By Daragh Ó Conchúir
Kildare 3-18 Laois 1-11
Kildare blitzed Laois in stunning fashion after half time to canter into a Leinster semi-final against Dublin.
The Lilywhites trailed by a point at half time but scored two goals and three points in just over three minutes after the restart to leave Laois reeling.
Inspirational captain, Eamonn Callaghan got the first when Graham Brody’s short kickout after Cathal McNally’s point was intercepted by Alan Smith.
Callaghan followed up with a point before Smith’s shot was palmed to the net by McNally.
Kildare added a couple more points and though Donie Kingston offered brief hope with a 47th minute goal, Eoghan O’Flaherty’s resounding finish at the other end five minutes later removed any doubt.
It was a cruise from there to the end as there just was no way back for Laois. Kildare enjoyed themselves in the final quarter as they kept the scoreboard ticking over, finishing up with 10 individual scorers.
Laois would have been happy at half time as they looked the better side, even though it was tit-for-tat for most of the initial period.
Niall Donoher and Evan O’Carroll shared six points from play, with O’Carroll in particular outstanding, adding ball-winning to his scoring threat. He also slotted a free from outside the 45m line just before half time to give Laois a 0-9 to 0-8 interval lead.
Unlike the drawn game, Kingston spent the majority of his time at the edge of the square. He was fouled by Gary White for a penalty in the 10th minute but Mark Donnellan saved Ross Munnelly’s kick.
Laois wasted another goal chance when Brendan Quigley blazed wide while at the other end, Alan Smith had a shot saved by Brody.
Kildare hit the front for the first time with points from Kevin Murnaghan and an O’Flaherty free but Laois kicked four of the next five points from Kingston (free), Tom Shiel, O’Carroll and Donoher.
White launched a wonderful score from 40m and O’Flaherty curled his third before O’Carroll’s free gave Tomás Ó Flatharta’s crew the edge at half time but it was an edge they were to lose very quickly.
Scorers – Kildare: E O’Flaherty 1-4(0-2fs), P Fogarty 0-4, K Murnaghan 0-1, G White 0-1, P Cribbin 0-2, E Callaghan 1-1, C McNally 1-2, O Lyons 0-1, P O’Neill 0-1, N Kelly 0-1
Laois: D Kingston 1-2(0-2fs), E O’Carroll 0-5(1f, 1 45), N Donoher 0-3, T Shiel 0-1
Kildare: M Donnellan, C Fitzpatrick, M O’Grady, O Lyons, K Murnaghan, F Conway, E Bolton, P Cribbin, G White, P O’Neill, E O’Flaherty, C McNally, E Callaghan, P Fogarty, A Smith. Subs: E Doyle for Conway blood (21-29), Doyle for Conway (ht), T Moolick for McNally (52), D Hyland for Bolton (57), N Kelly for Smith (59), H Lynch for White (64), M Conway for Callaghan (67)
Laois: G Brody, S Attride, M Timmons, R Kehoe, D Strong, C Begley, D O’Connor, B Quigley, J O’Loughlin, N Donoher, C Boyle, E O’Carroll, R Munnelly, D Kingston, T Shiel. Subs: E Culliton for Brody blood (8-14), P Kingston for Munnelly (43), J Finn for Shiel (51), G Hanrahan for O’Connor (60), G Dillon for Strong (65), B Sheehan for Donoher (65), E Lowry for Boyle (65)
Referee: A Nolan (Wicklow)