Tipp promotion hopes dented after late Laois surge

A game that Tipperary needed to win to stay in contention for promotion from division four of the National Football League slipped from their grasp in the closing minutes as Laois hit three late points on Sunday to maintain their unbeaten record in the group.

GAA: Allianz National Football League Division 4 Round 4



Report: Michael Dundon at FBD Semple Stadium

Photos: Bridget Delaney


Player of the Match: Sean O’Connor (Tipperary).

SCORERS – Tipperary: Sean O’Connor 1-3; Jack Kennedy (Commercials) 0-3; Riain Quigley 0-1.

Laois: Evan O’Carroll 0-4; Shaun Fitzpatrick 0-2; Brian Byrne, Damon Larkin, Mark Barry, Paul Kingston, Kieran Lillis 0-1 each.

The defeat, Tipperary’s second of the campaign, virtually ends their prospects of promotion while Laois stand proudly at the top of the table with full points from four outings.

It could have been so much different however, had Tipp converted a second half penalty and had the woodwork not twice denied them likely goals.

Tipp got a great start when Sean O’Connor netted after being fed by Paddy Creedon to go 1-1 to 0-1 ahead after nine minutes.

Laois were the better side at this time, defending in depth when necessary, and countering swiftly when the opportunity arose, and this reflected itself as they scored four points in a seven minute spell from the 20th to the 27th minutes to go 0-6 to 1-2 ahead.

In the 32nd minute, Mark Stokes, who was working extremely hard for Tipp, hit the woodwork when a possible second Tipp goal looked likely, but at the break, Laois held a slender one point advantage.

It was a contest very much in the balance and five minutes after resuming the sides were level, 1-4 to 0-7. Four minutes later came the decisive moment when Mark Stokes was hauled down and referee Fintan Pierce awarded Tipp a penalty. However, Laois goalkeeper Killian Roche guessed right, diving to turn the Clonmel Commercials’ man shot away.

What impact a Tipp goal would have had at that stage is anybody’s guess and to compound the issue, Laois went back in front with a Shaun Fitzpatrick point in the 46th minute.

A minute later, Laois were down to fourteen players as Evan O’Carroll was black-carded. Tipp took full advantage with points from Riain Quigley and Sean O’Connor (2) to go 1-7 to 0-8 clear in the 52nd minute.

Four minutes later, Peter McGarry had a goal-bound effort beaten out for a 45 but then, restored to the full complement, Laois shot three points in four minutes to push ahead 0-11 to 1-7 as the game moved into stoppage time.

Tipp gave it everything to the finish, but Laois closed off all avenues to goal to secure a hard-earned brace of points and preserve their one hundred per cent record.

TEAMS – Tipperary: Evan Comerford (Kilsheelan/Kilcash 7); Shane O’Connell (Golden-Kilfeacle 6), Jimmy Feehan (Killenaule 7), James Morris (Clonmel Commercials 7); Stephen Grogan (Cahir 6), Paudie Feehan (Killenaule 7), Kieran Costello (Thurles Sarsfields 6); Cathal Deely (Clonmel Commercials 6), Mark Stokes (Kilsheelan/Kilcash 7); Darragh O’Leary (Ardfinnan 5), Jack Kennedy (Clonmel Commercials 8), Peter McGarry (Clonmel Commercials 7); Jack Kennedy (JK Brackens), Paddy Creedon (Thurles Sarsfields 7), Sean O’Connor (Clonmel Commercials 9).

Subs: Conal Kennedy (Clonmel Commercials 6) for O’Leary (24); Riain Quigley (Moyle Rovers 6) for J Kennedy (JK Brackens HT); Emmet Moloney (Drom & Inch 6) for Morris (44); Rory O’Dowd (Clonmel Commercials 6) for McGarry (62); Shane Neville (Cratloe NR) for P Feehan (68).

Laois: Killian Roche (7); Ben Dempsey (6), Seamus Lacey (7), James Kelly (6); Eoin Buggie (6), Mark Timmons (7), Brian Byrne (6); Conor Heffernan (6), Damon Larkin (6); Kevin Swane (6), Niall Dunne (6), Shaun Fitzpatrick (7); Mark Barry (7), Evan O’Carroll (7), Paul Kingston (6).

Subs: Eoin Lowry (6) for Swane (43); Kieran Lillis (6) for Larkin (54); Sean O’Flynn (6) for Byrne (61); Mikie Dempsey (6) for Dunne (61); Simon Fingleton (NR) for Buggie (70+1).

Referee: Fintan Pierce (Offaly).