Laois make a little bit of history and oust Carlow from the qualifiers
At Dr Cullen Park: Laois 3-13 Carlow 0-12
Carlow’s Barry-John Molloy tackles Ross Munnelly of Laois. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho
It was an historic first championship Friday and the Croke Park bigwigs can be pleased with the dividend.
An official attendance of 4,606 turned up at Dr Cullen Park and when one considers that 2,400 forked out to see the sides clash at the same stage last year, the initiative can only be deemed a success.
What’s more, the supporters were treated to a very entertaining affair, with the home side kicking some prodigious points with the wind in the first half, before Pádraig McMahon’s sensational 33rd minute solo goal enabled Laois to go in at the break trailing by just one point, 0-8 to 1-4.
Laois enjoyed plenty of possession in the first half but Carlow turned them over time and again, before breaking with speed courtesy of Jack Kennedy, or sending the ball directly towards the magnificent Brendan Murphy.
Kennedy chipped over the first two points and Carlow were four clear after just four minutes. Murphy kicked the first of his three points in the opening half and finished off a brilliant team move soon after to stretch the margin to five.
Donie Kingston pointed a free before Darren Strong kicked Laois’ first score from play in the 25th minute.
The game’s most significant score arrived just before the interval though as McMahon picked up possession inside his own half from Kieran Lillis and embarked on a slaloming run.
He found himself 14m out and slotted the ball home.
David Conway found the net within a minute of the restart and Laois never looked back.
Kingston kicked a couple of frees before departing the fray limping and Pádraig Clancy notched a deserved score before Kingston’s replacement, Colm Kelly palmed Laois’ third goal 14 minutes from time.
Carlow kept working hard but found it much more difficult to break the visitors down into the wind. And with their midfield no longer functioning, their attack was further neutralised by the need to bring Brendan Murphy out.
Brian Murphy and John Murphy gave them some reward for their efforts but Laois finished with the last three points from John O’Loughlin, Conway and Kelly .
LAOIS: E Culliton; M Timmons, P Begley, P O’Leary; D Strong (0-2), K Lillis (0-1), P McMahon (1-0); J O’Loughlin (0-1), P Clancy (0-1); B Sheehan, C Meredith, C Begley; D Conway (1-1), D Kingston (0-3, two frees), R Munnelly (0-3, two frees). Subs: C Kelly (1-1) for Kingston (51 mins), D Booth for P Begley (53 mins), C Boyle for Clancy (60 mins), N Donoher for Sheehan, S Attride for Strong (both 63 mins).
CARLOW: T O’Reilly; B Kavanagh, C Lawler, BJ Molloy; K Nolan, S Redmond, T Bolger; J Murphy (0-1), D Foley (0-2, one free); P Reid, J Kennedy (0-3), S Gannon; Brian Murphy (0-3, two frees), E Ruth, Brendan Murphy (0-3, two frees). Subs: W Minchin for Foley (48 mins), M Doyle for Nolan (50 mins), C Moran for Reid (58 mins), S Mernagh for Redmond, C Murphy for Bolger (both 62 mins).
Referee: F Kelly (Longford).