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MOMENT 8 - Laois end 57 year wait to claim Leinster SFC title in 2003

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Rory Delaney

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Rory Delaney

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rory@leinsterexpress.ie

MOMENT 8 - Laois end 57 year wait to claim Leinster SFC title in 2003

The Laois senior football team which defeat Kildare in 2003.

An iconic day in the recent history of Laois sport, and still the county's last title of note in senior football.

The back story to the victory has been recounted plenty of times by now, with Laois having been at a fairly low ebb the year before, soundly beaten by Meath in the Qualifiers.

The outlook wasn't good at that stage, but then Mick O'Dwyer was appointed over the winter, and the whole mood of the county shifted. Micko brought a level of interest unseen for some time, and the players responded.

Perhaps forgotten in 2003 was that Laois went through their Division 1B league campaign unbeaten, including a four point win over Meath in the opening game for a significant confidence boost.

They beat Armagh in the semi-final and then lost to Tyrone in the final, but it served notice of what was to come from them that year.

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When the Leinster SFC started, Laois opened with a big win over Wexford, followed that with a dramatic win over Offaly, and then met Dublin in the semi-finals.

Brimming with confidence, Laois recorded a famous win, with a booming long-range point from Padraig Clancy one of the iconic moments from the game.

That set up a Leinster final date against Kildare, Micko's former charges, and fierce local rivals. In as dramatic a game as you could expect, Laois started well, were reeled back in, and then scored two brilliant goals just after half time to wrestle back control of their own destiny. There was red cards, drama, top class scores and heroic defending. Above all though, there was pure, unadulterated joy.

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