05 Oct 2022

MOMENT 3 - Laois defeat Monaghan to claim National Football League title in 1986


MOMENT 3 - Laois defeat Monaghan to claim National Football League title in 1986

The Laois team which won the 1986 NFL against Monaghan.

For a certain generation of Laois sports fans, and GAA fans in particular, this was a defining moment.

This Laois team of this era were one of the best the county produced, and while debate has raged since on what they should have added to the trophy cabinet during this period, the victory over Monaghan in 1986 remains one of the biggest victories ever achieved by a Laois team.

Laois came into the game as underdogs, with Monaghan one of the best teams in the country at that time. They had won the NFL in 1985, as well as the Ulster Championship, where they beat Down, Armagh and Derry en route to glory.

They then took Kerry to a replay in the All-Ireland semi-final, with Kerry eventually beating Dublin in the All-Ireland final.
So, when Monaghan found themselves back in the NFL final the following year, they were expected to retain the title.


Laois had topped Division 3 (South), and in the format at the time, that qualified them for the quarter-finals of the NFL proper. They proceeded to beat Down in the quarter-finals and then account for Dublin in the semis, ensuring their big day out in Croke Park.

They blitzed Monaghan in the first half, with Gerry Browne setting up goals for Eamon Whelan and Willie Brennan, who showed great bravery to beat the Monaghan 'keeper to the ball, fisting it to the net and getting clobbered in the process.

Laois lead 2-4 to 1-1 at half time, and although Monaghan came back strongly, they held on for a narrow, and famous, 2-6 to 2-5 victory.


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