Masters Football Shield Final
By Conor McKenna
LAOIS Master footballers suffered defeat in the Masters Shield Final, losing out to Leitrim/Longford after a good game of football in Ballyleague, Roscommon on Saturday. This was an entertaining game of football, though Leitrim/Longford took over in the second half and started to dominate.
Laois opened the scoring courtesy of a point from Chris Conway before Greg Ramsbottom’s effort doubled his side’s advantage.
Leitirm/Longford responded with scores from JP McManus and Jamesie Martin to level the match, before a Chris Conway free restored his side’s lead.
A point from Fergal Fennell was followed by a goal from Greg Ramsbottom with his 14th minute effort beating the Longford/Leitrim goalkeeper, to leave five points between the teams.
A further point from the same player increased Laois’s lead, but Leitrim/Longford scored the next three points in succession to bring them back into contention.
Conway and Martin then traded scores, before the referee blew for half time with Laois holding a 1-6 to 0-6 lead at the break.
Benny O’Rourke scored the first point of the second half, before Laois were reduced to 14 men, as Noel Garvan was shown a second yellow card and the referee awarded a penalty to Leitrim/Longford. Benny O’Rourke made no mistake with the resulting spot-kick as his side went in front before Conway and Ray Cox traded scores.
Shane Cooke’s effort levelled the match again. Laois were awarded a penalty in the 41st minute when Greg Ramsbottom was fouled and Cooke converted it to put his side back in front.
Leitrim/Longford responded magnificently to this set-back however, scoring the next seven points to turn a three-point deficit into a four-point advantage.
Chris Conway found the target for Laois to make it a one score game with 58 minutes played, but a score from Leitrim/Longford substitute Willie Skelly sealed the victory as his side held out for a four point win.
Laois manager Leo Turley was disappointed with his sides display, as he felt they didn’t play as well as they wanted to.
“We probably didn’t show up as well as we wanted to today. We were going okay in the first half with the wind. Probably didn’t get as many scores as we would have liked and then in the second half. Leitrim/Longford just put us under the cosh a little bit, especially early on in the second half,” Turley said.
LONGFORD/LEITRIM: Francis Noonan; James Hynes, Derek McKeon, Enda McGahern; Gerry Carberry, John Coyle, Niall Brady; Ollie Maguire, Noel Reynolds; Andrew McManus (0-1), Jamesie Martin (0-5, 0-1f), Benny O’Rourke (1-2, 1-0 pen); J.P. McManus (0-1), Martin Dolan, Mark Beirne.
Subs used: Seamus Shortt, P.C. Corrigan, Niall Connerton, Emmett Kenny, Ray Cox (0-2, 0-1f), Willie Skelly (0-4).
LAOIS: Dan Nelligan; PJ Rowan, David Brennan, Michael O’Brien; Darren Rooney, Kevin Fitzpatrick, Brian McEvoy; Fergal Fennell (0-1), Noel Garvan; Darren Finlay, Greg Ramsbottom (1-2), Rory O’Connell; Chris Conway (0-5, 0-1f), Mark Rooney, Paul Dunne.
Subs used: Shane Cooke (1-0 pen), John Molloy, Denis Brennan, Colm Miller, John Kenny, Larry Keenan.
Referee: John Gilmartin (Sligo)