Down continue to set the pace in Division Three after a dramatic victory over Carlow at Dr Cullen Park.
The Barrowsiders looked to have done enough to have secured a draw until Donal O’Hare clipped over the winning point from a free in the second minute of added time – 0-15 to 1-11.
Having played with the aid of a strong breeze in the first half, Turlough O’Brien’s charges led by 0-7 to 0-4 at the break but unanswered points upon the resumption from Conor Poland, O’Hare, Darren O’Hagan, Paul Devlin and Ryan Johnston had the visitors ahead by nine points to seven after 46 minutes.
Devlin cancelled out a Darragh Foley (who scored seven points) effort and Poland replied to a strike from Sean Gannon before Devlin’s 61st-minute free made it a three-point game, 0-12 to 0-9.
The next two scores were shared but the cat was well and truly amongst the pigeons when Eoghan Ruth struck for the game’s only goal with three minutes left to tie the scores up. Caolan Mooney’s effort was cancelled out on the stroke of full time but O’Hare slotted his fifth point at the death to give Paddy Tally’s men a precious victory that sees them remain top of the table with just one round remaining.
Although they have five points on the board, Carlow needed a point today to guarantee survival – they will be relegated on the head-to-head rule if they lose to Laois next Sunday and Offaly beat Sligo.
Elsewhere today, Longford came from behind at Pearse Park to beat bottom side Sligo by 2-15 to 0-14.
Midfielder Darren Gallagher’s 38th-minute goal had the midlanders ahead for the first time since the opening minute and substitute Nigel Rabbite plundered the second major seven minutes from the end as the hosts consolidated their third-tier status.
The Yeats County, who were already relegated, played with spirit and led by three points at half time, but they had the influential Pat Hughes dismissed early in the second half, while the winners also finished the game with 14 men, as Michael Quinn was sent off 20 minutes later.
At Tullamore, meanwhile, second-half goals from Evan O'Carroll and Paul Cahillane fired Laois to a 2-12 to 0-15 win over gritty neighbours Offaly in an entertaining clash.
Dominant in the second quarter, the losers notched six of the last seven points of the first half to lead by 0-8 to 0-5 at the break.
A run of points from Bernard Allen (2) and Peter Cunningham had the Faithful County ahead for the first time after 22 minutes but Eoin Lowry quickly made it five points apiece.
Goalkeeper Paddy Dunican restored the hosts’ lead and Allen’s first from play made it 0-7 to 0-5 with seven minutes left before the break. Niall Darby closed the first-half scoring as the home side led by three at the interval.
Ross Munnelly and Ruairi McNamee traded the first two points after the restart and the latter also chalked out an O’Carroll free but the O’Moore County found their groove as O’Carroll slotted to the bottom corner in the 48th minute following a Kieran Lillis point to push the winners back in front, 1-9 to 0-10.
Benny Carroll cancelled out McNamee’s point and substitute Cahillane fired the second Laois major in the 56th minute followed by a Colm Begley point as the gap suddenly went out to six points, 2-11 to 0-11.
Allen and substitute Niall McNamee hit back and Allen’s brace meant the spirited hosts were back within two points with six minutes left. Cahillane pointed from a free (mark) to give the winners some breathing space and Laois – who face Carlow in the last round - held on for a three-point win, which sees them at least temporarily leapfrog both Louth and Westmeath on the league table to keep their promotion hopes alive, with eight points secured from six outings to date.
Today’s scheduled Allianz Football League Division 3 meeting of aforementioned pair Louth and Westmeath was postponed after Drogheda - and possible alternative venues - failed pitch inspections this morning following heavy rainfall overnight. The game will be re-fixed for next weekend.
Down - R Burns; K McKiernan, R Wells, R McAleenan; P Laverty, C Flanagan, D O'Hagan (0-1); C Mooney (0-1), J Flynn; D Guinness (0-1), C Poland (0-2), C Maginn; J Johnston, C Harrison, D O'Hare (0-5, 4f). Subs: R Johnston (0-1) for P Laverty, C Doherty for D Guinness, P Devlin (0-4) for C Maginn, B McArdle for C Flanagan, Barry O'Hagan for R Johnston.
Carlow - R Sansom; Chris Crowley, S Redmond, C Lawlor; B Kavanagh, E Ruth (1-0), C Moran; B Murphy (0-1), S Murphy; J Morrissey (0-1), S Gannon, D O'Brien; Conor Crowley, D Foley (0-7f), D St Ledger. Subs: C Doyle for D O'Brien, D Walshe (0-2f) for Conor Crowley, S Clarke for B Kavanagh.
Referee - J Bermingham.
Longford - P Collum; P Fox, A Farrell, B O'Farrell; C P Smyth (0-1), D McElligott, D Quinn (0-1); D Gallagher (1-4, 0-4f), M Quinn (0-2); B McKeon (0-2f), J McGivney (0-1), D Mimnagh (0-2); D Doherty (0-1), C Berry (0-1m), L Connerton. Subs: N Rabbitte (1-0) for L Connerton, J Keegan for D Doherty, J Hagan for B McKeon.
Sligo - A Devaney (0-1f); N Mullen, P Laffey, N Ewing; D Cummins (0-1), P McNamara, M Gordon; P Kilcoyne, G O'Kelly Lynch; K McKenna, A Marren (0-2, 1m), S Carrabine (0-4, 2f); B O'Gorman (0-1), P Hughes (0-1), N Murphy (0-3, 1f). Subs: D Quinn (0-1) for B Gorman, L Gaughan for N Mullen, J Carr for K McKenna, L Gilmartin for A Marren, A McLoughlin for S Carrabine.
Referee - J McQuillan.
Laois - G Brody; S Attride, M Timmons, G Dillon; M Scully, C Begley (0-1), T Collins; J O'Loughlin, K Lillis (0-2); E Lowry (0-1), D Kingston (0-1), B Carroll (0-1); R Munnelly (0-2, 1f), E O'Carroll (1-3, 0-1f, 0-1m), C Murphy. Subs: C Boyle for C Murphy, R Pigott for M Scully, P Cahillane (1-1, 0-1m) for R Munnelly, K Meaney for J O'Loughlin, P Kingston for E Lowry.
Offaly - P Dunican (0-1f); D Hogan, E Rigney, D Dempsey; C Donohoe, J Moloney, P McConway; E Carroll, P Cunningham (0-1); S Horan, C Mangan (0-1), N Darby (0-1); B Allen (0-6, 1f, 1m), A Sullivan (0-1), R McNamee (0-3). Subs: N McNamee (0-1) for E Carroll, D Molloy for C Donohoe, S Tierney for R McNamee, C Carroll for P Cunningham.
Referee - P Faloon.Tweet