Laois advance to Leinster SFC Quarter Final 2017-05-22 09:32:00

Leinster Senior Football Championship First Round


By Rory Delaney at O’Moore Park, Portlaoise

Laois are through to a Leinster SFC quarter-final clash with Kildare, after the convincingly saw off Longford in O'Moore Park on Sunday.

Two goals just before half time, and two more just after it, were the catalysts for the win, as Peter Creedon marked his first championship game in charge with a victory.

Laois were under big pressure coming into the game after their disappointing Allianz Football League Division Three performances, but they showed no signs of that in the opening minutes.

Niall Donoher fisted over a point with a little over a minute played, and Laois pressed on from there. Evan O'Carroll, Paul Kingston and Donie Kingston (free) all split the posts, as Laois made full use of the wind advantage.

Robbie Smyth responded for Longford with a free, but Donie Kingston added another from play for a rampant Laois side. A Smyth double either side of a Laois point from Eoin Buggie had Laois three ahead, 0-6 to 0-3, and they stayed in the ascendancy.

Laois hit the next three points to lead by six, and Longford looked to be in all sorts of trouble. Facing into a stiff breeze they were finding scores hard to come by, but they finally hit a purple patch after that.

The excellent Smyth was at the heart of it, as he kicked three and Sean McCormack added another to cut the deficit to just two points, with the home side now looking nervy.

They needed something to settle them back into the game, and John O'Loughlin provided it with a brilliant point off his left, from the left wing.

That score lifted the mood in O'Moore Park, and the Kingston brothers combined to devastating effect before the half time whistle. First Paul and then Donie both rattled the Longford net in the space of a minute, as Laois went from leading by two to holding a nine point advantage at half time, 2-10 to 0-7.

That lead soon swelled thanks to a blistering start to the second half from Laois. In their first real attack, some lovely quick passing ended with Alan Farrell rolling him a third goal.

Two minutes later, some brilliant play from Donie Kingston ended with him putting brother Paul through on goal, and he calmly slotted home his second goal.

Longford never really troubled Laois after that, and the home side just coasted towards the final whistle - 11 points separated the teams in the end.

Scorers for Laois: Paul Kingston 2-1, Donie Kingston 1-4 (3fs), Alan Farrell 1-0, John O'Loughlin 0-3, Darren Strong, Padraig McMahon, Colm Begley, Brendan Quigley, Niall Donoher, Evan O'Carroll, Eoin Buggie 0-1 each.

Scorers for Longford: Robbie Smyth 0-11 (7fs), Sean McCormack, Liam Connerton, Darren Gallagher, Ronan McEntire, Conor Berry 0-1 each.

LAOIS: Graham Brody; Darren Strong, Denis Booth, Damien O'Connor; Eoin Buggie, Stephen Attride, Padraig McMahon; Brendan Quigley, Colm Begley; Niall Donoher, Evan O'Carroll, Alan Farrell; Paul Kingston, Donie Kingston, Paul Kingston.

Subs: James Kelly for O'Connor (33 mins), Gareth Dillon for Attride (58 mins, inj), James Finn for D Kingston (68 mins), Ross Munnelly for O'Carroll (70 mins), Kevin Meaney for Donoher (73 mins), Sean Moore for O'Loughlin (73 mins).

LONGFORD: Paddy Collum; Dermot Brady, Barry Gilleran, Andrew Farrell; Donal McElligott, James McGivney, Des Reynolds; John Keegan, Michael Quinn; Ronan McEntire, Sean McCormack, Diarmuid Masterson; Robbie Smyth, Liam Connerton, Barry McKeon.

Subs: Darren Gallagher for Masterson (30 mins), Barry O'Farrell for Farrell (half time), Larry Moran for Keegan (41 mins), Conor Berry for O'Farrell (56 mins), David McGivney for McEntire (70 mins), Daniel Mimnagh for Reynolds (70 mins)

REFEREE: Anthony Nolan (Wicklow).

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