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Division 4 Antrim have stunned Laois in the first big shock of the summer

Antrim trailed by eight in the second half before they pulled off an unlikely comeback.

Conor Murray celebrates the final whistle Antrim's Conor Murray celebrates at the final whistle. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Updated 21.30

Laois 1-16 Antrim 2-15

Longford 2-15 Carlow 1-8

ANTRIM PULLED OFF a sensational comeback to dump Laois out of the All-Ireland senior football championship.

The Division 4 Saffrons were rank outsiders for the Round 1A qualifier clash in O’Moore Park, and the bookies odds appeared bang on the money as Laois led by as many as nine points in the first half.

Dermot McAleese was the hero with a late goal that capped a remarkable turnaround and a two-point win for the Ulster men.

The odds were stacked against Antrim from the off as three of their named starters — CJ and Kieran McGourty, and Conor Burke — were dropped after they lined out for their club St Gall’s in a hurling league match on Friday night.

Led by the impressive Niall Donoher and Paul Kingston, Laois wasted no time in taking the lead and were ahead by 1-7 to 0-1 when Kingston fired in the opening goal in the 23rd minute.

Antrim managed to cut that gap to seven by the break, 1-9 to 0-5, but the hosts showed no sign of relenting after the restart.

They could have quickly killed the game but Ross Munnelly’s penalty was saved by Chris Kerr in the 38th minute.

Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

It signalled the beginning of a superb Antrim resurgence and a spectacular Laois collapse. Ryan Murray’s goal came in a period which saw Antrim post 1-4 without reply, leaving just a point between the teams with more than 20 minutes still to play.

Laois weren’t to be toppled so easily, however, and they dug deep to reel off four of the next five scores.

It wasn’t enough to suppress the relentless Antrim waves. They held Laois to just a single score in the last 15 minutes as they picked off points of their own before McAleese’s goal ensured a famous victory.

In Pearse Park, Longford bounced back from their trouncing by the Dubs and booked their place in Round 2 with a comfortable 10-point win over Carlow.

Second-half goals from Dessie Reynolds and Liam Connerton helped Jack Sheedy’s men to a 2-15 to 1-8 victory.

– First published 16.18

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