Allianz NFL Division 2: Laois 0-16 Armagh 0-10
Laois proved too good for Armagh in MW Hire O'Moore Park 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 here.
Armagh provided sporadic resistance,but were ultimately outplayed by a strong Laois performance.
In a cagey start to the game we had to wait four minutes for a meaningful chance, when 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 first half.
Michael Keogh put Laois back in front with a brilliant score from out on 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 Armagh rearguard, but long diagonal balls to Evan O’Carroll, coupled with some good off-the-ball running, soon saw them build a lead.
Evan 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, injury time, Laois full-back Mark Timmons started a superb move that ended with him drilling a point between the posts from way out on the right wing. The home side lead 0-8 to 0-2 at the break.
Armagh needed to improve on the restart and they duly did, 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 right back into it.
That, as it turned out, was as good as it got. Laois managed to wrestle back control of the game, quieting the Armagh support in the process.
Up front, Evan O'Carroll and Mark Barry took over and whether it was from play or from frees, they same up with scores whenever they needed them to keep them ahead, as they ran out six-point winners.
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).
They don't talk now and there's little sign that they ever will again. But the defensive union of Davy Fitzgerald and Brian Lohan once stood as a living synthesis of everything Clare became under Ger Loughnane. Together, they were nerveless, ruthless and, broadly, unburdened by scruple.