It was the Leixlip man’s second score as he added size and extra attacking intent to the Lilywhite midfield from his 41st minute introduction.
Paul Kingston did have a glorious opportunity to snatch it for Laois but his shot from around 35 metres drifted wide.
So the rivals will face off once more at the same venue on Saturday night and patrons won’t complain if they produce more of the same.
Both managers accentuated the positives, with Laois boss Tomás Ó Flatharta happy, despite being pegged back when three points clear with five minutes remaining.
“I thought the lads fought very well and you can never take it for granted that a Championship game is won. You have to keep going until the very end,” he said.
“Maybe it taught us a lesson that you have to do that. But we have another chance at it. I thought they worked very hard, the backs did very well and around the middle of the field we won a lot of ball out there and kicked some nice scores. Maybe Kildare’s shooting was off a bit in the first half which maybe helped us as well. At half-time, just a point behind with that very strong breeze, we were pleased with the performance.
“They were putting a lot of men behind the ball so sometimes when we kicked it in it was coming back out straight away, so you have to be patient. Our handpassing wasn’t up to scratch and that’s something we have to look at.
“I think there’s great credit due to both sets of players. For us, to be able to play against those big teams, we need games like this to bring us on and hopefully this will bring us on.”
Kildare dominated possession early on but were extremely laborious in their build-up, as Laois drew 12 players behind the ball at times. Some of their early shooting was dreadful and it was Laois who kicked the opening score, as Donie Kingston chipped over after getting away from Mick O’Grady.
Pádraig Fogarty equalised with a high left-footed effort but Kildare continued to be wasteful and a more economic Laois pulled clear with the next three points.
“Considering the first 15 minutes when we had such strong wind behind us and we didn’t really make it count, both teams will feel they coughed up too much possession and both didn’t make the maximum use of the wind” noted Kildare manager Jason Ryan afterwards.
“We are delighted to have another week’s training for a lot of our players that haven’t come back from knocks and injuries. It’s another game under their belts in what we want to be a good Championship run this year.”
He will look to cut out the cheap frees that yielded nine points to Laois and enabled them to settle into the game and pull clear. Eventually, Kildare began to display more confidence as they found Alan Smith with more regularity and the Sarsfields man proved a valuable outlet, being fouled for a pointed free by Eoghan O’Flaherty and kicking two scores himself.
One of those should have been a goal though as he rattled the crossbar with a rising shot in the 21st minute.
Darren Strong scored two points for Laois and they trailed by just a point, 0-9 to 0-8 at half-time. With a very strong wind at their backs, that looked significant.
Kildare started that bit better with John O’Loughlin and Donie Kingston hugely prominent,
However, Laois went 0-16 to 0-13 ahead as Kildare rued two further spurned goal opportunities by Moolick and Eamonn Callaghan.
Points did emerge from those opportunities though and with Eoghan O’Flaherty making up for missing a simple opportunity by converting two frees, it was left to Moolick for loft the leveller.
E O’Flaherty 0-5(fs); P Fogarty 0-3(2 45s, 1f); A Smith, T Moolick 0-2 each; G White, E Callaghan, E Bolton, P Cribbin 0-1 each.
T Moolick for McNally (41), N Kelly for Fogarty (56), E Doyle for Murnaghan (59), F Dowling for O’Neill (66), D Hyland for White (69).
D Kingston 0-8(5fs); R Munnelly 0-3(fs); D Strong, J O’Loughlin 0-2 each; T Shiel 0-1(f).
C Meredith for Shiel (51), B Sheehan for Meredith (64), P Kingston for O’Carroll (66).
C Reilly (Meath).