Laois rescued a draw from the jaws of defeat with two injury-time goals to stun Roscommon at Dr. Hyde Park in their Allianz League Division 2 clash.
Enda Smith's 62nd minute penalty looked to have swayed an entertaining contest in favour of the Connacht champions but Laois manager Mike Quirke will have been thrilled by his side’s response to adversity.
Firstly, the superb Evan O’Carroll, who ended up with 1-06 overall, scored a contender for Goal of the Season when he sent a piledriver from 25 metres beyond Roscommon goalkeeper Colm Lavin as the game ticked into injury-time.
Amazingly, Laois weren’t finished yet as Ross Munnelly’s free in the fourth minute of additional time squirmed its way through to Kieran Lillis and the Portlaoise player somehow managed to squeeze the ball through heavy traffic into the net for an unlikely draw.
In hindsight, it was probably no more than Laois deserved. They played more constructive football in the opening half.
But they suffered a major blow a minute before the break when Brian Stack fed Niall Kilroy and the Fuerty player pounced for the game's opening goal.
Lillis, Mark Barry and especially O’Carroll asked serious questions of an unsure Roscommon full-back line in the first half.
The visitors also converted three advanced marks as Colm Murphy, Lillis and O’Carroll took advantage of the new rules.
For the Rossies, Donie Smith and the industrious Cathal Cregg looked lively but much of their play was ponderous, and it took Kilroy’s goal to give the home side’s supporters something substantial to cheer about.
Trailing by 1-7 to 0-9 at the break, Lillis brought Laois level after 39 minutes. A hat-trick of scores from Cian McKeon (free), Niall Daly and Donie Smith (free) handed Roscommon a slight advantage once more.
But it was Enda Smith’s converted penalty, after the marauding Kilroy was dragged to the ground by Mark Timmons, who received a black card for his troubles, that finally put some daylight between the teams.
But Laois hadn’t read the script as O’Carroll and Lillis rescued an unlikely draw to hand the O’Moore County an early league lifeline in Division 2.
Roscommon: Colm Lavin; David Murray, Brian Stack, Gary Patterson; Padraig Scott, Niall Daly (0-01), Richard Hughes; Tadhg O’Rourke, Shane Killoran (0-01); Niall Kilroy, Enda Smith (1-02, 1-00 pen), Finbar Cregg; Donie Smith (0-04, 2f,1 mark), Cian McKeon (0-03, 2f), Cathal Cregg (0-01).
Subs: Conor Daly for Hughes (44 mins), Hubert Darcy for Killoran (blood sub), Hubert Darcy (0-01f) for Finbarr Cregg (60 mins), Ciarán Lennon for Cathal Cregg (63 mins), Noel Gately (0-01) for Donie Smith (66 mins), Dylan Ruane for O’Rourke (70 mins).
Laois: Niall Corbet; Trevor Collins, Mark Timmons, Gearoid Hanrahan; Seán O’Flynn, Robert Pigott, Patrick O’Sullivan; Kieran Lillis (1-03, 0-01 mark), John O’Loughlin; Seán Byrne, Mark Barry, Eoin Lowry; Michael Keogh (0-01), Colm Murphy (0-02, 1 mark), Evan O’Carroll (1-06, 0-02 ’45, 0-01f, 0-01 mark).
Subs: Cahir Healy for Collins (47 mins), Ross Munnelly (0-02, 1f, 1 mark) for Murphy (49 mins), Damien O’Connor for Keogh (49 mins), Gary Walsh for O’Loughlin (53 mins), Garry Comerford for Lowry (66 mins), Brian Byrne for Barry (70 mins).
Referee: Ciarán Branagan (Down).