The Laois U-20 footballers are through to the Leinster final following tonight's nine point victory over Meath at O'Moore Park, Billy O'Loughlin's side easily navigating past the Meath challenge.
Laois 1 - 13
Meath 0 - 7
Leinster U-20 Football Championship Semi-Final
Laois dominated this fixture from start to finish, keeping their Meath opposition confined to a solitary three points in the opening half - all of which came from placed balls. The second-half did not differ much to the first, Laois not needing to be at full-tilt to book their place in the finale.
Laois almost had a goal from the off, Ronan Coffey sailing through before fumbling right as he pulled the trigger. The Portarlington man poked the loose ball over the bar for the opening score of the game. Diarmuid Whelan got a glimpse of the posts two minutes later, and the captain's rich form this year carried as he duly doubled the Laois advantage.
Luke Mitchell converted a brace of close-range frees for the visitors either side of an Alan Kinsella point to leave Laois 0-3 to ahead, but Meath would fail to register another score for 20 minutes as Laois dominated.
The opening goal of the game arrived with ten minutes played when a pinpoint pass from Colin Slevin went straight to Dan McCormack, and the towering full-forward unselfishly laid the ball off to the oncoming Alan Kinsella who palmed to an empty net.
Points followed for Billy O'Loughlin's side from Colin Slevin, Dan McCormack, Diarmuid Whelan and Mark Barry before Meath would end their drought two minutes before the break.
Daithi McGowan sent over their third free and point of the half, before Ronan Coffey drew the half to a close and send Laois in eight points clear on a scoreline of 1-8 to 0-3.
Michael Doran extended the Laois lead a minute after the restart and Meath chirped back with their first of the day from play through Jordan Morris. Meath had a goal chance fall to substitute Cathal Finnegan not long after, but Matthew Byron pulled off a brilliant save to deny Meath.
Laois continued to pull the strings with a Mark Barry brace and a point from substitute Jack Owens pushing their lead out further. Matthew Costello and Mark Barry exchanged points, but the final point of the day went to Meath with a free from Aaron Lynch in the sixth minute of injury-time.
Laois now advance to the Leinster final on Friday 19 July where Dublin awaits following their 1-17 to 0-6 victory over Wexford this evening also.
*See Tuesday's Leinster Express Sport for full coverage
Scorers: Alan Kinsella 1-1, Diarmuid Whelan 0-2, Ronan Coffey 0-2, Colin Slevin 0-1, Dan McCormack 0-1, Mark Barry 0-1 (free),
Team: xMatthew Byron (Courtwood); Michael Dowling (Portlaoise), Seamus Lacey (Ballylinan), Alex Mohan (Portarlington); Colin Slevin (Portarlington), Sean O’Flynn (Courtwood), Dean Brophy (St Joseph’s); Robert Tyrell (Camross), Eoin Dunne (Rosenallis); Ronan Coffey (Portarlington), Michael Doran (Killeshin), Mark Barry (O’Dempseys); Alan Kinsella (Courtwood), Dan McCormack (O’Dempsey’s), Diarmuid Whelan (Ballyroan-Abbey). Subs: Jack Owens (Emo) for Doran (41 mins), Niall Dunne (Courtwood) for Tyrell (45 mins), Jason Maher (Portlaoise) for McCormack (51 mins), Mikie Dempsey (St Joseph’s) for Coffey (53 mins), Kevin Byrne (Ballylinan) for Brophy (61 mins), Bernard Wheatley (St Joseph’s) for Barry (64 mins).
Scorers: Luke Mitchell 0-2 (frees), Aaron Lynch 0-2, Daithi McGowAn 0-1 (free), Jordan Morris 0-1, Matthew Costello 0-1
Team: Andrew Beakey; Sean Ryan, Robbie Clarke, Cathal Hickey; Eoin Hickey, John Keane, Oisin Martin; Liam Byrne, Cian McBride; Mathhew Costello, Cian Swaine, Daithi McGowan; Jordan Morris, Connell Ahearne, Luke Mitchell. Subs: Sean Bannon for Clarke (BC, 22 mins),
REFEREE: Patrick Maguire (Longford)