Andrew Corden Cup U/20 Football Development League
By Kieran Murphy
THIS Andrew Corden Cup U/20 Football Development League tie at Netwatch Cullen Park on Saturday was a lively affair which ebbed and flowed throughout. The visitors deserved their victory but Carlow had some great chances near the end which, if taken, could have changed the result.
The home side started well with points from Aidan Lillis and Pauric Hynes (free) easing them into an early lead. Laois had the edge at midfield where Eoin Dunne and Robert Tyrell were instrumental in seeing their side pick off six points out of the next seven over the next 15 minutes
It could be argued Tyrell was lucky not to pick up an early yellow card when his and high lazy arm caught an opponent in mid-air. On 45 minutes he did pick up a yellow card.
On the other hand Laois forwards Mark Barry, Diarmuid Whelan, Jack Owens and Michael Doran were all on the mark in the first half resulting in their side leading 1-7 to 0-6 at the break.
The goal was simplicity itself. Having tried route one into Dan McCormack without success Laois raided down the right at the tunnel end of the ground. When Doran punched the ball across the face of the goal in stepped the big full-forward to punch home from the edge of the small square.
Just as they did in the first Carlow started the second half well with Ben Dorgan landing a point from play and Cian Doyle also converted a free. Barry replied for Laois and when he added two more points it looked as if the blue and whites were set for an easy victory.
Carlow dug deep and a run from Griffin Kennedy saw him off-load to Hynes. The Fenagh man could have gone himself but he fed Cian Doyle who slid the ball home.
Diarmuid Whelan replied with a 50th minute free while Bambrick added another point for Carlow to leave them trailing by two.
The home side got within touching distance of victory when Laois goalkeeper, Niall Gorman, parried a rocket from Hynes and Colin Byrne was on hand to tap home.
Laois replied in the best possible way scoring the final four points of the game to clinch victory through Barry with two and one each from Eoin Dunne and Doran.
Laois are now firmly on track to become inaugural winners of this competition. Having played and defeated Tipperary, Wexford and Carlow all they need to do is not to be beaten when they travel to take on Waterford next Saturday at a venue to be decided.
LAOIS: Niall Gorman; Kevin Byrne, Seamus Lacey, Alex Mohan; Colin Slevin, Jack Lacey, Dean Brophy; Eoin Dunne (0-2), Robert Tyrell; Ronan Coffey, Michael Doran (0-5), Mark Barry (0-6, 0-5fs); Jack Owens (0-1), Dan McCormack (1-0), Diarmuid Whelan (0-3, 0-1f).
Subs: Killian Horgan for Brophy (17m), PJ Daly for Owens (40m), Michael Dempsey for Coffey (44m), Jason Maher for Doran (62m).
CARLOW: Keelan Gaffney; Conor Hickson, Barry Hickey, Jonah Dunne; Griffin Kennedy, Mikey Bambrick (0-2), Tom Pollard; Jamie McCabe, Ben Dorgan (0-1); Jamie Lunney (0-1), Pauric Hynes (0-4, 2fs 45), Gavin Healy; Colin Byrne (1-0), Cian Doyle (1-2, 0-2fs), Aidan Lillis (0-1).
Subs: Luke Connolly for Healy (h/t), Darren O’Keeffe for Dorgan (45m), James Esser for Lillis (52m), Cormac Connolly for McCabe (57m)
Referee: Chris Dwyer (Offaly)