Relentless Laois make it Friday to forget for Carlow

ALL-IRELAND SFC ROUND 1:

Relentless  Laois  make it      Friday  to forget  for    Carlow

An ever-so promising first half was obliterated in the first six minutes after the break when Laois put up 1-3 without reply, the goal coming from David Conway.

They scored three in total, two after the break when they went in trailing by 0-8 to 1-4 having faced a stiff breeze.

Showing an appetite to attack not seen in many games under Justin McNulty, Laois were relentless in their runs at a Carlow defence that had lost all its shape and left yawning gaps between the half-back and full-back lines.

They kicked 15 wides and they could have run riot with the amount of three-on-two and two-on-one opportunities they created in the second half.

Their excellent midfield played a major part in establishing control of the game and Laois added another three points in succession in as many minutes to go seven points ahead by the 47th minute.

Carlow couldn’t manage to stem the bleeding, Colm Kelly’s goal put on a plate for him by Ross Munnelly in the 57th minute and finishing the game as a contest.

That Friday feeling attracted a crowd of 4,606 — over 2,000 more than last year’s corresponding fixture in O’Moore Park, which took place on a Saturday.

So a success then? Best ask the players. After all, they were the ones discommoded by having just 11 days’ notice.

And it will be the Carlow players who feel that bit harder done by this morning after a performance that started so brightly but ended as dimly as the fading light in Dr Cullen Park at full-time.

Aided by the wind in the first half, Carlow went about translating that advantage to the score-sheet with Jack Kennedy raising the white flag twice with efforts in the opening three minutes.

A Brian Murphy free followed in the fourth minute and a subsequent long-range score by Darragh Foley and Laois appeared to be stuck in the blocks.

Their midfield was the only functioning area in the opening stages, but for all their possession it wasn’t until the 10th minute that they scored their first point, a free from Ross Munnelly.

Brendan Murphy then hit two scores in three minutes that put Carlow five up, 0-6 to 0-1, and it remained that way until the 19th minute when Kingston converted.

The visitors’ first score from play was delivered by half-back Darren Strong.

With Laois in the ascendancy thanks to the platform created by Padraig Clancy and John O’Loughlin in the centre, Kingston could have capped a purple patch only for him to drag his shot wide of Trevor O’Reilly’s goal.

Appreciating the let-off, Brendan Murphy showed more class on the half-hour and when Foley pinged over a free, their five-point advantage was restored.

However, it was short-lived as Carlow sat back and allowed Padraig McMahon to run free, sprinting 50 metres before dispatching the ball into O’Reilly’s net.

Another Munnelly free in the final minute of normal time in the half and almost all of Carlow’s good work was undone.

By the 41st minute, it was forgotten.

Scorers for Carlow: Brian Murphy (3f), J Kennedy, Brendan Murphy 0-3 each; D Foley (1f) 0-2 each; J Murphy 0-1.

Scorers for Laois: D Conway, C Kelly 1-1 each; P McMahon 1-0; R Munnelly (2f), D Kingston (3f) 0-3 each; D Strong 0-2; K Lillis, P Clancy, J O’Loughlin 0-1 each.

CARLOW: T O’Reilly; BJ Molloy, C Lawler, B Kavanagh; K Nolan, S Redmond, T Bolger; J Murphy, D Foley; P Reid, E Ruth, S Gannon; Brian Murphy, J Kennedy, Brendan Murphy. Carlow subs: W Minchin for D Foley (47); M Doyle for K Nolan (48); C Moran for P Reid (58); S Mernagh for S Redmond, C Murphy for S Gannon (both 66). LAOIS: E Culliton; M Timmons, P O’Leary, P Begley; D Strong, K Lillis, P McMahon; J O’Loughlin, P Clancy; B Sheehan, C Meredith, C Begley; R Munnelly, D Kingston, D Conway. Laois subs: C Kelly for D Kingston (49); D Booth for P Begley (54); C Boyle for P Clancy (59); N Donoher for B Sheehan (66); S Attride for D Strong (67).

Referee: Fergal Kelly (Longford).

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