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Ken Sutton/INPHO Donie Kingston: late penalty was just one part of a rollercoaster finish.
# Drama
Last-gasp Laois get out of jail to win extra-time thriller against Wexford
Visitors dodge first-round exit to set up quarter-final against Westmeath.

Laois 2-21

Wexford 1-18

(after extra time)

LAOIS WERE LEFT trumpeting Donie Kingston after his towering display in their tremendous fight-back to overcome Wexford in Saturday’s Leinster SFC first-round contest.

The hotly-fancied visitors trailed by an astonishing 10 points at the break in Wexford Park but launched a brilliant second-half revival which saw the sides deadlocked deep into additional time.

But despite their heroic efforts, Laois still looked condemned to an early provincial exit when Wexford were awarded a penalty in the 74th minute, only for Donal Shanley to take the conservative option and point.

There was still time for one last attack, however, and Gareth Dillon pointed to make it 1-15 apiece and force extra time before Laois kicked on to run out six-point winners and set a quarter-final date against Westmeath.

John Sugrue’s side appeared in serious danger of succumbing to a real upset when Wexford led 0-8 to 0-0 after 22 minutes, with Donal Shanley leading the way for the home side.

Laois endured a heartbreaking night in front of goal as several chances were denied, including Wexford keeper Conor Swaine foiling David Conway before Gary Walsh finally pointed Laois on target after 23 minutes.

Laois were left furious though after an apparent penalty offence on Stephen Attride went unpunished before Wexford rubbed salt in when centre-back Naomhan Rossiter finished to an empty net to make it 1-8 to 0-2 after 26 minutes.

The margin increased to 1-10 to 0-3 at half time as James Stafford and Shane Doyle pointed on their championship debuts.

Laois withdrew Gary Walsh at the break as Benny Carroll came in with Kingston switching inside, and they displayed added impetus from the resumption as Kingston ran the show upfront.

Wexford found themselves on the back foot as the Midlanders ratcheted up the pressure and closed to within two points, 1-13 to 0-14, after 60 minutes as Ross Munnelly and Kingston led the charge.

And Laois finally found the net on 69 minutes when Kingston powered home a penalty to level matters on 1-14 apiece and set up a truly grandstand finish.

Shanley then pointed his injury-time penalty to put Wexford on the brink of victory before Dillon burst forward from corner-back to force extra-time on 1-15 apiece.

Laois seized the initiative three minutes into extra-time when midfielder Kieran Lillis finally found the net as the newly crowned Division 4 champions forged clear by 2-18 to 1-16 at the interval.

They controlled matters thereafter to set up a quarter-final against Westmeath on 26 May, while Wexford await the qualifiers in early June.

Scorers for Laois: Donie Kingston 1-6 (1-0 pen, 3f) Ross Munnelly 0-5 (2f), Paul Kingston 0-3, Stephen Atttride 0-2, Gareth Dillon, Trevor Collins, David Conway, Gary Walsh, Darren Strong 0-1 each.

Scorers for Wexford: Donal Shanley 0-9 (6f, 0-1 penalty, 0-1 45), John Tubritt 0-4, Naomhan Rossiter 1-0, Glen Malone, Shane Doyle, James Stafford, Ben Brosnan 0-1 each.


1. Graham Brody (Portlaoise)

2. Ruairdhri C Fennell (Rosenallis)
3. Mark Timmons (Graiguecullen)
4. Gareth Dillon (Portlaoise)

5. Trevor Collins (Graiguecullen)
6. Colm Begley (Stradbally)
7. Stephen Attride (Killeshin)

8. John O’Loughlin (St Brigid’s)
9. Kieran Lillis (Portlaoise)

10. Alan Farrell (Ballylinan)
11. Donal Kingston (Arles Killeen)
12. Damien O’Connor (Timahoe)

13. Ross Munnelly (Arles Kilcruise)
14. David Conway (Arles Kilcruise)
15. Gary Walsh (Ballylinan)

Subs: Benny Carroll for Walsh (half-time), Niall Donoher for Farrell (47), Paul Kingston (0-03) for Fennell (50), Darren Strong for Conway (61), Tom Sheil for Munnelly (67). Extra-time: Finbarr Crowley for O’Connor (75); Denis Booth for Dillon (83), David Holland for Collins (87).

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1. Conor Swaine (Horeswood)

2. Michael Furlong (Adamstown)
3. Jim Rossiter (St Fintan’s)
4. Conor Carty (Castletown)

5. Glen Malone (Shelmaliers)
6. Naomhan Rossiter (St Mary’s Rosslare)
7. Shane Doyle (Ballyhogue)

8. Brian Malone (Shelmaliers)
9. Daithí Waters (St Martin’s, capt.)

10. James Stafford (Glynn-Barntown)
12. Ben Brosnan (Castletown)
11. Eoghan Nolan (Shelmaliers)

13. Paul Curtis (Clongeen)
15. Donal Shanley (St Fintan’s)
26. John Tubritt (Fethard)

Subs: Tiarnan Rossiter for Curtis (11), Alan Nolan for J Rossiter (35), Eoin Porter for Brosnan (50), Nick Doyle for Stafford (61), Barry O’Gorman for Doyle (69) Extra-time: David Shannon for T Rossiter (78); James Stafford for O’Gorman (78); Darragh Pepper for A Nolan (half-time extra-time).

Referee: Martin McNally (Monaghan).

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