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Fourteen-man Offaly dig deep to grind out vital win over Laois

The Faithful men faced an uphill battle in the second-half but succeeded to take the two points.

Shane Dooley hit 0-12 for Offaly in Tullamore (file photo).
Shane Dooley hit 0-12 for Offaly in Tullamore (file photo).
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Offaly 1-17
Laois 0-15

OFFALY OVERCAME THE second-half dismissal of Joey O’Connor to see off Laois at O’Connor Park in Tullamore this afternoon in Division 1B of the Allianz Hurling League.

Having lost comprehensively against Clare in last weekend’s opener, the five-point win could be crucial for Offaly in the battle to avoid relegation.

However, it’s a second consecutive defeat for Laois, who now face a hugely difficult task to avoid the drop. Cheddar Plunkett’s side were beaten at home to Kerry seven days ago.

Things were looking good for Laois in the early stages of the second-half. With the wind at their backs and the scores level, Offaly were reduced to 14 men when O’Connor was shown a straight red card for lashing out at Ciaran Collier.

But the sending-off only served to rally the home side and they kicked on impressively, with young Liam Langton’s debut goal sealing the win as the game entered added time.

Offaly had the aid of a strong wind in the first-half but they failed to make the most of it. Shane Dooley led the way for the Faithful County with six first-half points, including an outstanding effort from play late in the opening period.

But Laois stayed within touching distance, with two frees from goalkeeper Enda Rowland ensuring that the gap was just three points at the break — Offaly 0-9 Laois 0-6.

PJ Scully’s free brought the teams level in the 40th minute before Joey O’Connor was given his marching orders. At that stage, Laois had their tails up but Offaly responded brilliantly to O’Connor’s red card as a brace of points from Dooley put them back ahead.

Laois sprung Willie Hyland and Zane Keenan from the bench in a bid to chase the win and although the pair chipped in with three points between them, Offaly remained in the ascendancy.

Liam Langton, who was Offaly’s Minor Hurler of the Year in 2015, put the result beyond doubt in his first senior inter-county appearance with a 70th-minute goal.

Scorers for Offaly: Shane Dooley 0-12 (0-6f, 0-1 ’65), Liam Langton 1-0, Paddy Murphy 0-2, Joey O’Connor, Shane Kinsella and Colin Egan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Laois: PJ Scully 0-5 (0-3f), Stephen Maher 0-3, Ross King, Enda Rowland and Zane Keenan 0-2 each, Willie Hyland 0-1.

Offaly

1. James Dempsey

2. Niall Wynne
3. Chris McDonald
19. Sean Gardiner

5. Pat Camon
6. Dan Kelleher
7. Dermot Shortt

8. Sean Ryan
9. Joey O’Connor

10. Shane Kinsella
11. Colin Egan
12. Paddy Murphy

13. Shane Dooley
14. Joe Bergin
15. James Mulrooney

Laois

1. Enda Rowland

17. Tom Delaney
3. Darren Maher
4. Cahir Healy

5. Leigh Bergin
6. Neil Foyle
7. Ryan Mullaney

8. Matthew Whelan
22. Ross King

10. Ciaran Collier
11. Stephen Maher
12. Patrick Purcell

13. Dwane Palmer
14. Willie Dunphy
15. PJ Scully

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