All-Ireland SFC Qualifier Round 2
Michael McMullan reports from Owenbeg
Derry’s championship season came to an end, following their defeat to Laois at Owenbeg on Saturday evening.
Impact substitute Eoin Lowry scored the all-important goal in the 66th minute, but Laois were full value for their win.
The sucker punch was coming.
The winners carved out three goal chances in the third quarter and spurned them all.
With Derry pegged back in their own half, they invited John Sugrue's men onto them and Lowry struck for the winner.
It was the first meeting of the counties since Derry's qualifier win at Breffni Park in 2007.
It was a bumper, unconfirmed, attendance at Owenbeg, with fans still filing in at half-time.
Derry started without Emmett Bradley and brought in Jack Doherty and Liam McGoldrick, with Ruairi Mooney also dropping out.
As expected, Donie Kingston started for Laois, after making a telling impact in their Leinster championship defeat to Meath.
NIP AND TUCK
In an even first-half, Ryan Bell’s left footed effort opened the scoring with a Shane McGuigan free doubling the score.
Colm Murphy and Evan O'Carroll levelled the game for Laois by the 10th minute.
Heron edged Derry ahead but with Laois packing the middle, they were never able to break them down and coughed up possession.
With Colm Murphy taking Liam McGoldrick for three points, Laois were always able to keep in touch.
In the closing stages a whopping Ciaran McFaul effort into the teeth of the breeze and Benny Heron point, after a vital turn over from Niall Keenan opened up a two point gap.
But back came Daniel O’Reilly to leave Laois in touch (0-8 to 0-7) at the break.
Chrissy McKaigue fired over from the wing to extend the lead within seconds of the restart but two Donie Kingston frees soon had the sides level.
Colm Murphy blazed a shot wide of the posts with a goal at his mercy. Then Thomas Mallon pulled off an unbelievable save, again from Murphy and later on he denied Evan O’Carroll as Derry were hanging on.
The score was poised at 0-11 each and the game went 11 minutes without a score, before Shane McGuigan was fouled and he fired over the bar.
Then disaster struck for Derry. Graham Brody again found a blue jersey and Laois were on the attack. Martin Scully passed to the unmarked Lowey who slotted beyond the dive of Mallon.
A goal always going to decide the game and Derry never looked like bouncing back.
Ciaran McFaul was shown a straight red card for an off the ball incident and Lowry nailed a late free to seal Laois’ spot in round three.
Laois: Graham Brody; Stephen Attride, Denis Booth, Gareth Dillon; Trevor Collins (0-1), Robert Piggot, Patrick O'Sullivan; John O'Loughlin, Kieran Lillis (0-1); Daniel O'Reilly (0-1), Conor Boyle, Donie Kingston (0-4, 3f); Paul Kingston, Colm Murphy (0-3), Evan O'Carroll (0-2, 1f).
Subs: Seán Byrne for D Booth (HT), Martin Scully for P Kingston (50), Eoin Buggie for P O’Sullivan (53), Mark Barry for D Kingston (BC 62), Eoin Lowry (1-1, 1f) for E O’Carroll (62), Sean O’Flynn for R Piggot (BC 66).
Derry: Thomas Mallon; Karl McKaigue, Brendan Rogers, Liam McGoldrick; Jason Rocks, Chrissy McKaigue (0-1), Niall Keenan; Ciaran McFaul (0-1), Conor McAtamney; Jack Doherty, Benny Heron (0-2), Padraig Cassidy; Shane McGuigan (0-5, 4f), Ryan Bell (0-3, 2f), Enda Lynn.
Subs: Eoghan Concannon for L McGoldrick (HT), Paddy Coney for J Rocks (45), Conor Doherty for J Doherty (55), Christopher Bradley for R Bell (57), Sean F Quinn for E Concannon (58).
Ref: Jerome Henry (Mayo).
Full coverage in Tuesday’s County Derry Post.
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