Tipperary 3-17 Laois 4-9
Tipperary continued their progress in the All-Ireland SFC Qualifiers today after they were forced to withstand a Laois rally before finishing strongly once more.
It was a strange game, where marking barely seemed an afterthought, while referee David Gough was loath to blow the whistle.
Conor Sweeney had a goal in the third minute when he slipped Padraig McMahon brilliantly before sliding coolly beneath the advancing Graham Brody from the angle.
Laois responded with an excellent point from Donie Kingston, who then did fantastically to set up John O’Loughlin for a goal.
Laois led by two points after 12 minutes but failed to score for the rest of the half, while Tipperary totted up a goal and nine points in that same period.
Martin Quinlivan and George Hannigan were doing much of the damage with their untracked runs from deep and Darren Strong – back in the side having been dropped last week for playing a challenge match with his club Emo – was moved onto the former after he had kicked his third point.
Sweeney’s second goal came in the 25th minute as he pounced on an error by Brody, who spilled Barry Grogan’s delivery from the right wing.
It was 2-10 to 1-3 at the break but Laois got themselves back into the game within minutes of the resumption, thanks to goals from Niall Donoher and Conor Meredith.
Tipperary looked to have steadied the ship with points from Philip Austin, Barry Grogan and Peter Acheson to stretch the margin to seven, but just as was the case against Cork, they appeared to lose their composure.
Laois deserve plenty of credit, particularly given the loss through injury of leaders Ross Munnelly and Colm Begley.
Donie Kingston struck two excellent frees before substitute David Conway got on the end of a fine move to find the Tipperary net. He brought the sides level in the 62nd minute but Laois could not get their noses in front.
Instead, Laois hit black card trouble and eventually finished with 14 players as the hard-working Conor Meredith was unluckily sent packing, with his side having used their full quota of subs.
Having edged two points ahead from frees, Tipperary made sure, with Grogan almost walking the ball into the net.
TIPPERARY: P Fitzgerald, G Mulhair, P Codd, C McDonald, C O’Riordan 0-2, R Kiely, P Acheson 0-1, S O’Brien, G Hannigan, M Quinlivan 0-3, J Coghlan, B Fox 0-2, B Grogan 1-3(0-1f), P Austin 0-4, C Sweeney 2-2(0-1f). Subs: I Fahey for Mulhair (48), C Kennedy for Austin (10), B Mulvihill for Grogan (70+2).
LAOIS: G Brody, P McMahon, P Begley, P O’Leary, D Strong, R Kehoe, C Begley, K Meaney, J O’Loughlin 1-0, C Meredith 1-0, B Sheehan 0-1, N Donoher 1-1, R Munnelly, D Kingston 0-4(3fs), D O’Connor. Subs: J Finn for Munnelly inj (29), S Attride for Meaney (ht), D Conway 1-1 for O’Connor (ht), MJ Tierney 0-1(45) for Kehoe BC (44), E Costello 0-1 for C Begley inj(52), Meaney for McMahon BC (66).
REFEREE: D Gough (Meath).