Aaron Moore’s dramatic injury-time goal provided Laois with a sensational victory over Offaly in the Leinster minor hurling championship.
Saturday’s quarter-final at O’Connor Park, Tullamore between the midland rivals seemed poised for extra-time until match winner Moore got on the end of a Ciaran McEvoy delivery and directed a deft flick beyond stranded Offaly ‘keeper Conor Clancy.
Laois hurled with the strong breeze in the opening half and they enjoyed an interval lead of 1-6 to 1-4. Daire Quinlan netted their goal and despite the blow of losing full back Paddy Bergin (knee injury) they stuck to their game-plan, with free taker PJ Scully and Cha Dwyer scoring important points.
Boosted by Sean T O’Connor’s goal, Offaly now had wind advantage to come on the resumption.
And Dylan Murray’s opportunist 44th minute goal along with points from sub Andrew Connolly and Cillian Kiely gave the ‘Faithful’ the edge and with six minutes remaining John Leahy’s side held a two-point cushion, 2-10 to 1-11. Then came Moore’s heroics.
Scorers for Laois: PJ Scully (0-6, 0-4 frees), D Quinlan (1-1), A Moore (1-1), C Dwyer (0-3), C Taylor (0-1), A Corby (0-1).
Scorers for Offaly: C Kiely (0-5, 0-4 frees), D Murray (1-1), S T O’Connor (1-0), K Dunne (0-2), A Connolly (0-2).
LAOIS: E Rowland; C Dunne, P Bergin, D Palmer; A McGowan, C McEvoy, G Dunne; C Stapleton, A Corby; C Taylor, C Dwyer, B Conroy; PJ Scully, D Quinlan, A Moore.
Subs: S Finan for P Bergin inj (13), J Lennon for C Taylor (38), D Lynch for D Quinlan (46).
OFFALY: C Clancy; D Murphy, A Browne, R Kelly; E Nolan, C Doughan (c), E Pilkington; A Spain, S O’Connor; G Crowe, K Dunne, K Bergin; S T O’Connor, C Kiely, D Murray.
Subs: A Connolly for E Pilkington (22), B Connors for K Bergin (50).
Referee: Paud O’Dwyer, Carlow.