Super sub Ben Conroy helps Laois withstand late Carlow flurry
Forward scored 1-3 off the bench to drive home side to victory in poor quality tie
Laois goalkeeper Enda Rowland in action here against Antrim, made a confident save late on to ensure victory. Photograph: John McIlwaine/Presseye/Inpho
Laois 1-17 Carlow 1-14
Laois half-time substitute Ben Conroy made an instant impact, scoring 1-2 in the opening minutes of the half as the O’Moore County stormed into an eight-point lead which Carlow were unable to claw back, despite a brave late rally at Netwatch Cullen Park on Sunday.
This was a championship game low in quality for the attendance of 2,000. The tricky wind made good hurling difficult but hardly explained the inordinate number of sideline cuts produced over the course of the game.
It was pretty much score for score in the opening half with the visitors establishing a two-point interval lead of 0-7 to 0-5.
The game turned in favour of Laois in the opening minutes of the second half. A Keenan point from a free was supplemented by another from Conroy. Then in the fourth minute a low-trajectory free from Keenan caused confusion in the Carlow defence and Conroy scrambled the ball to the net.
An invigorated Laois went on to dominate and were 1-15 to 0-7 ahead by the 54th minute.
But Carlow finished strongly, picking off a succession of points before Eddie Byrne got a goal just as the game was about to enter injury time.
While there was a slight chance of a levelling goal a confident save from Laois goalkeeper Enda Rowland signalled the end of the game.
Overall this was a lacklustre championship tie which produced little more than a few glimmers in the way of real quality.
Zane Keenan top-scored for Laois with 0-10, 0-9 from frees while Marty Kavanagh notched 0-7 from frees for the Barrowsiders.
LAOIS: E Rowland; J A Delaney, C Healy, B Stapleton; J Fitzpatrick, M Whelan, J Campion; Z Keenan (0-10, 0-9 frees), P Purcell; P J Scully (0-1), S Maher (0-1), C Dwyer (0-2); R King, W Hyland, T Fitzgerald.
Subs: B Conroy (1-3) for Scully (half-time), P Whelan for Maher (63).
CARLOW: K Kehoe; S Kavanagh, J Rogers, A Corcoran; R Coady, D English (0-2), E Coady; D Byrne (0-2), C Wall; J M Nolan, E Byrne (1-1), J Kavanagh (0-1); Seán Murphy (0-1), Seamus Murphy, M Kavanagh (0-7, frees).
Subs: P Coady for Seamus Murphy (43); M Brennan for Wall (46), G Coady for J Kavanagh (65).
Referee: D Kirwan (Cork).