/ GAA

Laois 0-20 Armagh 1-10

Updated: Saturday, 02 Feb 2013 21:30 | Comments

Laois did most of the hard work in the first half against Armagh
Laois did most of the hard work in the first half against Armagh

Laois recorded an encouraging Allianz National Football League Division Two win over Armagh at O'Moore Park.

Justin McNulty's improving team did most of the damage in the opening period as they led 0-13 to 0-04 at the turnaround.

A 47th-minute Brian Mallon goal gave Armagh hope, but Laois survived the visitors rally to emerge convincing victors.

With both Laois and Armagh fancied to make a bold bid for promotion to Division 1, there was a bite to the football early on.

Armagh started brightly, but were then steamrolled by a dominant Laois who ruled the second quarter.

Ethan Rafferty, Gavin McParland, and Stefan Forker all hit scores as Armagh led by 0-03 to 0-01 after six minutes.

The early evidence suggested that Armagh had come to the midlands with significant intentions, but Laois improved considerably.

Donie Kingston was highly effective at centre-forward creating and taking chances and scores from Ross Munnelly, Darren Strong had Laois level at 0-04 each by the 15th minute.

Armagh were struggling at centrefield where Brendan Quigley and Colm Begley were having a considerable influence on the game.

The dominant Laois duo were certainly helped by a dynamic half back line of Darren Strong, John O'Loughlin, and Conor Boyle, who thundered forward at every opportunity.

Padraig Clancy, a real threat on the edge of the square, and Kingston landed points before the home side could have grabbed a goal.

Inevitably Clancy was involved, but the imposing Laois attacker just couldn't make a proper connection with Quigley's deep delivery.

Despite that let off, Armagh were in real distress as Laois continued to probe as Kingston and Clancy excelled.

Boyle, Ross Munnelly, Billy Sheehan, Quigley, Strong, Clacncy, and Kingston all raised white flags to edge Laois into a 0-13 to 0-04 half-time lead.

Unsurprisingly, Armagh were better after the restart and trimmed the deficit as Brian Mallon, Mark Shields, and substitute Stephen Harold pointed following a Ross Munnelly free.

Then in the 47th minute Mallon wriggled clear to slam a delightful goal and suddenly Armagh only trailed by 0-14 to 1-08.

Laois recovered with Sheehan outstanding in the closing stages registering two vital scores in the closing seconds.

Sheehan firstly took the sensible option when fisting a point under pressure and then the effective wing forward kicked a classy effort.

Munnelly then hit the insurance point as Laois held out to record a satisfactory and deserved seven point triumph.

Though Laois allowed Armagh back into the reckoning this was still a crucial and merited result for McNulty's improving outfit.

Scorers:

Laois: R Munnelly (0-07, 4fs), D Kingston (0-04, 1f), B Sheehan (0-03), P Clancy (0-02), D Strong (0-02), C Boyle (0-), B Quigley (0-01).

Armagh: B Mallon (1-01), E Rafferty (0-03), S Forker (0-03, 1f), S Harold (0-01), M Shields (0-01), G McParland (0-01).

Laois: E Culliton; K Meaney, P O'Leary, C Healy; D Strong, J O'Loughlin, C Boyle; B Quigley, C Begley; R Munnelly, D Kingston, B Sheehan; G Walsh, P Clancy, C Kelly. Subs: D O'Connor for Kelly (47 mins), A Doran for Walsh (58 mins)

Armagh: P McEvoy; M Shields, J Donnelly, G McCoey; K Dyas, C McKeever, F Moriarty; J Lavery, K Toner; C Rafferty, A Forker, E Rafferty; G McParland, S Forker, B Mallon. Subs: S Harold for Lavery (29 mins), A Duffy for A Forker (51 mins), E McVerry for Mallon (59 mins), J Kingham for McParland (60 mins), S Campbell for Forker (70 mins)

Referee: R Hickey (Clare).

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