GAA round-up: Laois secure back-to-back promotions

The postponed Round 6 tie between Westmeath and Louth will take place next weekend, rather than midweek ensuring the final will not take place in Croke Park next weekend.

GAA round-up: Laois secure back-to-back promotions

Laois have gained back-to-back promotions for the first time, while Westmeath and Louth are still in with a chance of Division 2 football next season after this afternoon's games.

The postponed Round 6 tie between Westmeath and Louth will take place next weekend, rather than midweek ensuring the final will not take place in Croke Park next weekend.

Evan O'Carroll bagged eight points for Laois in their 1-15 to 1-12 home win over Carlow at O'Moore Park.

The sides were level on six occasions in a keenly contested opening half, before Laois pulled clear.

Conor Lawlor had Carlow on the front foot early on, with his seventh-minute goal handing them a 1-1 to 0-1 lead.

Two minutes later Donie Kingston finished past Carlow keeper Robert Sansom, after Paul Cahillane played a ball in over the top.

Laois lost Eoin Lowry to a black card after 22 minutes, but crucially they held their opponents to just one point during this spell - a Darragh Foley pointed free.

The introduction of Brendan Quigley was key to Laois, and with scores from O'Carroll (2), Kieran Lillis and Stephen Attride, Laois moved 1-8 to 1-5 ahead at the break.

Laois pushed five points clear inside eight minutes of the restart, and despite losing Quigley to a black card in the 43rd minute - they again managed to hold Carlow to a single score, while being down a man.

Thanks to the efforts of Paul Broderick, Foley and substitute Conor Crowley, Carlow cut the gap to two points in the 65th minute, but Laois stood firm.

Carlow finished with 13 players with black cards for Daniel St. Ledger and John Murphy in the closing stages, with a Ross Munnelly free deep into injury-time ensuring a three-point win.

Westmeath were also winners on home-soil, with Ger Egan registering nine points in their 1-14 to 1-10 win over Longford at TEG Cusack Park

The hosts made a strong start to this contest, and led by 1-2 to 0-1 after seven minutes, with Ronan O'Toole netting their goal.

Longford fought back to equalise at the start of the second quarter, following scores from Darragh Doherty, Daniel Mimnagh (2) and Peter Lynn.

Westmeath pushed three points clear by the 31st minute, but Longford finished the half with two of the final three scores, including a Donal McElligott mark.

Leading by 1-6 to 0-7 at the break, Westmeath moved three points clear on the restart.

However, this lead didn't last long, as Michael Quinn grabbed Longford's goal on 41 minutes to level the tie.

Egan and Darren Gallagher swapped points from placed balls, before a Paddy Collum free pushed Longford 1-9 to 1-8 ahead in the 47th minute.

However, Westmeath kicked on with scores from O'Toole, John Heslin and Egan to build up a four-point advantage in the third minute of injury-time.

Five further minutes followed, but Westmeath done enough to hold on for victory, with Longford reduced to 14 men late on, after McElligott picked up a red card.

Louth kept their hopes of promotion alive with a 0-10 to 1-6 win over Down at Páirc Esler in Newry.

Johnny Flynn, Down and Tommy Durnin, Louth contest a high ball
Johnny Flynn, Down and Tommy Durnin, Louth contest a high ball

Down were searching for their sixth successive win, but despite six minutes of injury-time, Louth held out for victory by the minimum.

Both sides had long spells without scoring during this game, with Down leading by 0-3 to 0-1 after 10 minutes, before Louth moved 0-4 to 0-3 ahead at the break.

Louth failed to score from the 53rd minute, after Fergal Donohoe pushed them 0-10 to 1-3 ahead, in response to a Darren O'Hagan goal.

The hosts mounted a strong comeback, and cut the gap to the minimum by the 67th minute, with Connaire Harrison, Paul Devlin and O'Hagan on target.

Neither side were able to manage a score in the closing minutes, as Louth held out for the slenderest of wins.

Offaly maintained their Division 3 status, and condemned Carlow to Division 4 next season, with Sligo also joining them in the bottom tie, after Offaly's slender 1-11 to 1-10 away win over Sligo at Collooney.

Substitute Mark Abbott grabbed the winning score for the visitors in a tight contest, with the sides level on six occasions, including four times in the final quarter.

Offaly were wasteful in the opening half, with eight wides, as Sligo took a 0-7 to 0-5 interval lead, with Niall Murphy, Darragh Cummins, Adrian Marren and Gerard O'Kelly-Lynch on target.

The visitors kept in touch thanks to Bernard Allen, Peter Cunningham and top-scorer Niall McNamee (1-6).

McNamee's goal and a Paddy Dunican point helped Offaly to a 1-6 to 0-7 lead five minutes after the restart, before an O'Kelly-Lynch goal pushed the hosts back ahead.

The sides traded points on three occasions, with McNamee's sixth point levelling the contest, before Abbott's late winner.

In Division 4, Wicklow and Antrim ended their campaigns on a winning note, as both claimed their third wins.

At Joule Park Aughrim, Wicklow struggled against the wind early on, but bounced back to record an 0-8 to 0-6 win over London.

The visitors dominated the opening stages, and led by 0-3 to 0-0 and also registered four wides inside the opening 25 minutes, before Wicklow finished the half strongly.

The hosts tagged on four unanswered points, to take a 0-4 to 0-3 interval lead, with Mark Kenny opening their account in the 26th minute, before Mark Jackson and Gearoid Murphy were also on target from placed balls.

London were reduced to 14 men for the closing 10 minutes of the half, after Ryan Jones picked up a black card.

Scores were at a premium on the restart, with both sides guilty of missed chances.

Rory Finn and Anthony McLoughlin pushed Wicklow 0-6 to 0-3 ahead, with London held scoreless until the 58th minute.

The visitors battled hard, with substitute Conor Doran making an impact, as they cut the gap to the minimum with eight minutes of normal time remaining.

The sides swapped points, but Wicklow finished with an Anthony McLoughlin score deep in injury-time to ensure a two-point win.

A brace of second half goals helped Antrim to a 2-12 to 1-11 away win over Limerick in Kilmallock.

Ryan Murray and Matthew Fitzpatrick grabbed the Saffrons goals, in an entertaining contest after Limerick showed strongly in the second quarter to open up a 1-7 to 0-5 interval lead.

Cillian Fahy netted a 32nd-minute goal for Limerick, with the hosts extending their lead to six points on the restart.

However, Murray's 42nd-minute goal kick-started an Antrim comeback.

Limerick only added two more scores, including one in the third quarter, with Fitzpatrick's 52nd-minute goal levelling the tie at 2-7 to 1-10.

A Paddy McBride point gave Antrim a lead they wouldn't relinquish outscoring the Shannonsiders by five points to one in the closing 15 minutes.

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