Monaghan complete Super 8s line-up despite goalkeeping masterclass from Laois' Graham Brody
Monaghan 0-19 Laois 1-11
A strong first-half display laid the foundations for Monaghan's advance to All-Ireland quarter-finals for the sixth time but they'll be disappointed at the manner in which they faded as Laois, buoyed by a shot-stopping masterclass from Graham Brody once again, pushed them hard after the break.
Monaghan led by 0-13 to 1-4 at half-time and looked comfortable but didn't score for long spells in the second half as Laois got a bounce from their bench and attacked with much greater purpose.
The match will be memorable most for Brody's heroics, saving six times from point-blank range to deny Monaghan a much greater advantage.
It completed a poor weekend for beaten provincial champions, three out of the four lost, but Laois can take heart from the way they finished with Colm Begley rolling back the years with a commanding performance from centre-back.
Monaghan had more class and athleticism though and were measured and composed in building up that first-half lead. The economy of their attacking play stood out, as they registered just two wides and dropping one short from 15 shots.
But that tally doesn't feature the three top class saves that Brody made, continuing on his rich vein of form as he thwarted Fintan Kelly, Ryan McAnespie and finally, with his best save from Conor McCarthy just when the half was about to close.
Laois couldn't get anything going through Donie Kingston who moved between full-forward and centre-forward but brother Paul finally got some space late in the half to plant a great goal after Evan O'Carroll, their liveliest forward, put him in.
But by then Monaghan were almost out of sight with Conor McManus delivering a couple of trademark scores from difficult angles, Rory Beggan nonchalantly coming up to knock over a long range free and 45 and Karl O'Connell slicing over off the outside of his right boot as Laois twice failed to pick him up.
When McManus pointed just after the break it looked like normal service would continue but Laois got impact from substitutes Benny Carroll and Niall Donoher especially and with Brody's help, managed to stay in.
The Laois goalkeeper pulled off further saves from Ryan McAnespie, McManus and O'Connell in the second half.
McManus was always a threat inside while Niall Kearns once again underlined his emergence at midfield while Drew and Ryan Wylie were dominant at times in defence.
Scorers - Monaghan: C McManus 0-5 (2fs), S Carey 0-3, R Beggan (1f, 1 45), K O'Connell, R McAnespie all 0-2 each, F Kelly, P McKenna, J McCarron, C McCarthy, N Kearns all 0-1 each.
Laois: E O'Carroll 0-4 (1f), D Kingston (2fs), R Munnelly (3fs) 0-3 each, P Kingston 1-0, C Begley 0-1.
Monaghan: R Beggan; K Duffy, D Wylie, R Wylie; K O'Connell, V Corey, C Walshe; N Kearns, D Hughes; R McAnespie, S Carey, F Kelly; J McCarron, C McCarthy, C McManus. Subs: D Mone for Corey (47), P McKenna for Kelly (47), K Hughes for McCarron (52), C Boyle for Walshe (57), N McAdam for D Hughes (62), D Malone for Carey ((69).
Laois: G Brody; D O'Connor, M Timmons, G Dillon; T Collins, C Begley, D Strong; J O'Loughlin, K Lillis; A Farrell, P Kingston, B Glynn; R Munnelly, D Kingston, E O'Carroll. Subs: B Carroll for Farrell (h-t), F Crowley for O'Loughlin inj (41), N Donoher for Glynn (46), E Lowry for P Kingston (49), S Nerney for Strong (66), G Walsh for Munnelly (68)
Referee: Derek O'Mahoney (Tipperary)