Laois watched a 10-point second half lead disappear at Casement Park as Antrim snatched victory with two injury time points in the Belfast sunshine yesterday.
Teddy McCarthy’s side looked like securing their first points of the Division 1B campaign when leading by 1-11 to 0-4 after 40 minutes.
Laois led 1-9 to 0-4 after Chris Murray got them off to a dream start with a goal on 11 minutes.
All Antrim’s first half points came from Shane McNaughton, while Laois kept the scoreboard ticking over with frees from Willie Hyland and a brace each from David O’Mahoney and Murray.
Antrim were slow to settle on the resumption and two Hyland points had Laois 10 points to the good.
The Saffrons finally clicked into gear and strung five unanswered points together.
Hyland stopped the rot for Laois but the gap was cut to just two points on 54 minutes when Conor Carson lashed the sliotar to the net.
Laois were back in control when Brendan Reddin goaled but when McNaughton found the net 61 minutes, Antrim trailed by the minimum, 2-13 to 2-12. A Neil McManus point had the sides level for the first time, but two late points from McNaughton and Paul Shiels sealed the win for Antrim who can qualify for the 1B final by beating Limerick next Sunday.
ANTRIM: S McToal; A Graffin, C Donnelly (0-1f), J Kerr; N McAuley, N McManus (0-4), M Gettins; K Stewart, P Shiels (0-2); S McCrory (0-1), M Herron, D Hamill; PJ O’Connell (0-1), C Carson (1-0), S McNaughton (1-8, 4f)
Subs: B McFall (0-1) for Hamill, D Lynch for O’Connell
LAOIS: E Reilly; P Mullaney, D Maher, C Coonan; C Dunne, M Whelan, M McEvoy; J Fitzpatrick, J Walsh; D O’Mahoney (0-2), W Hyland (0-9, 0-6f), D Peacock; C Murray (1-2), W Dunphy (0-1), S Bourke (0-1)
Subs: B Reddin (1-0) for Peacock, G Burke for Mullaney, A Collier (0-1) for Dunphy, N Unwin for Burke
Referee: J McGrath (Westmeath).
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