Leinster Senior Football Championship Round One
Laois 2-17 Wexford 2-13
By Alan Hartnett at Laois Hire O’Moore Park
Mark Barry was at his brilliant best as the Laois senior footballers recorded a much needed win over Wexford this afternoon.
After a disappointing Allianz Football League Division Four campaign, Billy Sheehan’s charges needed a result and they got one.
The O’Dempsey’s man kicked 2-4 and was only denied a late hat-trick of goals by the crossbar. Laois now advance to the Leinster quarter final to face Dublin in two weeks’ time.
Laois played against the breeze in the first half but started well with points from Mark Barry and Paul Kingston.
Wexford got underway via Ben Brosnan and Robbie Brooks and then grabbed the game’s first goal.
A short kickout was played to Padraig Kirwan who tried to find someone with a hand pass, but it was cut out by Paudie Hughes which resulted in Robbie Brooks fisting the ball into the net
Laois actually had two great goal chances either side of that Brooks goal for Wexford.
The first came for Evan O’Carroll when he forced Craig McCabe into a save and the second arrived in the 12th minute.
Sean O’Flynn turned over a Wexford kick out and Evan O’Carroll got the ball to Eoin Lowry who, with McCabe out of his goal, could not beat two scrambling defenders with his shot.
Laois did reply with a Paul Kingston free but a fine score by Paudie Hughes left Wexford 1-3 to 0-3 ahead at the midpoint of the half.
Paddy O’Sullivan brought the gap back to two, but then Laois were reduced to 14 men on the 20th minute when Mark Timmons was black carded.
Wexford now had the wind and a man advantage – which they used to land two Ben Brosnan frees.
But Laois managed the game really well after that as they kept possession and replied with two frees from Kingston.
Timmons returned as Evan O’Carroll left the gap at one as we headed towards injury time.
Sean Nolan moved Wexford further ahead but then Laois took the lead in bizarre circumstances.
Wexford had a sideline ball and tried to play it back to keeper Craig McCabe, but it went over his head and Evan O’Carroll pounced and fed Mark Barry who slotted into an empty net.
Wexford ended the half with points from Kevin O’Grady and Ben Brosnan to lead 1-8 to 1-7 – but Laois would now have the wind.
And they were level within a minute as Mark Barry pointed a free and then they went ahead from the next kick out via Damon Larkin.
Evan O’Carroll briefly moved Laois two ahead but Sean Nolan kept Wexford in touch before Barry pointed again after 41 minutes.
Ben Brosnan pointed then and Laois had a hairy moment in the 45th minute when Sean Nolan broke through and shot but Padraig Kirwan got back to clear it off the line.
Evan O’Carroll then landed a 45 and Damon Larkin kicked his second before O’Carroll set up Eoin Lowry for a second goal chance, but this time he shot wide.
O’Carroll then landed a mark to leave four in it but that was back to one with 54 minutes on the clock.
Wexford broke forward after Laois dropped a shot short and John Turbitt spun away from Sean Greene before finding Ben Brosnan who was fouled by Scott Osborne. The forward stepped up and scored into the bottom corner.
But Laois went back four ahead four minutes later. Kieran Lillis’ shot went into the air and Paul Kingston battled for it before it popped up to Mark Barry to finish right-footed into the top corner of the net.
Laois added points from Barry and O’Carroll as they ran out comfortable enough winners in the end.
Scorers for Laois: Mark Barry 2-4 (2fs, 1m), Evan O’Carroll 0-6 (1f, 1m, 145), Paul Kingston 0-4 (3fs), Damon Larkin 0-2, Paddy O’Sullivan 0-1
Scorers for Wexford: Ben Brosnan 1-7 (1-0 pen, 5fs), Robbie Brooks 1-1, Sean Nolan 0-2, Paudie Hughes 0-1, Kevin O’Grady 0-1, Eoghan Nolan 0-1 (1 45)
Laois: Scott Osborne; Sean Greene, Trevor Collins, Robbie Pigott; Sean O’Flynn, Mark Timmons, Padraig Kirwan; Kieran Lillis, Damon Larkin; Kevin Swayne, Paul Kingston, Paddy O’Sullivan; Eoin Lowry, Evan O’Carroll, Mark Barry.
Subs: Dylan Kavanagh for Swayne (66), Niall Corbet for Lowry (69), James Finn for Larkin (71).
Wexford: Craig McCabe; Brian Cushe, Dylan Furlong, Gavin Sheehan; Kevin O’Grady, Gavin Sheehan, Glen Malone; Niall Hughes, Cathal Walsh; Paudie Hughes, Eoghan Nolan, Robbie Brooks; Sean Nolan, Ben Brosnan, John Tubritt.
Subs: Conor Kinsella for Hughes (37, inj), Emmet Carey for Furlong (ht), Jim Rossiter for Nolan (56), Richard Waters for Brookes (63), Rioghan Crosbie for O’Grady (71).
Referee: Conor Lane (Cork)