Laois 2-21 Wexford 1-18 (AET)
Laois came from a 10-point deficit to level the tie, with a 74th-minute equaliser from Gareth Dillon forcing extra-time, as the Allianz Division 4 League Champions came out on top in this Leinster SFC opener at Innovate Wexford Park this evening.
The O'Moore's were forced to work hard in front of an attendance of 2,600 spectators, as they accounted for a Wexford side relegated to Division 4 in 2019; following a more convincing display in extra-time.
A Kieran Lillis goal in the first period of extra-time helped Laois on their way to a Leinster quarter-final day with Westmeath in Bord na Móna O'Connor Park in Tullamore on Saturday May 26.
Wexford were in cruise control and built up a 0-8 to 0-0 lead after 21 minutes, before Laois finally got off the blocks with a Gary Walsh pointed free in the 23rd minute.
However despite the Slaneysiders dominance, Laois made a strong use of a stiff wind assistance on the restart, holding Wexford to just five second-half points.
Early on it was Wexford free-taker Donal Shanley who was grabbing all the headlines with some magnificent scores as Wexford led 1-10 to 0-3 at half-time.
Shanley claimed his first point in the eighth minute, after scores from Daithi Waters, John Turbitt and Glen Malone got the hosts off to a flying start.
Laois had failed to threaten the Wexford rear-guard in those opening minutes, but looked likely to make amends in the 11th minute, with a goal chance.
Stephen Attride pumped a high ball into Ross Munnelly, and on to David Conway but Wexford keeper Conor Swaine pulled off a fine save.
Wexford extended their lead with Shanley, Turbitt and Shanley again on target, before Turbitt's third point opened up a eight-point gap on 21 minutes.
Walsh eventually got Laois off the mark, before a Munnelly score cut the gap to six points.
However, disaster struck for John Sugrue's side soon after, after Naomhan Rossiter bagged the games opening goal.
Ben Brosnan extended the home side lead to 10 points in the 29th minute, before Munnelly and Shane Doyle traded scores to ensure a 1-10 to 0-3 interval score-line.
Laois introduced Benny Carroll for Gary Walsh at the break, while the switch of Donie Kingston to full-forward would prove key on the restart.
The O'Moore's got motoring well on the restart, with Attride, Kingston and Conway on target.
At the opposite end Graham Brody pulled off a fine save from Tiernan Rossiter in a confidence boost for the visitors.
Shanley and Munnelly swapped points, before Munnelly and Turbitt traded scores.
Kingston continued to cause huge damage up front, and with a trio of points, the gap was cut to four on 50 minutes.
Shanley and Paul Kingston traded scores, before a Ross Munnelly effort ensured a 1-13 to 0-13 score-line with 14 minutes remaining.
Donie Kingston and Turbitt swapped points, before Laois were handed a penalty after a foul on Niall Donoher, which Donie Kingston sent to the net to tie the game at 1-14 apiece.
Three minutes later Wexford were handed a penalty of their own, after Attride brought down Brian Malone, but Shanley blazed the placed kick between the uprights.
Wexford held a one-point lead with injury-time almost up, but Laois dug deep with Gareth Dillon landing a fine score to send the game to extra-time.
Laois were strong in the first period of extra-time outscoring Wexford by 1-3 to 0-1, with Kieran Lillis scoring the goal, after a pass from Tom Shiel.
Darren Strong, Trevor Collins and Attride also added points during that period, to a lone score from Shanley for Wexford to ensure a 2-18 to 1-16 score-line at half-time of extra-time.
The sides traded scores on the restart, before a Paul Kingston point for Laois.
Darragh Pepper cut the gap for Wexford in the final minute of normal time, but Laois held out for a six-point win, with Paul Kingston claiming a late point.
Subs: Tiernan Rossiter for Curtis (10mins ,inj), Alan Nolan for J Rossiter (34mins, inj), Eoin Porter for Brosnan (50mins), Nick Doyle for Stafford (60mins), David Shannon for O’Grady (75mins)