless second yellow card, couldn’t derail the Oak Leaf surge.
Laois went 20 minutes without scoring late in the game when Derry were a man short adding just one point from the 51st minute until the final whistle.
There was little between the sides in the first half and approaching the break they were locked at 0-8 to 1-5 with Laois’ goal coming from Ross Munnelly.
However a second goal, this time from Damien O’Connor and points from Ross Munnelly and Gary Walsh to just one in reply from Derry left Laois four points ahead at the break at 2-7 to 0-9.
However Derry tightened up in the second-half and Laois found scores harder to come by. With 51 minutes on the clock, Laois lead 2-10 to 0-13 but Derry got back on terms with a goal from Emmett McGuckin.
Despite being down to 14 men, Derry restricted Laois to just one further point while the added another four to pull away for the win.
See this week’s Leinster Express for full report, reaction and photos from the game.
Watch the following YouTube clips to see just how far over the bar the ball was.