Ross King lords it over Antrim as Laois improve quarter-final hopes
Captain scores 16 points in comfortable win at O’Moore Park
Ross King scored 16 points for Laois in the win over Antrim at O’Moore Park. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
Laois 0-27 Antrim 2-16
Captain Ross King helped himself to a massive 16 points as Laois held off the challenge of Antrim at O’Moore Park.
While Antrim kept the game alive with two second-half goals, the home side always seemed to have the upper hand and were nine up at one stage in the second half.
The result means that Antrim are almost assured of finishing in the bottom two in Division 1B and will have a relegation scrap on their hands.
Laois, however, have a slight sniff of a quarter-final place and a shot at one of the big guns. The short trip to Offaly is next up for Laois next Sunday.
Four points from the outstanding Neil McManus helped Antrim into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead after 10 minutes but three really well-struck frees from King had the sides level midway through the half.
Antrim hit back with three in a row – from McManus, Nigel Elliott and Conor Johnston – but Laois finished the half strong with two more from King and a pair of monstrous long-range frees from goalkeeper Enda Rowland helping them to a 0-13 to 0-8 lead at the break.
Laois pushed nine points clear early in the second half but a 48th-minute goal from Antrim sub Donal Campbell threw them a lifeline and McManus’s frees brought it back to four.
But Laois battled through the storm well and although Nigel Elliott got a second goal for Antrim, King hit a string of fine points and sub Mark Kavanagh chipped in with a delightful sideline cut to see Laois win by five.
LAOIS: E Rowland (0-2, both frees); D Hartnett, L Bergin, L Cleere; P Lawlor, M Whelan, E Killeen; P Purcell (0-1), J Ryan (0-2); B Conroy, C Dwyer (0-2), W Dunphy; R King (0-16, 14 frees), N Foyle (0-2), C Comerford (0-1).
Subs: J Phelan for Killeen (50 mins), M Kavanagh (0-1, s/c) for Comerford (53), S Downey for Foyle (58), C Taylor for Conroy (61), J Kelly for Dunphy (65)
ANTRIM: C O’Connell; A Graffin, J Dillon, P Burke; R McCambridge, N McAuley (0-1), D Kearney; J Maskey, C McKinley; N Elliott (1-1), N McManus (0-11, nine frees), D McKinley; J McNaughton, C McCann, C Johnston (0-1).
Subs: D Campbell (1-1) for McCann (half-time), C Carson for McNaughton (44), S Rooney for Kearney (46), G Walsh for Maskey (47), M Connolly (0-1) for McKinley (47).
Referee: J Murphy (Limerick).