Laois and Kildare to meet again after draw in Leinster football championship
LAOIS 0-16 KILDARE 0-16
THE Leinster football championship may be seen as Dublin's own personal fiefdom, but you'll still find plenty of intriguing subplots and tonight delivered one such storyline as local rivals Laois and Kildare proved inseparable foes in Tullamore.
This quarter-final was no classic but it compensated with a captivating climax, as Laois sub Paul Kingston - presented with an excellent chance to claim victory with effectively the last kick - pulled his left-footed effort wide.
The final whistle sounded on the kickout, and both sides will return to O'Connor Park next Saturday for a second chance to earn a semi-final berth against the Dubs.
Wind-assisted Laois looked to have wrestled complete control with five unanswered points in a 14-minute period to lead by 0-16 to 0-13, the last two of those scores coming from their two leading performers - midfielder John O'Loughlin and full-forward Donie Kingston.
But Kildare responded valiantly with the last three points courtesy of two Eoghan O'Flaherty frees and a booming Tommy Moolick equaliser, over two minutes into the allotted three extra minutes.
In truth, it was the least they deserved because Kildare created the game's three genuine goal chances - but landed a three-point consolation prize instead.
Alan Smith had to settle for a first half point after clipping the crossbar while, in the second period, Moolick was denied by Graham Brody at point-blank range (Paul Cribbin scoring in the follow-up); and then Eamonn Callaghan shot inches wide (O'Flaherty converting the ensuing free when no advantage accrued).
Kildare had won the toss and elected to play with the strong wind blowing straight down O'Connor Park - no doubt hoping to replicate the Galway hurlers' prolific use of same in the opening match.
So much for the wind-assisted script: eight minutes of barren football were finally broken by an opening score from Donie Kingston, and the first quarter ended with the O'Moore men 0-4 to 0-1 ahead.
Their expected midfield dominance had duly materialised off their own kickout and they were also shading the turnover battle.
Belatedly, the Lilywhites got motoring and they were kickstarted by Padraig Fogarty's second point - this time a sweetly struck '45'.
By the 21st minute they were level; in truth they should have been two points clear, after O'Flaherty and Cathal McNally combined through the middle to release Smith.
The Sarsfields men went for precision, but his placed attempt clipped the woodwork on its way to veering over instead of under Brody's crossbar.
For the rest of the half it was tit-for-tat. Laois edged two clear via a Kingston brace; then Kildare riposted with four rapid-fire points; but the half ended with two points from wandering wing-back Darren Strong sandwiching a monster Fogarty free.
Thus, Kildare led 0-9 to 0-8 at the midpoint with Laois seemingly poised to strike - but instead, their neighbouring foes stretched three clear via an O'Flaherty free and Emmet Bolton, before Laois eventually worked their way back into a contest that went right to the wire … and beyond.
SCORERS - Laois: D Kingston 0-8 (5f), R Munnelly 0-3f, D Strong, J O'Loughlin 0-2 each, T Shiel 0-1f. Kildare: E O'Flaherty 0-5f, P Fogarty 0-3 (1f, 1 '45'), A Smith, T Moolick 0-2 each, E Callaghan, G White, E Bolton, P Cribbin 0-1 each,
LAOIS: G Brody; S Attride, M Timmons, D O'Connor; D Strong, C Begley, R Kehoe; B Quigley, J O'Loughlin; N Donoher, C Boyle, E O'Carroll; R Munnelly, D Kingston, T Shiel. Subs: C Meredith for Shiel (51), B Sheehan for Meredith (65), P Kingston for O'Carroll (67).
KILDARE: M Donnellan; C Fitzpatrick, M O'Grady, O Lyons; K Murnaghan, F Conway, E Bolton; G White, P Cribbin; P O'Neill, E O'Flaherty, C McNally; E Callaghan, P Fogarty, A Smith. Subs: T Moolick for McNally (41), N Kelly for Fogarty (56), E Doyle for Murnaghan (59), F Dowling for O'Neill (66), D Hyland for White (69).
REF: C Reilly (Meath)