Laois have sealed back-to-back promotions for the first time in their history after a dramatic win over Carlow.
The victory, coupled with Louth’s win over Down, means Laois are sure of promotion regardless of the result in the delayed Louth versus Down game.
The result here also confirmed Carlow’s relegation, as Offaly survived on the head-to-head rule.
The game started at a whirlwind pace, with Carlow pointing first through a Paul Broderick free, and Paul Cahillane doing likewise in response from Laois.
Then came the opening goal, as a patient Carlow build-up ended with Benny Kavanagh being sent through on goal. He passed across goal to corner-back Conor Lawler, who palmed to the net. The Laois response took all of 90 seconds, as Cahillane’s lofted ball into the area was bundled to the net by Donie Kingston.
That tied the scores at 1-1 each, and the teams would be level on six occasions in a highly entertaining first half. Paul Broderick and Evan O’Carroll lead the scoring for either side, but Laois finished the half with three unanswered points from O’Carroll (free), Kieran Lillis and Stephen Attride to lead 1-8 to 1-5 at the break.
Laois started the second half strongly and were six points clear at one stage in the second half, only to see Carlow make up some ground.
They got it back to three in the closing minutes, but they couldn’t find the goal they needed, and the home side held on for a famous win.
Scorers: Laois: E O’Carroll 0-8 (6f), D Kingston 1-0, P Cahillane 0-2f, K Lillis, E Lowry, S Attride, R Munnelly (f), C Boyle 0-1 each.
Carlow scorers: P Broderick 0-6 (5f), C Lawler 1-0, D Foley 0-3 (2f) Conor Crowley 0-1, J Morrissey, E Ruth 0-1 each.
LAOIS: G Brody; S Attride, M Timmons, D Booth; T Collins, R Pigott, G Dillon; K Meaney, K Lillis; E Lowry, C Boyle, M Scully; E O’Carroll, P Cahillane, D Kingston.
Subs: B Quigley for Meaney (29), R Munnelly for Lowry (58) S O’Flynn for Booth (60), C Murphy for Kingston (69), P O’Sullivan for O’Carroll (74)
CARLOW: R Sansom; Chris Crowley, S Redmond, C Lawler; B Kavanagh, E Ruth, C Moran; B Murphy, S Murphy; J Morrissey, S Gannon, D O’Brien; P Broderick, D Foley, D St Ledger.
Subs: Conor Crowley for O’Brien (47), J Murphy for Moran (60), S Clarke for Kavanagh (60)
Referee: M McNally (Monaghan)