Tipperary 0-13 Laois 0-12
Substitute Brian Mulvihill’s 72nd-minute point was the decisive score as Tipperary edged out Laois at Semple Stadium this afternoon.
Defenders Padraig McMahon and John O’Loughlin pulled Laois level in the dying minutes, but Mulvihill converted the match winner.
Ross Munnelly pointed Laois in front after barely 20 seconds but Tipp’s Barry Grogan had the biggest say, hitting four frees as the sides turned around at 0-7 apiece.
It was nip-and-tuck in the second period but top scorer Grogan (0-6) and Mulvihill ensured the home win.
It was a solid performance from the Premier men who lost 1-13 to 1-11 to Laois in February in Division 2 of the National League.
Today's success was all the more impressive given that the hosts were missing defenders Ciaran McDonald and Chris Aylward and midfielder Alan Moloney - all three are currently Stateside - and forward Sean Carey who has thrown his lot in with the Tipp Under-21 hurlers.
Both teams lined out as selected, with Tipp making six changes to the side that lost to Kerry in last month's Munster quarter-final.
Laois manager Sean Dempsey had four alterations - one enforced - from last weekend's Leinster quarter-final replay defeat to Meath. There was a new-look half-forward line in Billy Sheehan, Niall Donoher and Padraig Clancy, while Denis Booth made his first Championship start at left corner back.
In warm and sunny conditions, Laois won possession from the throw-in and experienced forward Ross Munnelly put his name to the opening point after just 18 seconds.
Donie Kingston polished off the second after a quick turnover, but two frees from Barry Grogan and an effort from play from Peter Acheson had wind-backed Tipp 0-3 to 0-2 ahead by the ninth minute.
Clancy got Laois back on terms with a neatly-taken point off the outside of the boot, and the even nature of the game continued up to half-time, with Tipp failing to hold onto a two-point buffer.
As in the game against Kerry, full-forward Grogan was Tipperary's go-to man for scores. He took his tally to four points - all from long range frees - and midfielder George Hannigan also weighed in with a score as John Evans' charges went 0-6 to 0-4 in front.
Conor Sweeney was Tipp's final scorer of the opening period which ended disappointingly for the home side as points from Donoher, Kingston (free), John O'Loughlin and Sheehan got Laois back level at 0-7 apiece.
Laois had arguably been playing the better football at that stage but Tipp showed their potency on the resumption when Stephen Hahessy cracked a shot off the crossbar and Acheson fisted over shortly afterwards.
Philip Austin flung a shot narrowly wide as Tipp looked to garner an elusive goal and although MJ Tierney pointed Laois level, the midlanders were beginning to struggle.
Grogan's fifth successful free was followed by a point from play from Laois substitute Craig Rogers and quick-fire efforts from Brian Fox and Clancy saw the intensity increase.
With nine minutes of normal time remaining, Fox provided the assist for substitute Brian Mulvihill to kick Tipp 0-12 to 0-10 clear. A bit of daylight at last, but Laois showed their mettle in reeling the hosts back in - Padraig McMahon (67 minutes) and O'Loughlin (69) doing the business from open play.
The tension was palpable as the sides sought the match-winning point and it fell to Tipperary, with ninety seconds to go. Mulvihill was the scorer and Laois had no answer this time.
Scorers: Tipperary: B Grogan 0-6 (0-6f), P Acheson, B Mulvihill 0-2 each, G Hannigan, C Sweeney, B Fox 0-1 each
Laois: D Kingston (0-1f), P Clancy, J O'Loughlin 0-2 each, R Munnelly, N Donoher, P McMahon, B Sheehan, MJ Tierney, C Rogers 0-1 each
TIPPERARY: M O'Donnell; P Codd, R Costigan, A Morrissey; C McGrath, B Jones, B Fox; G Hannigan, K Mulryan; S Hahessy, H Coghlan, P Acheson; P Austin, B Grogan, C Sweeney.
Subs used: B Mulvihill for Sweeney (half-time), B Coen for Mulryan (42), N Curran for Acheson (57).
LAOIS: M Nolan; P O'Leary, M Timmons, D Booth; J O'Loughlin, C Healy, P McMahon; K Meaney, B Quigley; B Sheehan, N Donoher, P Clancy; MJ Tierney, D Kingston, R Munnelly.
Subs used: C Rogers for Donoher (46 mins), C Coss for Sheehan, P Cahillane for Munnelly (both 56).
Referee: Michael Collins (Cork)