Lethal Walsh gives Laois cushion to hold off Leitrim
Laois 3-16 Leitrim 3-10
A Scoring blitz at the start of each half secured a comfortable victory for an impressive Laois in a high-scoring and entertaining clash at Carrick-on-Shannon.
Evan O'Carroll's opening score within a minute was followed up by two further Laois points before a Keith Beirne free opened the Leitrim account in the sixth minute.
A superb Trevor Collins goal a minute later extended the visitors lead. A penalty miss by Leitrim in the 30th minute proved costly and Laois led 1-7 to 0-5 at the interval.
Another strong opening resulted in four unanswered points sandwiching a second Laois goal by Eoin Lowry. Leitrim's woes were compounded with a third goal by Gary Walsh - who finished with 1-8 - to give the visitors a 15-point lead.
Leitrim, though, fought back, with substitute Darragh Rooney finding the net 12 minutes from time. Rooney fired in a penalty in the 64th minute to rattle Laois, but the visitors had a big enough cushion.
SCORERS - Laois: G Walsh 1-8 (0-6fs), E Lowry 1-1 (1-0pen), T Collins 1-0, E O'Carroll 0-3, P Kingston, R Munnelly 0-2 each. Leitrim: K Beirne 0-8 (6fs), D Rooney 2-1 (1-0 pen), R O'Rourke 1-0, B Gallagher 0-1.
LEITRIM - D McKiernan 7; J Mitchell 6, M McWeeney 6, M Murphy 6; D McGovern 6, K Keegan 7, O Madden 6; D Wrynn 7, C Moreton 6; C Gaffney 6, R O'Rourke 8, B Gallagher 7; A Flynn 6, K Beirne 8, J Rooney 6. Subs: D Rooney 9 for C Moreton HT, E Ward 6 for A Flynn (45), J Heslin 7 for B Gallagher (50), N Plunkett 6 for M Murphy (57), D Moran 7 for D Wrynn (57), K McGloin for C Gaffney (60).
LAOIS - G Brody 6; D Holland 8, S Nerney 6, R Fennell 7; T Collins 7, C Begley 7, G Dillon 6; J O'Loughlin 8, D O'Reilly 7; A Farrell 6, P Kingston 8, B Glynn 6; E Lowry 7, G Walsh 9, E O'Carroll 8. Subs: N Donoher 6 for B Glynn HT, R Munnelly 7 for E Lowry (47), A Dowling 5 for A Farrell (50), K Lillie 5 for D O'Reilly (50), R Donohue 5 for D Holland (55), J Farrell for C Begley (60).
REF - B Judge (Sligo).