After the mauling at the hands of Fermanagh the week before, Laois needed a strong start, and they got just that when Paul Kingston had the ball in the net after just 25 seconds. Thomas Mallon failed to hold Brendan Quigley’s shot and Kingston pounced on the loose ball. Paul Cahillane added a free moments later and Laois were up and running, as Derry looked stunned by the early barrage. Ryan Bell opened their account with a free in the sixth minute, but the game was then held up for eight minutes following a serious leg injury suffered by Laois’ Kieran Lillis.
When play resumed, Bell fired over another free for Derry, but Laois hit back through Cahillane and Evan O’Carroll to keep the goal between the sides. A Brendan Quigley point sent them four clear, but Derry took a chunk out of that lead when wing-back Daniel Heavron got forward to fire to the bottom corner.
Laois responded well and quickly regained the initiative, with John O’Loughlin central. He hit three points in a row to help them into a 1-10 to 1-5 lead as the half headed into added time. It meant there was still time for another twist in an action-packed opening period, as Benny Heron’s goal effort was blocked by Colm Begley’s foot, giving the visitors a penalty. Shane Heavron stood up to take it, and he rifled a shot into the top corner to leave just one between the sides at the interval, 1-10 to 2-6.
Two early points in the second -alf had Laois three clear, but they were quickly reeled in when Christopher Bradley got Derry’s third goal.
That set up a frantic second half, as Laois opened up a four-point lead only to see Chris Bradley bag his second goal and get the gap down to one. Laois kept opening up leads only for Derry to hit back with goals, as Daniel Heavron and Christopher Bradley got one more each, and there would be no separating the sides in the end as neither side could claim a dramatic winner.
J O’Loughlin 0-5, E O’Carroll 0-5 (3f), P Kingston 1-0, D Strong, N Donoher, D Kingston (f), P Cahillane (2f) 0-2 each, C Meredith, G Walsh 0-1 each.
C Bradley 2-1, D Heavron 2-0, S Heavron 1-2 (1-0p, 2f), R Bell 0-3f, E Bradley, O Duff, C O’Boyle, J Kielt 0-1 each
T Mallon; O Duff, C McKaigue, K McKaigue; G McKinless, B Rogers, D Heavron; N Holly, E Bradley; R Bell, C Bradley, B Heron; S Heavron, E McGuckin, SL McGoldrick.
C McAtamney for Holly (30), M Lynch for E Bradley (ht), C O’Boyle for McGuckin (41), J Kielt for Bell (49), C Murphy for Heron (58), D McKinless for S Heavron (63)
G Brody; R Kehoe, M Timmons, P Cotter; D Strong, C Begley, G Dillon; K Lillis, B Quigley; C Meredith, J O’Loughlin, N Donoher; P Kingston, D Kingston, P Cahillane.
E O’Carroll for Lillis (10, inj), S Attride for Kehoe (35+7, BC), G Walsh for P Kingston (ht), D O’Reilly for Cahillane (58), A Farrell for Cotter (62)
A Nolan (Wicklow)