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Super Saffrons boost safety hopes

Antrim 1-10 Laois 0-11

By David Mohan

Antrim's hopes of staying in Division Three of the National Football League received a boost at Corrigan Park yesterday as they overcame fellow strugglers Laois with two points to spare.

The Saffrons scored with their first attack as Paddy McBride curled over after three minutes.

Both sides were struggling with the cross-field wind, but Antrim enjoyed a 0-4 to 0-1 lead midway through the half thanks to two Conor Murray points and another from Jack Dowling.

David Conway and Ross Munnelly kept the visitors in the hunt and the sides were locked at 0-5 apiece going into injury-time before a crazy few minutes tipped the balance in Antrim's favour.

Antrim's Conor Murray and Laois' Damien O'Connor got in a tangle off the ball that saw both yellow carded, but the latter was then shown red by referee Eamonn O'Grady after consultation with his linesman.

From the resumption of play, Antrim had a goal when Stephen Beatty lobbed in a high ball that was broken into the path of CJ McGourty by Matthew Fitzpatrick and the St Gall's man finished to the net. Antrim's Kevin Niblock and Laois' David Conway were both shown black cards for an off-the-ball tangle.

Laois substitute Evan O'Carroll pointed, making it 1-5 to 0-6 in favour of Antrim at the break.

O'Carroll made it a one-point game just after the interval, and Antrim were punished further seconds later when Alan Farrell thumped over to level the game.

McBride fisted Antrim back ahead on 45 minutes, but this was cancelled out by James Finn.

The sides went point for point until McGourty and Conor Hamill kicked scores for Antrim and while Padraig McMahon fisted over to leave just one in it with five to play, a McGourty free sealed a win that moves the Saffrons out of the relegation zone.

Scorers: Antrim: C Hamill (0-1), P McBride (0-2), J Dowling (0-1), CJ McGourty (1-4, 0-3 frees), C Murray (0-2). Laois: A Farrell (0-1); P McMahon (0-1); J Finn (0-1), D Conway (0-2), R Munnelly (0-3, 2 frees), E O'Carroll (0-2) S Moore (0-1 free).

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