Laois save their Division Two status with remarkable comeback

Fermanagh led 1-11 to 0-9 in Brewster Park in the 67th minute but lost by seven points

Paul Kingston played a key role in Laois’ comeback against Fermanagh. File photograph: Inpho

Paul Kingston played a key role in Laois’ comeback against Fermanagh. File photograph: Inpho

 

Fermanagh 1-11 Laois 3-12

Three sensational goals in six minutes of extra time sealed a superb 14-man Laois comeback against Fermanagh on Saturday that saves their status in Division Two.

It looked bleak for Mike Quirke’s men as they trailed by 1-11 to 0-9 in Brewster Park in the 67th minute. But Gary Walsh began the brilliant comeback when he converted a penalty after Paul Kingston’s shot was blocked by a Fermanagh defender’s boot. Suddenly there were only two points in it and a dreadful Fermanagh kickout was gobbled up by Walsh who dispatched to the net again and Laois were in front for the first time since the opening minute. Kingston then hit a third goal to seal a superb comeback.

Fermanagh looked to be cruising after their outstanding full-forward Tomas Corrigan calmly steered a loose ball to the Laois net in the 55th minute to put his team into a 1-10 to 0-7 lead. Laois then lost their captain and midfielder Kieran Lillis to a straight red card for a challenge on Fermanagh substitute Danny Teague.

But the Ernesiders, who controlled the match from the start could only add a further point from Stephen McGullion - who could have had a goal in the 67th minute. Instead the Laois penalty sparked a remarkable comeback that will live long in the memory.

The home side had the better of a turgid opening half and deservedly led by 0-5 to 0-3 with Corrigan on the mark and young goalkeeper Sean McNally slotting a superb 45. Laois relied mainly on full-forward Evan O’Carroll and Walsh inside to keep them in touch.

The scoring and the quality of football improved immensely in the second half with Laois looking more lively. It was score for score until the 48th minute as the sides were tied 0-7 each before the Ernesiders tacked on 1-3 and looked to be on their way to a comfortable win.

But they had no answers to that late Laois tsunami that swept them completely aside.

Fermanagh: S McNally (0-1 free) J Cassidy, K Connor, L Flanagan; J Large Ellis, J McMahon, D McCusker; R O’Callaghan,R Jones (0-1); C Corrigan, C McManus D McGurn (0-1); L McSravick (0-1), T Corrigan (1-5,0-4 frees) S McGullion (0-2). Subs: A Breen for L McStravick (40 mins), P McCusker for J Largo Elliss (50 mins), D Teague for C McManus (61 mins), E Courtney for D McGurn (69 mins), R Corrigan for T Corrigan (70 mins).

Laois: N Corbett, T Collins, M Timmons, R Pigott; A Farrell, P Kingston (1-1), D O’Reilly, K Lillis, J O’Loughlin; G Dillon, S Lacey, B Byrne; E Lowry (0-1), E O’Carroll (0-2, 0-1 free) G Walsh (2-5, 1-0 penalty). Subs: B Daly (0-1) for J O’Loughlin (27 mins), S Bolger for R Pigott (h-t), E Buggie (0-1) for A Farrell (44 mins), M Keogh (0-1)for G Dillon (48 mins), M Barry for E Lowry (60 mins).

Referee: F Kelly (Longford)

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