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Offaly survive Laois rally to reach first Leinster U21 final in a decade and will face Dublin or Longford

Goals from Ciaran Farrell and Adam Mahon secured victory in Carlow tonight.

Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Offaly 2-9
Laois 2-8

Paul Keane reports from Netwatch Cullen Park

GOALS FROM CIARAN Farrell and Adam Mahon secured a battling victory for Offaly at Netwatch Cullen Park tonight and a first EirGrid Leinster U21 football final place in a decade.

The Faithful bounced back from an early five-point deficit to dominate the majority of the game, though had to survive a late Laois onslaught as the O’Moore County came up a point short.

Offaly’s reward is a final date on 29 March with holders Dublin or Longford who meet in the second semi-final next Wednesday evening in Mullingar.

Offaly will hope to claim a first title since 1995 and build on a fine display that saw them stride six points clear with 56 minutes on the clock, before retreating to defence mode.

Sean Moore, Laois top scorer with 1-6, gave Gary Kavanagh’s side hope with a late penalty conversion but they never got back to level terms despite a frenzied finale.

Laois ultimately rued their wasteful early play as they moved 1-2 to 0-0 clear following Colm Murphy’s 13th minute goal but also kicked seven wides.

Farrell hauled Offaly back with his 19th minute goal, their first score, when he struck from close range after a ball across from the left by captain Ruairi McNamee.

Farrell added a point shortly after and Offaly drew level in the 24th minute before pulling 1-5 to 1-3 clear by half-time thanks in part to two excellent scores from Paddy Dunican.

Offaly’s second goal nine minutes after the restart went a long way to sealing the contest.

Jack Walsh had already increased their lead with a point before wing-back Mahon finished off a brilliant passing move that began with an interception by the full-back by firing to the net.

Offaly led 2-8 to 1-5 in the closing stages but Laois produced an excellent late comeback, winning a 57th minute penalty that Moore slotted and adding points from Tom Shiel, Moore and Murphy to push Offaly all the way.

Scorers for Offaly: Ciaran Farrell 1-1, Adam Mahony 1-0, Shane Tierney 0-3 (0-1f), Jordan Hayes (0-1f), Paddy Dunican 0-2 each, Jack Walsh 0-1.

Scorers for Laois: Sean Moore 1-6 (0-6f, 1-0 pen), Colm Murphy 1-1, Tom Shiel 0-1.

Offaly

1. Barry Rohan (Shannonbridge)

2. Clint Horan (Clodiagh Gaels)
3. David Dempsey (Ballycommon)
4. Colm Doyle (Clara)

5. Adam Mahon (Edenderry)
6. Carl Stewart (Clara)
7. PJ Daly (Cappincur)

8. James Lalor (Raheen)
9. Jordan Hayes (Edenderry)

10. Ciaran Farrell (Edenderry)
11. Paddy Dunican (Shamrocks)
12. Jack Walsh (Gracefield)

21. Ronan McEvoy (Shannonbridge)
14. Ruairi McNamee (Rhode)
15. Shane Tierney (Daingean)

Subs:

17. Jack Egan (Ferbane) for Stewart (16)
20. Kyle Higgins (Ferbane) for McEvoy (47)
13. Jack Clancy (Belmont) for Dunican (53, black card)
19. Christian Brazil (Shannonbridge) for Dempsey (58, black card)

Laois

1. Aaron Cooney (St Joseph’s)

2. James Kelly (St Joseph’s)
3. Shane Nerney (O’Dempsey’s)
4. Liam Knowles (Stradbally)

5. Patrick O’Sullivan (Portarlington)
6. Eoin Buggie (Stradbally)
7. Trevor Collins (Graiguecullen)

8. Danny O’Reilly (Graiguecullen)
9. Danny Luttrell (Courtwood)

12. Conor Whelehan (Timahoe)
11. Brian Daly (Barrowhouse)
10. Darragh Connolly (Ballyfin)

15. Brian Byrne (Graiguecullen)
14. Sean Moore (Ballyfin)
13. Colm Murphy (Portarlington)

Subs:

17. Aaron Carroll (Ballyroan Abbey) for Byrne (h/t)
20. Dylan Doyle (St Joseph’s) for Connolly (41)
22. Tom Shiel (Stradbally) for Kelly (49, black card)

Referee: Brendan Cawley (Kildare)

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