WATERFORD 2-17 LAOIS 1-13 WATERFORD qualified for the All-Ireland quarter-finals yesterday but they needed a Michael Walsh goal 12 minutes from time to secure victory.
Despite the torrential rain at O'Moore Park, Portlaoise yesterday both teams served up a competitive opening half with the sides tied on four occasions.
This was by far the best Laois performance of the season and it proved a testing game for Waterford.
Laois held their own in the first half but lost goalkeeper Patrick Mullaney three minutes before the break through injury. It was a big blow as Mullaney had made three great first-half stops.
The sides were level at 1-5 to 0-8 at that stage, the Laois goal coming from Damien Culleton.
Walsh and midfielder Dave Bennett posed the major threats for Waterford in the opening half and contributed all bar four of their points with Ken McGrath, John Mullane Eoin McGrath the other players on target.
Both defences were firm during the first 35 minutes but neither side wasted scoring chances, with both recording just two wides each in the opening period.
Ahead by 0-11 to 1-5 at the interval, Waterford extended their advantage on the restart thanks to a John Mullane point.
Laois then hit a bright patch with points from Shane Dollard and James Young but once Mullane hit the net for Waterford following a Dave Bennett cross it seemed like the Deisemen would exert further dominance and bring closure to the contest.
However the home side once again began to add points through Joe Phelan, James Young (2) and Joe Fitzpatrick to cut the deficit to 1-14 to 1-11, 15 minutes from the end.
However, points from David Bennett and sub Seamus Prendergast along with a goal from Walsh sealed victory for the Decies.
SCORERS - Waterford: M Walsh 1-5, J Mullane 1-3, D Bennett 0-6 (4f); K McGrath (65), E McGrath, S Prendergast 0-1 each. Laois: J Young 0-8 (6f), D Culleton 1-0, J Fitzpatrick, J Phelan 0-2 each, S Dollard 0-1.
Laois: P Mullaney; B Campion, P Cuddy, J Walsh; C Healy, P Mahon, M McEvoy; J Fitzpatrick, J Phelan; T Fitzgerald, J Young, S Dollard; D Culleton, M Rooney, D Carter. Subs: T Doran for Mullaney (inj) 32, G Delahunty for Carter 35, S Dwyer for Dollard 49, P Russell for Fitzgerald 69.
Waterford: C Hennessy; J Murray, K Moran, E Murphy; T Browne, D Prendergast, B Phelan; K McGrath, D Bennett; D Shanahan, E Kelly, S O'Sullivan; J Mullane, M Walsh, E McGrath. Subs: A Kearney for Murphy 22, S Prendergast for O'Sullivan 33, J Kennedy for Kelly 44, S Molumphy for Murray 51.
Referee: E Morris (Dublin)