O'Rourke hails courage of Armagh's match-winner Henderson
A point from Ryan Henderson with the last kick of the game secured a hard-earned win for Armagh in Portlaoise.
Armagh manager Paddy O'Rourke was thrilled with the match-winning hero, who had moments earlier squandered an even better chance.
"I thought Ryan showed great courage," said O'Rourke outside the winning dressing-room afterwards. "He was after missing two good chances just before that, but he didn't hesitate in going for it and it's a good win for us because we knew it wasn't going to be easy here."
Henderson's winner was the final action of a thrilling second half that saw Laois come back twice after Armagh had pulled clear. The home side drew level with three minutes remaining when full-back Mark Timmons came up the field to fire over. Timmons had a chance to win the game himself moments later, but his rushed effort tailed wide.
It was a hard blow for Laois as they had played some superb football to reel in a four-point half-time deficit (0-9 to 0-5) to be level by the 45th minute. And although Armagh pulled away again to go three up, Laois fought back once more with three points on the trot from Darren Strong, Donie Kingston and Timmons.
With Steven McDonnell in top form again, Armagh had the better of the opening half and even shrugged off the dismissal of sub Vinny Martin to outscore Laois by 0-4 to 0-2 in the 10 minutes before the break.
Laois' numerical advantage was wiped out just before the break when Kevin Meaney picked up his second yellow card after clashing with Aaron Kernan.
At that stage Armagh looked well placed to kick on, but Laois upped the tempo in the second half before falling just short late on.
Laois manager Sean Dempsey was disappointed afterwards, but was happy that his side showed considerable improvement from their 15-point loss to Donegal in the last round.
"They're very disappointed in there because they know they were close," he said "But I was very happy with the performance and I think we were very unlucky not to get at least a draw out of it."
SCORERS -- Armagh: S McDonnell 0-7 (0-2f, 0-1 '45), R Henderson 0-3, A Kernan (0-1f), J Lavery, M Mackin 0-1 each. Laois: M Tierney 0-3 (0-3f), D Kingston 0-2 (0-1f), M Timmons, D Strong, C Healy, C Begley, B Sheehan, P Lawlor, P O'Leary 0-1 each.
ARMAGH -- P McEvoy; A Mallon, B Donaghy, P Duffy; K Dyas, C McKeever, F Moriarty; J Lavery, K Toner; J Feeney, A Kernan, M Mackin; S McDonnell, R Clarke, R Henderson. Subs: V Martin for Dyas (20), B Mallon for Clarke (61), M McNamee for Mackin (67), R Austin for Lavery (69).
LAOIS -- M Dowling; J Scully, M Timmons, P McMahon; D Strong, C Healy, C Begley; B Quigley, C Og Greene; B Sheehan, P O'Leary, K Meaney; M Tierney, P Lawlor, N Donoher. Subs: D Kingston for Lawlor (h-t), C Rogers for Donoher (56), D Rooney for Greene (57).
Ref -- R Hickey (Clare).
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