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Laois push Mac to the brink...

Byline: PAUL KEANE

LAOIS 1-15

MEATH 1-12

SEAMUS McENANEY'S future hangs in the balance after Meath crashed out of the Championship in Tullamore.

The Royal County boss insisted beforehand that the six day turnaround wouldn't affect his side after losing last Sunday's Leinster final.

But it clearly did as Laois powered to their fourth straight qualifier victory to take their spot in the All-Ireland quarter-finals.

Ross Munnelly kicked 1-3 in the first-half alone - and 1-4 in total - to put Justin McNulty's side seven ahead at half-time.

And while Meath launched a mini-revival after the break, and a late Peadar Byrne goal, they couldn't reel their the opponents in.

It was a bad end to the Championship for Meath who promised plenty when they beat Kildare with a young side in Leinster.

But Laois were deserved winners and used the momentum gained by wins over Carlow, Monaghan and Leitrim to reach the last eight.

They also took advantage of the wind at their backs in the first-half to run up that early advantage.

Munnelly, Colm Kelly and Darren Strong all floated over points from distance. The turning point came when Meath 'keeper David Gallagher was caught in possession, lost the ball and fouled Laois' Kelly for a 26th minute penalty.

Munnelly banged it home to put Laois 1-7 to 0-4 clear. It was an unfortunate return to Tullamore for Gallagher who also fumbled against Carlow, allowing a late equaliser.

Back-to-back Kelly points before the break left Laois 1-9 to 0-5 ahead at halftime.

Everyone in the 9,140 strong crowd expected a stirring Meath revival with the strong wind behind them - to match their second-half comeback against Dublin.

But three Laois points straight after the restart from Billy Sheehan, Munnelly and Paraic Clancy put Laois a healthy 10 points clear.

Brian Farrell was Meath's best player and kicked eight points with five in the last half hour.

Poacher Byrne scored his fourth goal of the Championship two minutes from time - but it was too little, much too late.

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CAPTION(S):

PENALTY: Meath keeper David Gallagher fouls Colm Kelly
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:Jul 29, 2012
Words:347
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