Carlow dig deep to advance over Laois

Carlow 1-19 Laois 3-12, Dr Cullen Park

Carlow 1-19 Laois 3-12, Dr Cullen Park

Denis Murphy's 71st-minute point sent the home supporters into raptures as Carlow beat Laois in a titanic encounter at Dr Cullen Park.

Laois led by 3-12 to 1-17 with a minute of normal time remaining, but Carlow, playing with plenty of pace and skill, dug deep to set up a meeting with Antrim in the next round.

Free-taker Paudie Kehoe (0-11) tallied up five first half points as the Barrowsiders built a 1-10 to 1-5 interval lead.

John Purcell and Tommy Fitzgerald netted second half goals for Laois, but Carlow stood firm for a very encouraging win.

Kehoe pointed in the opening minute to get Carlow up and running, but Laois sliced through the hosts' defence for a seventh minute goal, a precision pass from Tommy Fitzgerald putting Eoin Costelloe through for a crisp finish.

Niall Rigney's charges would only hold the lead for the following six minutes however, as Carlow hit the front for the remainder of the opening half.

The sides traded points before Carlow hit a purple patch by knocking home 1-3 inside a dazzling three-minute spell, with full-forward Denis Murphy registering a 14th minute goal.

Murphy's goal was a scrambled effort. Laois goalkeeper Eoin Reilly made the initial block, but the green flag was raised after the umpires deemed the ball had crossed the line.

Laois kept in touch with points from Tommy Fitzgerald and Joe Fitzpatrick, but Kehoe was sublime from frees as the hosts ended the first half with a five-point buffer.

Laois cut their neighbours' lead to four points within five minutes of the restart, but the hosts steadied themselves with a brace of Kehoe scores, pushing them 1-13 to 1-7 in front in the 44th minute.

But the O'Moore men launched a fiery comeback, aided by goals from Purcell and Fitzgerald in the closing 25 minutes.

Purcell's 46th-minute strike cut the gap to three points. The move started with Laois winning possession from a Frank Foley puck-out, and Purcell then set off a surging run which ended with him blasting home from an acute angle, 21 metres out.

Fitzgerald claimed Laois' third goal in the 61st minute, after Foley had initially blocked Neil Foyle's shot. The deficit was now down to a single point.

This was the start of a productive spell for the visitors, with Willie Hyland and Fitzpatrick grabbing points to push Laois a point ahead with four minutes remaining.

But Carlow hit back with late scores from Craig Doyle and Murphy, earning themselves an inspiring win.

CARLOW: F Foley; A Corcoran, S Kavanagh, D Shaw; E Coady, E Nolan (0-1), R Coady; J Hickey, D Byrne; C Doyle (0-3), M Brennan, HP O’Byrne; A Gaule, D Murphy (1-4), P Kehoe (0-11, 0-8f, 0-1 '65').

Subs used: A McDonald for O’Byrne (43 mins), J Rogers for J Hickey (53), E Byrne for Gaule (60), R Foley for Brennan (67).

LAOIS: E Reilly; JA Delaney, D Maher, C Healy; B Campion, M Whelan, M McEvoy; S Dollard, J Walsh (0-3); J Brophy, J Fitzpatrick (0-2), Z Keenan (0-2, 0-2f); E Costelloe (1-0), T Fitzgerald (1-1), J Purcell (1-1).

Subs used: W Hyland (0-3, 0-1f) for Dollard, J Rowney for Brophy (both 27 mins), C Dunne for JA Delaney (45), N Foyle for Keenan (51), C Delaney for Costelloe (67).

Referee: Michael Wadding (Waterford)

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