Derry 1-15 Laois 0-6
A two-goal salvo from wing back Zac Tuohy earned Laois a dramatic share of the spoils in an absorbing All-Ireland minor football semi-final at Croke Park.
Tuohy struck for the first time 12 minutes into the second-half with a low left-footed drive after being set up by Donal Kingston, who also shot a point from a '45' four minutes from time.
At half-time, the Leinster champions trailed by 0-4 to 0-10, but Tuohy's clinical strike left them just 1-7 to 0-11 adrift.
However, in the ensuing 11 minutes the Ulster runners up seemed to have booked a final showdown with Galway when they pulled 1-15 to 1-7 in front.
Laois bravely stormed back with four points on the trot, and Tuohy's second goal left just the minimum margin between the sides with three minutes of additional time remaining.
On this occasion, the Portlaoise lad was placed by Conor Meredith, and from about 20m out he unleashed a bullet-like drive into the top right corner.
Almost immediately Kingston levelled with a left-footed point from long range to ensure another meeting between the two sides.
"I thought the game had gone away from us when Laois went eight points up with only about seven minutes of the 60 remaining," admitted Laois boss Eddie Kelly.
"But just like in the Leinster championship against Dublin when we were six points down with about 20 minutes left at Parnell Park, these lads never give up. We played well in the second half, but our first-half performance was definitely not up to scratch, and we failed to match the intensity of Derry's play. So we will have to step up our performance considerably the next day.''
Derry manager Niall Conway remarked: "Perhaps our lads thought that we were in the final already when we went eight points up. At that stage our concentration definitely slipped and Laois punished our slackness around the field.
"What we wanted was somebody to win the ball in the middle of the field and carry it forward, but unfortunately we didn't manage to do that.''
Christopher McKaigue and Cailean O'Boyle ruling the roost at midfield, Aidan Heron, Declan Mullan and Lee Moore sparkling up front, Derry were the more cohesive and inventive side in the early stages, and after 14 minutes they had raced into 0-6 0-2 lead.
Eddie Kelly Jnr, son of the Laois manager, pointed for the O'Moore County on 16 minutes, but the opposition's response was decisive with James Keilt supplying two points and McKaigue and Moore contributing one each to leave Derry leading 0-10 to 0-3 on 28 minutes.
On 53 minutes Moore struck what appeared to be the crucial blow for the Ulster side when he beat Laois goalkeeper Conor O'Shea with a low drive, after been sent a beautiful pass from sub Lee Kennedy, to leave Derry leading 1-15 to 1-7.
SCORERS -- Derry: L Moore 1-3 (0-1f), D Mullan, A Heron, J Keilt (2f) 0-3 each, C McKaigue 0-2, G McGeehan 0-1. Laois: Tuohy 2-1 (0-1 '45'), D Kingston 0-6 (3f), C Meredith, K Farrell 0-2 each, E Kelly 0-1.
DERRY -- A Warnock, M McKinney, C McWilliams, D Bell, B Henry, J F Bradley, N Forrester, C McKaigue, C O'Boyle, S Cleary, A Heron, D Mullan, J Keilt, G McGeehan, L Moore. Subs: L Kennedy for Cleary 35, L Morrow for Bell 46, P Heaney for O'Boyle 50, D Heavron for McGeehan 56
LAOIS -- C O'Shea, R Keohe, J Mulhare, J O'Connor, K Lillis, C Boyle, Z Tuohy, D Lowry, J O'Loughlin, S Ramsbottom, E Kelly, B Smith, J Doyle, C Meredith, D Kingston. Subs: K Farrell for Lowry 22, B Glenn for Kelly 54, K Hyland for Doyle 54, S Miller for Smith 59.
REFEREE -- R Hickey (Clare)