Laois came to town as many people’s favourites to go on and win Division Two but, in spite of being granted two soft first half goals, they couldn’t back up their win over Armagh as Brian McIver’s men showed their character in abundance.
An early two point lead for the home side had been cancelled out by the time Mark Lynch gave the ball straight to Pádraig Clancy, who fed Ross Munnelly for the opening Laois goal after 11 minutes.
The Oak Leafers dragged themselves level but left a huge gap down the middle six minutes from the break, which Damien O’Connor exploited with an unstoppable finish past league debutant Thomas Mallon.
The visitors found themselves in front by 2-7 to 0-9 at half-time, but with Chrissy McKaigue turning in a stellar show against Clancy after the break, Derry’s dominance grew still and they eventually got their reward.
However, Laois were left to rue a controversial decision to disallow and effort from Munnelly that appeared to hit the back stanchion on the goal and come out. However, the umpires signalled wide when Clancy put the follow up past the post. They led by two at that stage and it wasn’t long until they were behind, with Emmett McGuckin getting enough on the ball to squeeze it beyond Eoin Culliton for Derry’s goal, after which they held on in spite of losing James Kielt to a second booking.
DERRY: T Mallon; R Ferris (0-2), D McBride (0-1), C Kielt; C McKaigue, M Lynch (0-1), SL McGoldrick; Patsy Bradley, PJ McCloskey (0-1); B McGoldrick, E Lynn (0-1), J Kielt (0-3, 0-1f); C Devlin, E McGuckin (1-3, 0-2f), E Bradley (0-5, 0-3f)
Subs: R Wilkinson for B McGoldrick (50), B Heron for Ferris (53), D Heavron for Devlin (64)
LAOIS: E Culliton; C Healy, K Meaney, P O’Leary; D Strong (0-1), J O’Loughlin, C Boyle (0-1); B Quigley, C Begley; R Munnelly (1-3, 0-1f), G Walsh (0-3f), B Sheehan; D O’Connor, P Clancy (0-1), A Doran
Subs: D Booth for Healy (33), C Kelly (0-1) for Doran (HT), P McMahon (0-1) for Walsh (49), C Coss for Sheehan (59)
Referee: J McQuillan