Masterclass from Shane Dooley downs resilient Laois
Offaly1-24 Laois 0-23
A stunning display from Shane Dooley helped Offaly to victory over Laois in this thrilling encounter in Portlaoise on Saturday night.
Dooley scored 1-14 as Offaly avenged their defeat to Laois in Round 1 of last year.
The O'Moore men had gotten off to a bright start, leading 0-3 to 0-1 after six minutes, but Offaly dominated the rest of the half. They controlled the middle of the field, being first to the breaking ball time and time again.
With the Laois defence coming under increasing pressure, they started to foul the Faithful forwards, and that played right into Shane Dooley's hands.
He repeatedly punished the home side's mistakes, racking up nine points in the first half alone as Offaly opened up a six-point lead.
Laois rallied late in the half with points from Zane Keenan (two) and Cha Dwyer to leave three in it at half-time, 0-14 to 0-11.
The second half couldn't have started much better for Offaly when Dooley fired a 21 yard free to the net, and the writing looked to be on the wall for Laois at that stage.
They battled back bravely however, getting to within two points at one stage in an utterly enthralling game. Just when they started to show a bit of form, wing-back Tom Delaney was red carded.
The hosts badly needed a goal, and they looked to have been thrown a lifeline when substitute Picky Maher was awarded a penalty with just nine minutes left.
Zane Keenan stepped up to take it, but his shot was turned out for a 65. Remarkably, Laois were awarded another penalty in injury-time for a foul on Willie Hyland, but Keenan's second effort was stopped on the line by James Dempsey.
Paddy Murphy's late score then put the seal on a four point win for Offaly.
Man of the Match: Shane Dooley
SCORERS - Offaly: S Dooley 1-14 (1-10f), S Kinsella 0-3, S Ryan, P Murphy, J Bergin 0-2 each, C Kiely 0-1. Laois: Z Keenan 0-10 (7f, 65), W Hyland, C Dwyer 0-4 each, N Foyle 0-2, J Campion, P Purcell, R King 0-1 each.
LAOIS - E Rowland 5; JA Delaney 6, C Healy 5, B Stapleton 5; J Fitzpatrick 6, M Whelan 4, T Delaney 5; J Campion 5, P Purcell 6; W Hyland 7, T Fitzgerald 6, C Dwyer 8; N Foyle 7, Z Keenan 7, R King 6. Subs: S Maher 7 for Foyle (43), PJ Scully 6 for Campion (53), D Palmer 6 for Fitzgerald (55), B Conroy for King (65).
OFFALY - J Dempsey 8; N Wynne 7, D Shortt 8, S Egan 7; E Nolan 6, C Egan 7, D Mooney 6; P Camon 8, S Ryan 8; P Murphy 7, S Kinsella 8, D Currams 7; S Dooley 9, J Bergin 7, S Quirke 6. Subs: C Kiely 6 for Mooney (52), S Cleary for Kinsella (65), G Mann for Ryan (69, inj), C Mulrooney for Murphy (72).
Ref - A Kelly (Galway).