Allianz FL D2: Laois escape the drop
Allianz Football League Division 2
LAOIS 3-12 FERMANAGH 1-11
By Declan Bogue In Brewster Park
There have been great escapes before with teams fighting for their lives in a division, but Laois' 3-3 in the last ten minutes to rescue this and their Division Two status was fairly impressive.
With three minutes left Fermanagh were five points up with a man extra after the dismissal of Kieran Lillis.
But they suffered a complete collapse thereafter, mainly of their own doing.
First, Kane Connor blocked a goalbound Paul Kingston shot with his foot and Gary Walsh converted the resultant penalty. Walsh added a free-kick a couple of minutes later.
From that restart, with Fermanagh goalkeeper Sean McNally pressured, full-forward Evan O'Carroll pinched the short kickout and laid off to Walsh to crash to the net. They actually made life comfortable for themselves with another goal before the end, coming from Kingston.
Laois will play the winners of next week's Leinster tie between Longford and Louth in a fortnight's time. This was about as useful a tune-up you could get, in overcoming such a huge amount of difficulties to save their hide.
For 65 minutes, Fermanagh were comfortably the better side. While they were without injured captain Eoin Donnelly, Tomás Corrigan looked well back to his old sharp self with 1-5, four frees and a spectacular effort from play, along with a sidefooted shot from 20 yards off the deck to the net.
They were playing a number of younger players such as Luke Flanagan, Josh Largo Ellis and goalkeeper McNally. It was a steep learning curve ahead of their next assignment, Down in Enniskillen in the Championship in a fortnight.
Scorers for Laois: G Walsh 2-5, 1-0 pen, 5f, P Kingston 1-1, E O'Carroll 0-2, E Lowry, B Daly, E Buggie, M Keogh 0-1 each
Scorers for Fermanagh: T Corrigan 1-5, 4f, S McGullion 0-2, S McNally (f), R Jones, D McGurn, L McStravick 0-1 each.
LAOIS: N Corbett; T Collins, M Timmons, R Pigott; A Farrell, D Booth, P Kingston; K Lillis, J O'Loughlin; G Dillon, S Lacey, B Byrne; E Lowry, E O'Carroll, G Walsh. Subs: B Daly for O'Loughlin (25m), S Bulger for Pigott (HT), E Buggie for Farrell (45m), M Keogh for Dillon (55m), M Barry for Lowry (58m)
FERMANAGH: S McNally; J Cassidy, K Connor, L Flanagan; J Largo Ellis, J McMahon, D McCusker; R O'Callaghan, R Jones; C Corrigan, C McManus, D McGurn; L McStravick, T Corrigan, S McGullion. Subs: A Breen for McStravick (41m), P McCusker for Largo Ellis (52m), D Teague for McManus (60m), E Courtney for McGurn (68m), R Corrigan for T Corrigan (73m)
Referee: Fergal Kelly (Longford)