Laois 0-16 Armagh 0-10
Laois proved too good for Armagh in Portlaoise last night as they picked up their first win under new boss Mike Quirke. After snatching a dramatic late draw against Roscommon last time out, the home side made sure they had things wrapped up long before the final whistle.
In a cagey start, the first meaningful chance took four minutes to arrive. Laois' Colm Murphy tried to fist a ball to the net, only to see it trickle just wide. Undaunted, the home side took the lead soon after when Evan O'Carroll slotted over a free after a foul on Eoin Lowry.
Armagh replied with a sweetly struck 45 from Rian O'Neill, and that was about the only moment of note from the Orchard men in the half. Michael Keogh put Laois back in front with a brilliant score from the right wing, and then Mark Barry doubled their lead with a free.
Armagh were defending deep and attacking poorly, with Paul Grimley's fisted point in the 21st minute their only score from play. Laois took a while to pick their way around the rearguard, but long diagonal balls to O'Carroll and off-the-ball running, saw them build a lead. O'Carroll added a brace before corner-back Brian Byrne loped up the field to round off a nice move with a point from close range. Kieran Lillis then made it a five-point lead before, in injury time, Laois full-back Mark Timmons started a superb move that ended with him drilling a point between the posts. The home side led 0-8 to 0-2 at the break.
Armagh improved on the restart, although Laois scored first thanks to a Mark Barry free. Armagh came roaring back though, starting with a point from Conor Turbitt. That lifted the crowd and Rian O'Neill followed it up with three points from frees to get them back into it.
That was as good as it got. Laois wrestled back control and O'Carroll and Barry came up with scores whenever they needed them to keep ahead, from frees or play.
Scorers - Laois: M Barry 0-7 (6f), E O'Carroll 0-5 (3f), K Lillis, B Byrne, M Timmons, M Keogh 0-1 each. Armagh: R O'Neill 0-5 (3f, 45), J Clarke 0-2f, J Óg Burns, C Turbitt, N Grimley 0-1 each.
Laois: N Corbet; B Byrne, M Timmons, G Hanrahan; S O'Flynn, R Pigott, P O'Sullivan; J O'Loughlin, K Lillis; S Byrne, M Barry, E Lowry; M Keogh, C Murphy, E O'Carroll. Subs: T Collins for Keogh (46), D O'Connor for S Byrne (60), R Munnelly for Murphy (66), C Healy for B Byrne (69), D Connolly for Pigott (70)
Armagh: B Hughes; P Burns, B Donaghy, A McKay; G McCabe, C O'Neill, S Sheridan; N Grimley, O O'Neill; J Duffy, M Shields, C Cumiskey; C Turbitt, R O'Neill, S Campbell. Subs: A Nugent for Shields (29), J Óg Burns for Duffy (ht), J McElroy for McCabe (46), J Hall for Cumiskey (56), J Clarke for O O'Neill (60)
Referee: J Henry (Mayo)
Sunday Indo Sport