Hard work finally rewarded as Tomás Ó Flatharta’s Laois off the mark

Laois 2-17, Roscommon 0-16: Tomás Ó Flatharta felt that there was a good performance coming from Laois, and they certainly impressed when recording their first victory of this year’s league campaign.

Hard work finally rewarded as Tomás Ó Flatharta’s Laois off the mark

The home side lost their first two games and had their scheduled tie with Galway postponed due to the inclement weather last week.

But signs had been there in the build-up to that trip that things were turning, according to the former Westmeath and Galway boss.

“We didn’t perform too well in the first two games… it’s been fairly tough on them but the lads have been working really hard all along, and it just came right for us today,” said Ó Flatharta.

“I felt the last day when the game was postponed, we were well up for that day and the lads kept that form for today. It was great to get the result.

“If you look at the first half, we went ahead three or four points at the beginning. They came back into it. We brought a lot of bodies back towards the end of the first half. Maybe some people would question that, with the wind behind us, but I think it served us well. We were up two points at half-time.

“Then in the second half it was a matter of how much really, really did we want it. And I think that was typified in the way that lads went for breaking ball around the field and how hard they worked.”

Laois dominated the middle in the second half and it was clear the hunger and spirit was good, as Roscommon came at them a few times and the response was excellent.

Laois flew out of the traps with three points in the first four minutes and were actually four clear by the time Roscommon got off the mark with a lovely outside-of-the-boot score from Ciarán Murtagh in the 11th minute.

It was a wonderful start, with Ross Munnelly (free), Darren Strong and Conor Boyle raising white flags before Niall Donoher followed a classy chip-lift on the run with a neat finish.

Murtagh’s point settled the visitors though and he followed up with an almost identical score four minutes later. Donie Shine slotted a free soon after and Roscommon were back in the game.

Indeed, they looked to have grasped the initiative when drawing level but a well-struck ‘45’ by Evan O’Carroll and a wonderful point from a tight angle by Munnelly put Ó Flatharta’s men 0-9 to 0-7 ahead at half-time.

Roscommon enjoyed the lightning start to the second half, with three quick points including two from the magnificent Cathal Cregg to draw level.

It was to prove a false dawn, though, as Laois registered the next five scores, including a brilliantly-finished goal by Donoher in the 48th minute to open a six-point gap, which keeper Graham Brody helped maintain with a key save from Murtagh.

Cregg kicked three points in as many minutes, including one after a spectacular soaring catch.

Laois steadied the ship and after kicking two brilliant points, substitute Paul Kingston took a pass from the tireless Evan O’Carroll to seal the deal with his side’s second goal in the 70th minute.

Meanwhile, Ó Flatharta revealed long-serving defender, Padraig McMahon had left the panel for an unspecified period due to the pressures of combining his work as a teacher with running a farm.

Scorers for Laois: D Kingston 0-6 (0-3f); P Kingston 1-2; R Munnelly 0-4 (0-2f); N Donoher 1-1; E O’Carroll 0-2 (0-1 ‘45); D Strong, C Boyle 0-1.

Scorers for Roscommon: C Cregg 0-5; D Shine 0-3 (0-2f, 0-1 ’45); C Murtagh, U Harney, D Murtagh (0-2f) 0-2 each; N Daly, E Smith 0-1.

LAOIS: G Brody, M Timmons, P Begley, G Hanrahan, R Kehoe, C Begley, D Strong, B Quigley, J O’Loughlin, E O’Carroll, C Boyle, N Donoher, R Munnelly, D Kingston, G Dillon.

Subs: B Sheehan for Dillon (ht), P Kingston for Boyle (47), D O’Connor for Donoher (61), S Attride for O’Carroll (70)

ROSCOMMON: D O’Malley, N Carty, N Collins, S McDermott, D Keenan, N Daly, C Cafferky, I Kilbride, D Shine, C Cregg, E Smith, M Nally, C Murtagh, S Kilbride, D Murtagh.

Subs: C Shine for Nally (ht), M Healy for I Kilbride (47), D Murray for Cafferky (53), U Harney for Smith (53), B Murtagh for Keenan (57), C Compton for C Murtagh (66)

Referee: J Henry (Mayo)

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