Grimes' double act has Louth on song
They needed a bizarre goal from Conor Grimes right at the death to seal it, but Louth were deserving victors in Portlaoise on Saturday.
The Wee County had a strong spine, with fine performances from midfielders Robert McCabe and Martin Breen.
Grimes' two second-half goals built on their efforts in the opening half -- they led by 0-3 to 0-2 at the break, despite playing into a strong wind.
A 36th-minute Paul Kingston goal, after brilliant work from Stephen Attrite, barely knocked Louth out of their stride and they hit back with goals of their own from Conall McKeever and Grimes.
That pushed them five points clear, but Laois hit four points on the trot courtesy of a brace of Dan Dunne frees and scores from Martin Scully and his replacement Alan Farrell.
That left just a point in it with five minutes of normal time remaining.
But Grimes eased Louth's nerves when his toe-poked shot somehow looped over the defenders and just across the line.
The excellent Ciaran Byrne followed up with two points to secure a semi-final date with Meath.
Scorers -- Louth: C Grimes 2-0, C Byrne 0-5 (2f), C McKeever 1-1. Laois: P Kingston 1-1(1f), D Dunne 0-2f, S Attrite, M Scully, A Farrell 0-1 each.
Louth -- J Mulholland; N McCabe, D Campbell, M Kane; C Bellew, D Grimes, D McMahon; R McCabe, M Breen; S Thornton, J Horan, C Smyth; C McKeever, C Grimes, C Byrne. Subs: F Sheridan for Thornton (47), P Reilly for Horan (52).
Laois -- G Brody; M Cahill, J Hearn, E George; P Murphy, P McEvoy, D Dunne; M Campion, K Bracken; M Scully, E Costello, S Attrite; B Kenna, L McGovern, P Kingston. Subs: J Campion for McGovern (28), N Mullen for Kenna (h-t), A Farrell for Scully (53).
Ref -- J Hickey (Carlow).