Laois 1-22 Carlow 0-14
Laois gradually imposed themselves on Carlow to record their second victory of the Leinster SHC qualifier group at O’Moore Park.
‘Cheddar’ Plunkett’s men were nowhere near their best but they were still too strong and quick for their visitors.
Stephen Maher took the scoring honours with 12 points and apart from his placed-ball skills, was very threatening from open play when situated in the full-forward line for 20 minutes in the first half.
Maher had three of the game’s first four points as the hosts pushed clear with the aid of a strong wind and it was the 13th minute before Denis Murphy – who recorded 10 points himself after missing an early opportunity from a free - got Carlow on the scoreboard.
The game was lacking in intensity but that didn’t concern John Meyler’s men as Marty Kavanagh, Murphy and Andrew Gaule brought them to within two points of their more fancied opponents after 27 minutes.
Laois finished strongly though with five points from Neil Foyle, Maher (two), Patrick Whelan and Charlie Dwyer to lead by 0-14 to 0-8 at half time.
The Blues had extended that advantage by one when Tommy Fitzgerald put the tie beyond doubt with a 46th minute goal. It was a straightforward finish for the Portlaoise man from close range, after being found by Willie Hyland.
And it was a straightforward finish for Laois from there too although Carlow continued to battle hard and having fallen 11 points behind, cut the deficit to eight with a brace of points from Murphy and an excellent score from substitute Diarmuid Byrne.
Indeed, Murphy should have had a goal when driving over from fairly close range and had he done so, this might have developed into a contest in the closing stages.
Laois responded to the threat with the ultra-reliable Maher adding three points and it was a cruise to the end.
A disappointing day for Carlow ended in a dismal note with the sending off right at the death of Hugh Paddy O’Byrne, who was shown a second yellow card for a wreckless pull on Maher.
SCORERS FOR LAOIS: S Maher 0-12(8fs); T Fitzgerald 1-0; W Hyland, C Dwyer, R King 0-2 each; N Foyle, D Palmer, P Whelan, J Campion 0-1 each
SCORERS FOR CARLOW: D Murphy 0-10(9fs); M Kavanagh, C Wall, A Gaule, D Byrne 0-1 each
LAOIS: E Reilly; JA Delaney, B Campion, B Stapleton, J Fitzpatrick, M Whelan, T Delaney, D Palmer, P Whelan, s Maher, C Dwyer, W Hyland, N Foyle, R King, T Fitzgerald. Subs: J Campion for T Delaney (ht), J Brophy for Dwyer (55), B Reddin for Fitzgerald (62), C Dunne for King (67), D Maher for JA Delaney (70)
CARLOW: B Treacy; A Corcoran, P Doyle, G Kelly, HP O’Byrne, D English, R Coady, J Kavanagh, C Wall, P Coady, S Kavanagh, J Doyle, M Kavanagh, A Gaule, D Murphy. Subs: D Byrne for P Doyle (34), S Murphy for J Doyle (ht), P Kehoe for J Kavanagh (41), D Roberts for Wall (57), C Lawlor for P Coady (62)
REFEREE: C Browne (Galway)