Offaly 1-13 Laois 0-12
Offaly will progress to the Leinster Senior Football semi-final following a 1-13 to 0-12 win over neighbours Laois at Croke Park. Both sides produced some fine football in the opening half and although Offaly led at half-time, Laois were unfortunate to go in trailing by a point as they had been the better side and had a Chris Conway goal disallowed in the 23rd minute when referee Michael McGrath called play back for a Laois penalty.
To make matters worse, Conway missed the resulting kick. They rued their missed opportunity when Offaly's Vinny Claffey proved once again there's no substitution for class when he fired past Laois keeper Fergal Byron at the end of the first half to score the only goal of the game.
The Offaly defence came under constant pressure in the second half but Laois were unable to take advantage of the numerous scoring opportunities that came their way. The experience of such veterans as Claffey, Kieran McManus, Finbarr Cullen and Colm Quinn was vital to Offaly who held on to the led throughout the entire second half.
Laois kept within striking distance but missed many scoring chances in the closing quarter. Laois midfielder Noel Garvan reduced the margin with a point from play in the 60th minute but Colm Quinn had the final say with a point for Offaly to secure their win.
Afterwards, Claffey admitted he was delighted with the win but not the overall performance. "It was a good win for us. We probably didn’t play that well for a lot of the match, myself included so just before half-time was a good time for me to get a goal. I think we were slightly flattered by the four-point margin at the end. Laois really put it up to us at times but we just got a couple of scores at the start of the second half and it made the difference in the end," he said.
Dublin 2-19 Longford 1-13
It took Dublin a while to get into this game at Croke Park but an impressive second-half performance assured them of a place in the semi-finals of the Leinster Football Championship. Tommy Carr's side began well, as was expected but some poor shooting allowed Longford to stay in touch.
Longford themselves played quite well in the opening 35 minutes and took the game to Dublin. However, a goal from debutant Wayne McCarthy gave the Dubs the vital score they needed to keep ahead of their opponents and the home side led 1-07 to 0-09 at the break.
However, in the second half, Dublin took complete control of the tie and when substitute Colin Moran scored their second goal, the game was over as a contest. Dublin were on top in vital positions, particularly in midfield where Ciaran Whelan and Darren Homan were outstanding. They provided ball to the inside attack which moved with so much pace in the second half and although Longford played some lovely football at times, they just didn't have the power to compete against the Dubs.
Filed by Amanda Fennelly