Kielt pegs back Laois in thrilling draw
Laois 1-22 Derry 5-10
A late James Kielt point secured a share of the spoils for Derry in O'Moore Park after an epic contest.
Laois got off to a perfect start thanks to Paul Kingston, who punished a mistake from Thomas Mallon to stab home a goal after just 25 seconds. Paul Cahillane added a free moments later, with Ryan Bell opening Derry's account from a free.
There was an eight-minute break in play after that as Laois' Kieran Lillis suffered a nasty looking leg injury, and when play resumed Derry raised their game. Daniel Heavron got forward from wing-back to goal as the visitors got within one point of the hosts.
That prompted a response from Laois and they opened up a five-point lead, with John O'Loughlin getting three scores. As a sizeable amount of injury time ticked away, however, Derry were awarded a penalty, which Shane Heavron rocketed to the top corner, leaving Laois 1-10 to 2-6 in front at the interval.
Two points early in the second half put Laois three ahead, but then Christopher Bradley fired in a goal to get Derry back into it. That set the tone for a manic second half, as Laois built a lead and Derry reeled them in with goals.
Evan O'Carroll, introduced for the injured Lillis, was having a stormer in the Laois full-forward line. He landed a couple of long-range frees to get the hosts back on the front foot, but an incisive Derry move cut through a packed Laois defence and ended with Bradley firing in his second goal.
That left one between the sides, but again Laois dug deep and fought their way back into a strong position. Donie Kingston and Niall Donoher pointed to send them three clear again, and with time running out, they looked to have done enough.
That wasn't the case though, as Daniel Heavron's deflected effort found the Laois net, and the sides were level going into injury time. Conor Meredith briefly gave Laois the lead, but Derry poured forward from the kick out, and Kielt held his nerve from 30 yards out to kick the equaliser.
SCORERS - Laois: J O'Loughlin, E O'Carroll (3fs) 0-5 each, P Kingston 1-0, D Strong, N Donoher, D Kingston (f), P Cahillane (2fs) 0-2 each, C Meredith, G Walsh 0-1 each. Derry: C Bradley 2-1, D Heavron 2-0, S Heavron 1-2 (1-0p, 2f), R Bell 0-3fs, E Bradley, O Duff, C O'Boyle, J Kielt 0-1 each.
LAOIS - G Brody 5; R Kehoe 6, M Timmons 7, P Cotter 6; D Strong 7, C Begley 6, G Dillon 6; K Lillis 6, B Quigley 8; C Meredith 6, J O'Loughlin 8, N Donoher 7; P Kingston 6, D Kingston 7, P Cahillane 6. Reps: E O'Carroll 8 for Lillis (10, inj), S Attride 7 for Kehoe (35+7, BC), G Walsh 7 for P Kingston (ht), D O'Reilly 6 for Cahillane (58), A Farrell for Cotter (62).
DERRY - T Mallon 7; O Duff 6, C McKaigue 6, K McKaigue 6; G McKinless 6, B Rogers 7, D Heavron 8; N Holly 6, E Bradley 6; R Bell 6, C Bradley 7, B Heron 6; S Heavron 7, E McGuckin 6, SL McGoldrick 6. Reps: C McAtamney 6 for Holly (30), M Lynch 7 for E Bradley (ht), C O'Boyle 6 for McGuckin (41), J Kielt 7 for Bell (49), C Murphy 6 for Heron (58), D McKinless for S Heavron (63).
Ref - A Nolan (Wicklow)