Laois hold on for first League win

Allianz Football League Division 2: Donegal 2-6 Laois 2-9

Allianz Football League Division 2: Donegal 2-6 Laois 2-9

Laois withstood a late rally from Donegal before registering their first league victory in Letterkenny.

The midlanders led by 1-6 to 0-4 at half-time thanks to an injury-time penalty goal from Paul Cahillane, with the visitors very much in command on the restart.

Justin McNulty's side moved 2-9 to 0-4 ahead at the end of the third quarter, with Padraig Clancy collecting their second goal. Donegal netted through Anthony Thompson and Neil Gallagher late on, but Laois held on.

Ross Munnelly landed two points inside the opening nine minutes to get Laois up and running against the Ulster champions.

Donegal looked sluggish but had equalised by the 20th minute thanks to a brace of scores from teenager Paddy McBrearty. Jim McGuinness' charges hit some poor wides before levelling the tie, with Thompson and Gallagher hitting wides and McBrearty and Leo McLoone dropping efforts short of the uprights.

Cahir Healy, Peter O'Leary and Conor Boyle stood out for Laois as they forced Donegal into a series of errors and a run of three successive points, between the 22nd and 26th minutes, saw the O'Moore men push on.

David Conway, Munnelly and Colm Begley all fired over to open up a 0-5 to 0-2 advantage. McBrearty then claimed two of the next three points, with Clancy on target for Laois to ensure a 0-6 to 0-4 score-line as half-time approached.

They added a late goal when NUI Maynooth student Cahillane sent a penalty past Donegal goalkeeper Paul Durkan after he himself was fouled by Karl Lacey.

That goal gave Laois renewed confidence and Donegal looked a shell of their 2011 Championship side when they fell 2-9 to 0-4 behind by the start of the final quarter.

There were poor wides at both ends of the pitch before defender Darren Strong kickstarted a good spell for the visitors with a 43rd minute point to open up a six-point lead.

The visitors rattled the Donegal net for the second time through Clancy. The full-forward gathered a delivery in from Strong and slotted to the net despite the best efforts of Neil McGee to close him down.

A third Conway point pushed Laois 11 points clear with just 16 minutes left on the clock, but Donegal finished strongly.

Rory Kavanagh broke Donegal's 28-minute scoreless spell with a well-taken 61st-minute point. The scores suddenly started to roll in for the hosts, with two goals inside a minute.

Firstly Thompson got the final touch in a crowded goalmouth, with a second green flag raised inside a minute when Gallagher scored to leave just four points between the sides.

Donegal continued to pile on pressure with time running out. Kavanagh landed another point deep into injury-time, but Laois stood firm to take a well-earned three-point win.

DONEGAL: P Durcan; F McGlynn, N McGee, P McGrath; A Thompson (1-0), K Lacey, L McLoone; R Kavanagh (0-2), N Gallagher (1-0); M McHugh, R Bradley, M Reilly; D Molloy, P McBrearty (0-4, 0-2f), A Hanlon.

Subs used: D Walsh for Molloy, S Griffin for Hanlon, E McGee for McGrath, D Walsh for Bradley, E Waide for Lacey.

LAOIS: E Culliton; C Healy, K Lillis, P O'Leary; D Strong (0-1), J O'Loughlin, C Boyle; K Meaney, B Quigley; R Munnelly (0-3), C Begley (0-1), D O'Connor; P Cahillane (1-0, 1-0 pen), P Clancy (1-1), D Conway (0-3, 0-1f).

Subs used: C Kelly for Cahillane, MJ Tierney for Conway, J Kavanagh for O'Connor.

Referee: Michael Duffy (Sligo)

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