Allianz FL D2: Draw at Dr Hyde Park
Allianz Football League Division Two
ROSCOMMON 2-14 LAOIS 2-14
By Kevin Egan at Dr. Hyde Park
Dramatic scenes in Dr. Hyde Park this afternoon as Laois rescued a point against Roscommon despite looking dead and buried going into the last few minutes of normal time.
This as an even contest overall but Roscommons experience of playing top tier football in recent seasons, all while Laois played their football in Divisions Three and Four, shone through as they manoeuvred their way into a commanding 2-13 to 0-13 lead, with Laois full back Mark Timmons off the field due to a black card for good measure.
A game that looked to be meandering to an inevitable conclusion suddenly got interesting when man of the match Evan OCarroll send a thunderbolt of a shot into the top corner of Colm Lavins net from 20 metres out, and when he followed up with a stunning 50 metre free to cut the gap to two points in the 70th minute, the tension in the ground was palpable.
A quick counter-attack from Roscommon should have been enough to secure the win. Noel Gately ran through on goal and drew Niall Corbet out from goal, but opted to blast the ball over the bar rather than try to find Cian McKeon running in at the far post. That left a chink of light open for Laois, and it fell to Kieran Lillis to take advantage.
A free from Ross Munnelly as dropped into the Roscommon penalty area and once the home side failed to control it at the first attempt, Lillis as able to seize the break and then use all his power and strength to find a half a yard of space and slam the ball to the net.
Had the OMoore County come away from this game empty-handed, they would have felt hard done by. They controlled the game in the first half, particularly at midfield where John OLoughlin and Sen Byrne were dominant, with Kieran Lillis also alternating between roles in the centre and on the edge of the square.
Laois also made excellent use of the mark, with Lillis, OCarroll and Colm Murphy all converting scores that way in the opening 35. Roscommon did look sharp up front when they got good possessions and both Smith brothers made a strong impact on the game.
They had to be efficient as Roscommon spent long spells of the half on the back foot, only taking the lead when a superb pass from Brian Stack put Niall Kilroy through on goal, and the Fuerty man duly applied a precise low finish to find the net.
1-7 to 0-9 at half time became 1-10 to 0-10 and it looks as if the Rossies might pull away after half time, but instead they lapsed back into some sloppy play and a series of turnovers in the Laois half of the field cost them scoring chances. Ross Munnelly came of the bench to kick off his 18th season of competitive intercounty senior football and he added two scores to keep Laois in touch, before again a run from Kilroy seemed to make the game safe.
He darted through the middle, picked up a pass from Cathal Cregg, and once Mark Timmons dragged him to the ground, it was an easy call for Ciarn Branagan to stretch his arms wide for the penalty and to give Timmons a black card.
Enda Smith blasted a perfect penalty to the net, followed up with a fine point from play, and when Hubert Darcy added a free, it was 2-13 to 0-13 and the serious business seemed to be done and dusted.
Scorers for Roscommon: Enda Smith 1-2 1-0 pen, Donie Smith 0-4 2fs, 1m, Cian McKeon 0-3 2fs, Niall Kilroy 1-0, Cathal Cregg, Shane Killoran, Niall Daly, Hubert Darcy f and Noel Gately 0-1 each.
Scorers for Laois: Evan OCarroll 1-6 2 45s, 1f, 1m, Kieran Lillis 1-3 1m, Colm Murphy 0-2 0-1m, Ross Munnelly 0-2 1f, 1m, Michael Keogh 0-1.
ROSCOMMON: Colm Lavin; David Murray, Brian Stack, Gary Patterson; Pdraig Scott, Niall Daly, Richard Hughes; Shane Killoran, Tadhg O'Rourke; Niall Kilroy, Enda Smith, Finbar Cregg; Donie Smith, Cian McKeon, Cathal Cregg.
Subs: Conor Daly for Richard Hughes 43, Hubert Darcy for Killoran 53, blood, Darcy for F Cregg 59, Ciarn Lennon for C Cregg 62, Noel Gately for D Smith 66, Dylan Ruane for O'Rourke 703.
LAOIS: Niall Corbet; Trevor Collins, Mark Timmons, Gearid Hanrahan; Sen O'Flynn, Robert Pigott, Patrick O'Sullivan; Kieran Lillis, John O'Loughlin; Sen Byrne, Mark Barry, Eoin Lowry; Michael Keogh, Colm Murphy, Evan O'Carroll.
Subs: Cahir Healy for Collins 46, Ross Munnelly for Murphy 49, Damien O'Connor for Keogh 49, Gary Walsh for O'Loughlin 53, Garry Comerford for Lowry 66, Brian Byrne for Barry 70.
REFEREE: Ciarn Branagan Down.