Offaly beat Laois in Portlaoise for first time since 1978 in Leinster Championship

Offaly’s cause helped significantly by 20th-minute red card for Laois corner back James Kelly

Leinster SFC quarter-final: Offaly 2-13 Laois 1-8

Offaly clicked into top gear in the second half to record their first Leinster Senior Football Championship win over Laois in Portlaoise since 1978 on Saturday evening.

The visitors were the better side on the day by the distance, even though their cause was helped significantly by a 20th minute red card for Laois corner back James Kelly. Laois were not happy with that sending off, though his elbow did appear to go back and Dylan Hyland went down holding his ribs after the home side had won a free out.

Even the numerical advantage doesn’t fully count for Offaly’s superiority on the day and they played most of the football on the day, apart from a ten minute spell coming up to half time.

The teams were level at half time, Laois 1-5, Offaly 0-8 and the home side were certainly the happier to be in that position.


Offaly were the better team for much of the first half and their performance warranted a three or four point lead. They missed two real goal chances with Jack Bryant blasting over from point blank range after twenty seconds and Eoin Carroll drawing a good save from Killian Roche with a snap shot in the24th minute.

Laois converted their goal chance in the 28th minute with Shaun Fitzpatrick finding the net after Ian Duffy made a fine save from his first shot. That goal brought Laois back into it, making it 1-3 to 0-7.

Offaly were 0-6 to 0-2 ahead when James Kelly was sent off and Laois were struggling to get anything going. Offaly had played very well early on and had four points on the board before Laois got their first point from an Evan O’Carroll free in the eight minute. Ruari McNamee got the next point after Fitzpatrick’s goal but points from Eoin Buggie and a Killian Roche free levelled it up at half time.

Evan O’Carroll put Laois ahead for the first time with a free two minutes into the second half but that was the high point of their evening. Just when the home support were beginning to dream, Offaly found another gear and blew them out of the water.

The hard working Dylan Hyland tapped over two frees and Keith O’Neill got in for a 41st minute goal after intercepting a short Killian Roche kickout. That 1-10 to 1-6 lead was a more accurate reflection of the play and Offaly went for the jugular.

Their second goal came three minutes later when Eoin Carroll turned over the ball in midfield when Laois were pushing men forward. Jordan Hayes raced into open ground, stayed clear of the chasing defenders and finished very well to the net. Keith O’Neill (two) and Hyland (free) added points and almost in the blink of an eye, Offaly were 2-13 to 1-6 ahead.

They closed the game out very professionally from here. They defended in numbers to ensure Laois couldn’t get in for goals but continued to break at pace and in fact could have won by a lot more as Rory Egan and Peter Cunningham missed late goal chances.

Offaly: I Duffy; D Dempsey, D Hogan, L Pearson (0-1); C Egan, P Cunningham, J Furlong; E Carroll, J McEvoy; D Hyland (0-5, four frees), R McNamee (0-1), J Hayes (1-0); J Bryant (0-3, two frees), N Poland, K O’Neill (1-3). Subs – C Flynn for Bryant (49m), C Farrell for Hyland, inj. (57m), J O’Brien for McEvoy (61m), R Egan for McNamee (63m), D McDaid for Pearson (64m).

Laois: K Roche (0-2, two frees); B Dempsey, S Lacey, J Kelly; E Buggie (0-1), M Timmons, J Lacey; K Lillis, D Larkin; K Swayne, E Lowry, S Fitzpatrick (1-0); M Barry (0-2, two frees), E O’Carroll (0-3, two frees), P Kingston. Subs – C Heffernan for Larkin, inj. (10m), D O’Reilly for Lillis (50m), D Kavanagh for Dempsey (50m), N Dunne for Kingston (55m), S Fingleton for Timmons (64m).

Referee: J Henry (Mayo).