Kelly delighted to get past Laois

April 15, 2024

Cormac Egan of Offaly celebrates ©INPHO/James Lawlor

Declan Kelly cut a contented figure after a dominant second half performance propelled Offaly to a surprisingly comfortable Leinster SFC quarter-final victory over 14-man Laois at Laois Hire O’Moore Park on Saturday night.

Level at half-time, Offaly took over after the restart to win 2-13 to 1-8 against the home side who lost James Kelly to a red card after only 20 minutes, and set up a semi-final meeting with All-Ireland champions Dublin at Croke Park on Sunday week, April 28.

It was the Faithful’s first Leinster SFC victory over their neighbours in 22 years and first in Portlaoise since 1978.

“It’s 2002 since we last beat Laois in championship football,” the Offaly manager said.

“It’s gas, we were chatting during the week and there’s a number of lads, a number of experienced fellas, who have never actually won a game here at O’Moore Park, between county, schools, you name it. We wouldn’t have a good record here. So it was important for the group to get a result here tonight.”

Keilly added: “We got a couple of (early second half) scores and the turnover goal (from Keith O’Neill) probably gave us that bit of breathing space. We obviously had the extra man in the second half so we went after it."

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