Six points down midway through the first half, Longford/Leitrim came storming back to win the All-Ireland Masters Football Shield Final at the excellent St Faithleach’s GAA grounds in Ballyleague on Saturday.
Laois led by 1-6 to 0-6 at the break with Greg Ramsbottom scoring their goal but a big turning point materialised with a couple of minutes gone in the second half when Longford/Leitrim were awarded a penalty which was converted by Benny O’Rourke.
Laois player Noel Garvan was sent-off in this same decisive incident after receiving a second yellow card for a foul on P.C. Corrigan and the numerical advantage eventually began to tell for Longford/Leitrim.
Having said that, Laois recovered from this significant double setback and got a second goal from a penalty scored by Shane Cooke in the 44th minute to lead by 2-8 to 1-8.
But the very determined Longford/Leitrim side completely dominated the final quarter of this entertaining encounter in outscoring Laois by 0-8 to 0-1 on their way to winning the All-Ireland title.
LONGFORD/LEITRIM: Francis Noonan; James Hynes, Derek McKeon, Enda McGahern; Gerry Carberry, John Coyle, Mark Beirne; Ollie Maguire (captain), Noel Reynolds; Niall Brady, Jamsie Martin (0-5, one free), Benny O’Rourke (1-2, goal from penalty); JP McManus (0-1), Martin Dolan, Andrew McManus (0-1).
Subs used (unlimited):- Seamus Shortt, P.C. Corrigan, Niall Connerton, Emmet Kenny, Willie Skelly (0-4), Ray Cox (0-2, one free), Declan Smith, Peter Prior (0-1, free), John Rowan.
LAOIS: Dan Nelligan; PJ Rowan, David Brennan, Michael O’Brien; Darren Rooney, Kevin Fitzpatrick, Brian McEvoy; Fergal Fennell (0-1), Noel Garvan; Darren Finlay, Greg Ramsbottom (1-2), Rory O’Connell; Chris Conway (0-5, two frees), Mark Rooney, Paul Dunne.
Subs used (unlimited):- Shane Cooke (1-1, goal from penalty), John Molloy, Denis Brennan, Colm Miller, John Kenny, Larry Keenan, Liam O’Connor, John Joe O’Connell, David Sweeney.
Referee: John Gilmartin (Sligo).