Eoin Lowry in action for Laois during the Division 3 League final. PHOTO: Alf Harvey
Allianz Division 3 National Football League final
The Laois Senior Footballers have been defeated by Westmeath in Croke Park today in the Allianz Division 3 Football League final.
John Sugrue's men trailed by two points at half-time and ultimately lost out by a goal in the decider in Croke Park today having hit a wasteful 15 wides in total.
An uncharacteristic error from Laois goalkeeper Graham Brody saw him give away possession in midfield, and Westmeath punished the error by catching them on the counter-attack and pouncing for a crucial goal from Ger Egan.
Laois opened the game well with first two points of the day going their way. Evan O’Carroll was fouled himself and stood up to convert the resulting free, and then Donie Kingston doubled their advantage off his left boot as Laois bossed the opening quarter. Paul Cahillane had a glorious opportunity to rattle the Westmeath net on the fifteen minute mark, but after side-stepping the keeper he fired into the side netting.
Ger Egan and Eoin Lowry exchanged points at the quarter of an hour mark, and then Westmeath went on to hit the next four points on the trot. Ger Egan converted a free from range to narrow the gap, and then Ronan O’Toole split the uprights to level the game at three points apiece after twenty-two minutes.
Ger Egan capitalised on a good run from full-back Boidu Sayeh to fist over Brody’s crossbar, and then he followed up with a free three minutes later to push Westmeath two points clear.
Laois’ composure evaded them for much of the opening half, kicking seven wides in total. A brace of placed balls from O’Carroll was returned by Egan and John Heslin as Laois went in two points down at half-time on a scoreline of 0-7 to 0-5.
Laois restarted the game well as they put their numerical advantage to good use following James Dolan's black card at the end of the first half. They claimed the first three points of the half through O’Carroll and a brace from Donie Kingston to see them overturn the two-point deficit and take a narrow lead.
Westmeath hit-back with a beauty of a point from the outside of his left boot, quickly followed by Kieran Martin’s first of the day as they retook the lead after forty-three minutes.
Laois grabbed two points from a rare Mark Timmons effort from just outside the 45 and an O'Carroll single, but Westmeath replied with 1-4 on the hop to pull away - with Ger Egan's crucial goal coming following an error in the Laois defence with ten minutes to go.
Laois fired the final three points of the game through Donie Kingston (2) and O'Carroll, but Westmeath had enough in the tank to see out the game and claim the Division 3 title.
Scorers: Evan O’Carroll 0-6 (0-3f, 0-2 ’45s), Donie Kingston 0-5 (0-3f), Eoin Lowry and Mark Timmons 0-1 each.
Team: Graham Brody; Stephen Attride, Mark Timmons, Gareth Dillon; Trevor Collins, Colm Begley, Sean O’Flynn; John O’Loughlin, Kieran Lillis; Eoin Lowry, Conor Boyle, Marty Scully; Donie Kingston, Evan O’Carroll, Paul Cahillane. Subs: Ross Munnelly for Lowry (48 mins), Benny Carroll for Boyle (48 mins), Paul Kingston for Cahillane (56 mins), Brendan Quigley for Lillis (56 mins), Damien O’Connor for Scully (66 mins).
Scorers: Ger Egan 1-7 (0-3f, 0-1 mark), Ronan O’Toole 0-2, John Heslin, Kieran Martin, Ronan Wallace and David Lynch 0-1 each.
Team: Eoin Carberry; Ronan Wallace, Boidu Sayeh, Kevin Maguire; James Dolan, Noel Mulligan, Killian Daly; Sam Duncan, Denis Corroon; David Lynch, John Heslin, Kieran Martin; Luke Loughlin, Ger Egan, Ronan O’Toole. Subs: Noel O’Reilly for Lynch (65 mins), Joe Halligan for Mulligan (66 mins), Tommy McDaniel for Loughlin (71 mins), Darren Giles for O’Toole (75 mins).