Laois bounce back to top form

LAOIS rediscovered their early season form — when they won three Division Two games on the trot — as a sparkling second-half at Markievicz Park revived promotion hopes and left the hosts on the brink of relegation.

Both counties will depend on other results next weekend for contrasting reasons ­ Laois need to beat Donegal, while Sligo, who are away to Kildare, can beat the drop if Antrim and Meath lose.

With the inventive Michael John Tierney supplying the points during a first-half when Laois were ragged and strong midfielder Brendan Quigley landing a match turning goal before half-time to level the scores, it was the visitors’ reaction to the concession of a goal in each half that was the most notable aspect of their first win in three games.

An early second-half phase, when Laois notched three points without reply to retake the lead, 1-9 to 2-5, revealed their transformation and they emerged the better side in the second-half with Darren Strong, John O’Loughlin, Michael John Quigley and Colm Begley all hitting excellent scores in that second period.

Sligo failed to fully exploit a first-half that they controlled and, again, Adrian Marren was their main outlet for scores with 2-4 of their 2-8 tally. His first goal was a converted penalty in the 28th minute and his second was a close-range tap in eight minutes after the restart after his initial attempt was saved by Laois keeper Darren Maher.

Eamonn O’Hara was useful at full-forward ­ he was fouled for the spot-kick and was heavily involved in the build-up for Marren’s second goal ­ and David Rooney had another fine day at wing-back but the losers paid a hefty price for seven first-half wides.

Laois boss Justin McNulty praised his side’s ability to contain an Adrian Marren-inspired Sligo after reversals in their two previous games against Tyrone and Kildare.

“(After losing to Tyrone) people might have thought that we had reverted to the ‘same old’ Laois and that is certainly not the case — these boys are serious competitors and when that game was in the melting pot the boys stood up and were counted. That attitude was very encouraging for us. Four wins is positive but we never discuss results — we are in the performance business and we are only focused on our own performance.”

Scorers for Sligo: A Marren (2-4, 1-0 pen, 2f), A Costello (0-2), S Davey (0-1), E O’Hara (0-1).

Scorers for Laois: MJ Tierney (0-5, 2f), B Quigley (1-0), J O’Loughlin (0-2), D Strong (0-2), C Begley (0-2), G Kavanagh (0-1), R Munnelly (0-1), N Donoher (0-1).

LAOIS: D Maher, D Booth, K Meaney, M Timmons, D Strong, S Julian, P O’Leary, P Clancy, B Quigley, C Begley, J O’Loughlin, G Kavanagh, R Munnelly, B Sheehan, MJ Tierney.

Subs: N Donoher for G Kavanagh, 48; D Carroll for R Munnelly, 63; K Lillis for P Clancy, 70+1.

SLIGO: P Greene, C Harrison, N Ewing, R Donovan, D Rooney, P McGovern, K Cawley, T Taylor, S Gilmartin, B Curran, M Breheny, S Davey, A Marren, E O’Hara, A Costello.

Subs: D Maye for A Marren (’blood’ sub), 3; D Maye for M Breheny, 50; S Coen for B Curran, 62; K Sweeney for A Costello, 67; B Egan for S Davey, 69.

Referee: Barry Cassidy (Derry).

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