GAA | Louth Minors book their place in last eight with victory in Portlaoise
Leinster Minor Championship 1st Round | Laois 1–15 Louth 2–11
A place in the quarter-finals of the Electric Ireland Leinster Minor Football Championship awaits Wayne Kierans and his Louth team following their 2–11 to 1–15 win over Laois at O’Moore Park on Saturday.
The Wee County made the trip to the midlands searching for their first victory of the season and they responded in fine fashion, going the distance to edge out a thrilling contest after extra-time.
John Mitchels full-forward John Gallagher was the star of the show, kicking 1–6 for the Reds, but a special mention must also go to goalkeeper Alan McGauley who kept an Alan Kinsella penalty out in the first half.
A much more experienced Laois side scored the game’s two opening points through Alan Campbell and wing back Colin Slevin before Gallagher helped himself to the first of his seven scores with a free.
Robert Tyrell and Diarmuid Whelan then found their range either side of a point from Louth blood sub Jack Murphy, leaving it 0–4 to 0–2 in favour of the hosts.
That lead was wiped out when Louth hit their first goal of the day, the result of a great team move up the field that ended with Geraldines player Ben Mooney shooting low to the back of the net.
Kierans’ side, however, failed to build on the goal and the next three points went to the hosts with Jack Owens, Whelan and Kinsella all on target before Gerry Garland pointed for Louth to send his side in at the break a point in arrears.
Louth started the second half in determined mood and two points from Gallagher put them back in front but the tit for tat nature of the game continued as Alan Kinsella levelled matters once again before the next four points were shared, Alan Connor and John Gallagher firing over for the visitors.
The O’Moore County were then handed a real chance of taking the game by the scruff of the neck when referee Niall Ward awarded them a penalty but Ardee St Mary’s goalkeeper McGauley got down well to keep the effort out and leave it all square.
A Mark Barry free put Laois ahead with time running out but Louth responded through Gallagher and Gerry Garland to edge in front with just injury time to play. It looked like the Reds had done enough but Kinsella sent the game to extra time with a well taken free in added time.
That point gave the home team a huge boost and they pulled two clear in the first period of extra time with another brace from the outstanding Kinsella.
Louth, though, showed their appetite for a scrap and they restored parity with a couple of well hit frees from Ardee’s Ciaran Keenan and his fellow mid-Louth man Gallagher.
The pivotal moment arrived before the end of the half when referee Ward pointed to the spot for a second time after Gallagher’s effort was blocked by the foot of a Laois defender. And the Mitchels man made no mistake with his effort, blasting his penalty to roof of the net to give Louth a three-point lead that they never looked like giving up.
Alan Kinsella did cut the gap to two with a point in the second period of extra time but Kierans’ men held on and will take huge confidence from this win as they prepare for a tilt at the quarter finals.
LOUTH MINORS: Alan McGauley; Alan Connor (0–1), Philip Trainor, Dan Corcoran; Leonard Gray, Eoghan Callaghan, James O’Reilly; Liam Jackson, Conor Morgan; Gerry Garland (0–2), Ben Mooney (1–0), Fergal Malone; Keelan O’Neill, Conor Nicholson, John Gallagher (1–6, 4f, 1 ’45). Subs: Ciaran Keenan (0–1, 1f) for Nicholson, HT; Jack Murphy (0–1) for K O’Neill, 35 mins; Shane Hickey for Malone, 52 mins; Conor Gillespie for B Mooney, 56 mins; Shane Byrne for G Garland, 67 mins; Conor Nicholson for S Hickey, 78 mins.
LAOIS MINORS: Tom McCann; Michael Dowling, Sean O’Flynn, Daniel Comerford; Colin Slevin (0–1), Seamus Lacey, Gary Saunders; Robert Tyrell (0–1, 1f), Diarmuid Whelan (0–4, 2f); Alan Kinsella (0–7, 4f), Niall Dunne, Ronan Coffey; Mark Barry (0–1, 1f), Ciaran Comerford, Jack Owens (0–1). Subs: Jason Maher for N Dunne (BC) 50 mins; Damien McCaul for M Barry, 58 mins; Alex Mohane for Daniel Comerford, 65 mins.
REFEREE: Niall Ward (Westmeath).