O’Dwyer’s new charges turn it on against Lilywhites

Laois 1-14 Kildare 1-9

They did so in exhilarating style. In a few short months the "great" man has transformed Laois into a most exciting and potent force as Kildare, the team he left behind, will vouch for.

In the splendid setting of O'Moore Park in Portlaoise, O'Dwyer's new kids on the block ran Kildare ragged with a superb performance of cultured, attacking football.

So outstanding and electrifying were Laois that Kildare never stood a chance of saving themselves from relegation. From the moment that Declan Delaney pointed Laois into the lead with a point in the first attack of the match this proved to be a one-horse race.

Kildare simply had no answer to the hunger, pace, power and panache of Laois, who not alone maintained their unbeaten run in the competition, but showed that they have come on leaps and bounds since O'Dwyer took over.

Brave at the back, brilliant in midfield, swashbuckling up front, Laois may not be the finished article yet. But on the evidence provided on this occasion, they are going to rattle a lot of cages before the season is out.

Following Delaneys opening point, Laois displayed all the credentials of a team completely in tune with itself. With supreme confidence in their own ability they took Kildare apart as they stormed into a six-point lead in the opening quarter.

And that statistical margin of superiority could have been even greater had Michael Lawlor not shot wide with the goal at his mercy.

Kildare never knew what hit them as Pauric Clancy and Noel Garvan took control at midfield and with the Laois forwards, most notably Lawlor, Colm Parkinson, captain Ian Fitzgerald, and lethal cornerman Damien Delaney, really serving up the goods, the Lilywhites were forced to wither.

It took Kildare 18 minutes to open their account a point from a free by John Doyle.

And with the pressure eased somewhat, O'Dwyer's former charges came more into the reckoning following substitutions and a number of tactical switches and rather amazingly were still in the hunt at half time when they trailed 0-7 to 0-4.

But there was no slackening off the bit by Laois after the resumption. They came at Kildare with hammer and tongs and this was the real defining period in a game thoroughly enjoyed by an attendance bordering on 10,000.

Laois, lightning fast, struck for glory with four points in rapid succession following some great build-up play. Kildare were flattened on the deck and bade adieu to their Division One status in the 48th minute when the mercurial Lawlor goaled with splendid aplomb following a breathtaking four-man movement.

Lawlor followed with a point to leave Laois leading 1-13 to 0-5 and their place in the semi-finals assured.

Kildare did manage to put some sort of respectability on the scoreboard from their point of view but not even a late consolation goal by right corner forward Tadgh Fennin could disguise the fact that they were totally outclassed, out-played and out-foxed on the day by Mick O'Dwyer's new marvels from the Midlands.

Scorers: Laois: M Lawlor 1-4; D Delaney 0-6 (0-4 from frees); C Parkinson 0-2, E Fitzgerald 0-2 (0-1 from free).

Kildare: T Fennin 1-4 (0-3 frees); J Doyle 0-2 (0-2 from frees); P Murray 0-2, D Hendy 0-1.

LAOIS: F Byron, T Kelly, T Byrne, J Higgins,

D Rooney, K Fitzpatrick, D Conroy, P Clancy,

N Garvin, C Parkinson, I Fitzgerald, M Lawlor,

B McDonald, S Kelly, D Delaney. Subs. D Miller for Kelly, A Fennelly for Conroy, R Mullelly for Parkinson.

KILDARE: C Byrne, B Lacey, E O'Callaghan, A McLoughlin, D Lyons, D Hendy, A Rainbow, A Barry, A McHugh, K Ennis, G Ryan, R Sweeney, T Fennin, D McCormack, J Doyle. Subs. K Brennan for McHugh; M Dunne for O'Callaghan, P Murray for McCormack, E McCormmack for Ennis.

Referee: N Barrett (Cork).

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