Monaghan struggle to see off leaderless Laois
Managerless Laois pushed the home side all the way at Scotstown yesterday. Laois led 1-3 to 0-5 at halftime, helped by a freak goal when a Danny Doogue free flew to the top corner of the Monaghan goal. Earlier in the half, Monaghan had struggled to settle down, but looked to be coming to terms with the game until Doogue's goal. The defence thereafter looked a little jittery, with Laois mounting quick counterattacks. Within four minutes of the restart, Monaghan had retaken the lead with points by Stephen McGinnity and Padraig Treanor, but Michael Lawlor soon had Laois back on level terms.
Monaghan then hit their best spell between the 11th and 21st minutes, when four unanswered points saw them create the cushion that was ultimately to see them through. Laois suffered a blow when Colm Parkinson got a red card for a second booking, but despite being a man down, they exerted late pressure that saw them pull back two points through Derek O'Connell and Michael Lawlor.
In the final minutes, Monaghan lifted the siege but were off target from three attempts, leaving manager Eamon McEnaney commenting later that it was the victory as opposed to the performance that pleased him.
Monaghan: G Murphy; P McKenna, N Marron, D McArdle; P Hughes, E Murphy, J Conlon; J Coyle, M Daly; D Swift (0-2), P O'Connor (0-1), P Treanor (0-4); S McGinnity (0-4), C Ronaghan, K McGonnell. Subs: D McDermott for P McKenna; D Smyth for K McGonnell.
Laois: F Byron; D Lalor, E Delaney, C Canning; N Collins, D Rooney, C Parkinson; N Garvan, D Sweeney; M Lambe, K Fitzpatrick, M Lawlor (0-3); M Fennelly, M Rooney, D Doogue (1-2). Subs: D O'Connell (0-1), for M Rooney; E Coleman for C Canning.
Referee: S Prior (Leitrim).