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Allianz FL D4: Huge final weekend in store

Eoin Darcy found the net twice for Wicklow in Chadwicks Wexford Park yesterday.

Eoin Darcy found the net twice for Wicklow in Chadwicks Wexford Park yesterday.

Allianz League Division Four Results

SLIGO 2-10 CARLOW 0-11




An incredible final round of games is in store next Sunday afternoon in Division Four of the Allianz Football League, after Leitrim rounded off the weekend's action with a 2-14 to 0-18 win over Laois that leaves those two counties, and Wicklow, all tied on eight points. Sligo top the table with 10 after their win over Carlow yesterday, but they still need to get at least a draw in Carrick-on-Shannon next Sunday afternoon to be sure of going up, while Wicklow and Laois are still very much in the hunt, even though they need other results to go their way as well.

Mathematically, Wexford could still finish second but it would require an extraordinary sequence of results for that to happen.

Laois started brightly at Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada this afternoon, with Mark Barry and Eoin Lowry on the scoresheet early as they moved 0-4 to 0-2 in front. The crowd exploded with a quarter of an hour gone however when the league's top scorer, Leitrim full-forward Keith Beirne, was left with a tap in into an empty net thanks to good work from Evan Sweeney under the high ball. 

Points from Sweeney, Beirne and Shane Quinn pushed the lead out to three points, and while Evan O'Carroll cut that back just before the break to make it 1-8 to 0-9, a second goal from Pearse Dolan off the throw in at the start of the second half put Andy Moran's side well and truly in the driving seat. 

The response from the midlanders was exemplary however, as they took control for the third quarter and rattled off six points in succession, with Patrick O'Sullivan nudging them in front before a Keith Beirne mark rounded off a 20 minute scoring drought for the home side. The tie swung over and back but was still level going into the final four minutes, when Shane Quinn was sent off for the Connacht county. Mark Plunkett's massive score and a 45 from Beirne, either side of Laois hitting the crossbar, meant that it was Leitrim who scraped home and who now have control over their own destiny next week. 

Sligo made it five wins in succession to move to the top of the Allianz League Division Four table yesterday, with first half goals from Seán Carrabine and Niall Murphy helping them across the line in a scrappy encounter against Carlow at Netwatch Cullen Park.

Wind-assisted in the first half, Carlow started well with two early Darragh Foley points but matters went downhill from there as the two goals helped Sligo to lead by 2-4 to 0-5 at the interval.

Conor Doyle pointed for Carlow at the start of the second half but Carlow never got too close as Pat Spillane, Finnian Cawley and Carrabine got the points that helped keep their hosts at bay. There was one nervous moment late on when Eric Molloy cut through, but his powerful strike sailed over the bar.

Wicklow are still very much in the promotion chase but their failure to hold out against Wexford at Chadwicks Wexford Park may yet prove very costly. As things stand, they need to beat Waterford and for Sligo to get something out of their game with Leitrim, in order to pip Laois by way of the head-to-head rule on ten points.

Eoin Darcy’s second goal of the game with 67 minutes gone seemed to put them in position to follow up their comeback win over Leitrim in the previous round with yet another victory from behind, but late scores from Mark Rossiter and a Ben Brosnan free – in the eighth minute of stoppage time – means it finished level.

Wexford full-forward Robbie Brooks was the main threat for the home side in the opening half as he chipped in with three out of his team’s nine points, and they moved four points clear five minutes into the second half when points from Cian Hughes, Glen Malone and Páraic Hughes made it 0-12 to 0-8.

A penalty from Darcy, awarded for a foul on Patrick O’Keane, allowed Wicklow to draw level with 50 minutes gone, and while Wexford rallied again through dead ball scores from Brosnan and Eoghan Nolan, Wicklow got back on level terms and seemed to have done enough when Darcy raised his second green flag.

Instead, they now need to beat Waterford next weekend and get plenty of favours from elsewhere to secure promotion.

Finally, Leamybrien was the venue where Waterford picked up their first win in 22 months, as Conor Ó Cuirrín’s late point confirmed a 2-9 to 2-5 win over London.

This was a scrappy encounter with London leading by the odd point in three after 25 minutes, before Chris Farley scored the game’s opening goal from a penalty. A Conor Murray point and Darragh Corcoran’s goal levelled the game before Farley edged the Exiles back in front at the break, but Waterford found another gear after half-time and looked set fair for a win when Seán Whelan Barrett found the net ten minutes after the restart, and eight minutes later, James Gallagher received his second yellow card. The lead was stretched out to six soon after, but a second penalty from Farley ensured a tense finish.