Laois resist late Louth comeback

Laois 1-15 Louth 1-11

Laois 1-15 Louth 1-11

Sean Dempsey's bow as an inter-county manager got off to a shaky start as his Laois side let an 11-point lead slip from their grasp, but the O'Moore's withstood a strong Louth comeback to finish four-point winners in this Leinster SFC quarter-final at Parnell Park.

Laois impressed for three-quarters of this game and led by 1-13 to 0-05 at that stage, but Eamon McEnaney's Louth failed to give up and staged a determined finish, before Laois held out for victory at the death.

Inspired by substitute Aaron Hoey, Louth bounded back into contention, with the St Brides clubman bagging an important 59th minute goal.

However Laois held enough in resolve, as a sixth point from the boot of their top-scorer MJ Tierney confirmed a four-point victory.

In ideal conditions a wind-assisted Laois showed the greater hunger, with the O'Moore's eager to get their Championship campaign off to a high.

Midfielder Pauric Clancy was in inspirational form as the flame-haired Timahoe clubman slotted over Laois' first point after 40 seconds, and followed up with a speculative goal less than five minutes later.

Clancy gathered possession in the midfield sector and sent a dipping shot from 45 metres out, straight to the back of the Louth net to give Laois an early 1-01 to 0-01 advantage.

Laois continued to press hard and with Tierney; defender John O'Loughlin; Peter O'Leary and captain Brian McCormack on target, the O'Moore's led by 1-09 to 0-04 at the interval.

Louth kept in touch thanks to points from Colm Judge, Paddy Keenan and Darren Clarke (2), and certainly turned the tide in the second half; although Laois showed early momentum on the restart.

Following Ross Munnelly's lone-point of the game 13 minutes into the second half, Laois gained an 11-point lead on a 1-13 to 0-05 score-line.

But Laois suddenly were inaccurate in front of the posts, with Tierney missing four scoring chances as Louth clawed back into Laois' lead.

Midfielder Brian White led the charge with a 51st minute pointed free, with Shane Lennon adding a point, before Hoey's important 59th minute goal cut the gap to six points.

Darren Rooney edged Laois 1-14 to 1-7 clear with ten minutes remaining, but a quartet of Louth points without reply left just three between the sides approaching the 70th minute mark.

However Laois stood firm to ensure a semi-final spot against Kildare in a fortnight's time, thanks to Tierney's late score.

LAOIS: M Nolan; C Ryan, M Timmons, R Stapleton; D Rooney (0-1), G Reddin, J O'Loughlin (0-1); P Clancy (1-3), K Meaney; B Quigley, B McCormack (0-1), P O'Leary (0-2); MJ Tierney (0-6, 5f), R Munnelly (0-1), D Kingston. Subs: P McNulty for Kingston (57); C Coss for Munnelly (70)

LOUTH: S Reynolds; P Rath, D Finnegan, J O'Brien; D Crilly, M Fanning, G Hoey; B White (0-3, 3f), P Keenan (0-1); R Finnegan, R Carroll, D Reid; C Judge (0-1), S Lennon (0-2, 1f), D Clarke (0-3, 1f). Subs: A Reid for D Reid (30); A Hoey (1-1) for Crilly (46); JP Rooney for Judge (46); P Smith for White (68)

REFEREE: Michael Duffy (Sligo)

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