Laois deny Longford first Leinster under 21 title
April 02, 2006
Favourites Laois landed the Leinster under 21 football title at Pearse Park, but they were pushed all the way by a determined Longford team.
Having captured the All-Ireland minor crown three years ago, big things were expected of Laois in the under 21 grade this year and they are now just two games away from another All-Ireland success. The home side battled hard against the wind in the second half, but ultimately were left to rue a first half in which they made poor use of the elements and were a point down, 0-4 to 0-3, at the break.
The result was in doubt until the final five minutes when points from Colm Kelly (Stradbally) and Michael Tierney gave the O'Moore County their seventh Leinster under 21 title and their first since 1998.
"We could have no complaints with the workrate," said Laois manager Sean Dempsey.
"Maybe the quality was not always great but Longford are sticky opposition. They were always putting it up to us, denying us much freedom around the park.
"Our fellows are always prepared to dig deep. They have big ambition to go far in this competition and they are not prepared to relinquish it without a fight."
Two points from Brian Kavanagh and another from sub Enda Gallagher had Longford 0-3 to 0-1 ahead after 17 minutes, but Laois replied with unanswered points from Colm Kelly (Stradbally), Tierney and Peter McNulty to lead at the half-way stage.
Two Kavanagh frees edged Longford ahead on the restart, and it took Laois 15 minutes to register their first score of the half, a Tierney free. Donie Brennan and David Murphy followed up with points before Paddy Dowd and Francis McGee levelled for Luke Dempsey's charges.
But Laois finished the stronger and can now look forward to an All-Ireland semi-final against either Derry or Tyrone.
LAOIS - C Gorman; C Healy, M Timmons, B Meredith; C Rogers, C Ryan, P O'Leary; B Quigley, D Murphy 0-1; D Brennan 0-1, C Bergin, P McNulty 0-1; M Tierney 0-3, Colm Kelly (Stradbally) 0-2, Colm Kelly (St Joseph's) 0-1. Subs: N Donagher for P O'Leary (55). Yellow cards: C Kelly (St Joseph's) (15); M Tierney (21).
LONGFORD - D O'Connor; N Farrell, B Gilleran, K Moran; S Mulligan, D Masterson, P Foy; B McElvaney, E Farrell; K Smith, P Dowd 0-1, P Berry; S McCormack, B Kavanagh 0-4, F McGee 0-1. Subs: E Gallagher 0-1 for S McCormack (inj, 11); C Flynn for E Farrell (inj, 36). Yellow cards: D Masterson (7); K Moran (24); B Kavanagh (59).
REF - C Reilly (Meath).
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