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Laois see red but wriggle off the hook as New York fall just short

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Long before he agreed to take charge of New York, he had set a date for Crover House at home in his native Cavan. It just so happened that it fell as the same weekend as the Tailteann Cup preliminary quarter-finals, the point at which New York enter the competition. And if Portlaoise was good enough for Kanye West in the days after his wedding, then it would do the New York manager too.

​So on Friday he got married and yesterday he patrolled the sidelines. As it happened, he wasn’t far off completing the perfect weekend. New York will look back on this game – which might be boiled down to two goal chances – with no little regret.

The teams were level – and Laois were down to 14 men after Shaun Fitzpatrick was sent off on a second yellow – when Jack Reilly miscued a goal chance under pressure. With around 15 minutes to go, it felt like a big moment.

Three minutes later Laois confirmed as much. A small hole opened up in the New York defence and Mark Timmons expertly steered his shot into the bottom corner. For the first time all afternoon, Justin McNulty’s men had breathing space.

Up to that point, the possibility that New York would have to cross the ­Atlantic for a second successive weekend looked a live one. New York led by a point at half-time (1-6 to 0-8) with Bobby O’Regan getting the goal.

Killian Butler, who holds the distinction of having played for both New York and London, was causing problems too and they were deserving of their half-time advantage.

The sense that New York might pull off a shock only gathered momentum when Fitzpatrick walked and Butler landed two frees to put them into the lead on 51 minutes.

Then New York missed their goal chance and Laois took theirs. There was to be no sting in this Bronx tale.

“Nervous, I guess, in phases but ultimately the lads maintained their composure and dug it out, not having fired in many areas of the pitch,” Laois manager McNulty said afterwards.

“[They were] playing below par in some positions but New York have good players, a tough system to break down. They were rampant up front on occasions and maybe if they had been a bit more ruthless at times we’d have been in tighter sports.

“I’m just thrilled the players maintained their composure, a man down at crucial stages of the match. Everything looked like it was going against us at that point but fellas maintained their composure and dug it out, so thrilled with that.”

Afterwards O’Mara insisted they had contingencies in place had they won. Laois wriggled off the hook here but the Exiles’ time will come according to their manager.

“For us it’s our second game and we don’t get the games to iron out a lot of wrinkles. We try our best, we do all the work that we can. And I praise the group for sticking together after the Mayo game because it is not easy to face into that seven or eight-week gap not knowing who you are playing or where you are playing or on what day or time.

“They stuck at it and they done the work. This is the first New York team that have come home here and been better after their first day and honestly I’m really proud of them. They have done a huge amount of work. We came home to play football, be on the front foot and try to be dangerous.

“I think they have shown they are good enough to compete and play at this level and we’re taking these steps forward and we are building. We didn’t get the win today but New York is going to win a game here soon. They are going to win a game.”

SCORERS – Laois: P Kingston (3f), K Roche (3f), M Barry 0-3 each; M Timmons 1-0; E O’Carroll 0-2; R Murphy, N Dunne 0-1 each. New York: K Butler 0-5 (5f); B O’Regan 1-1; J Reilly, S Brosnan, J Grace (1 45) 0-1 each.

LAOIS: K Roche 7; D Kavanagh 6, K Lillis 7, M Timmons 7; S Lacey 6, B Byrne 6, S Fingleton 6; D Larkin 6, C Heffernan 6; M Barry 7, N Dunne 6, K Swayne 6; R Murphy 6, E O’Carroll 7, P Kingston 6. Subs: S Fitzpatrick 6 for Kavanagh (26), C Burke 6 for Lillis (57), M Dempsey for Dunne (70), N Corbet for Murphy (75).

NEW YORK: J Grace 6; S Bolger 7, N Hatton 7, J Boyle 7; S Brosnan 6, C O’Dea 7, R Wharton 7; L Kearney 7, E Ó Conghaile 7; T Mathers 6, M Brosnan 7, E McElligot 6; K Butler 7, J Reilly 6, B O’Regan 7. Subs: J Walsh 6 for J Reilly (23), J Reilly for M Brosnan (47), A Loughlin Stones 6 for Mathers (60), N McCarthy for Bolger (65), S Reilly for McElligot (70).

REF: D Murnane (Cork).

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