NFL Division 4: Laois 2-11 Sligo 0-11
A goal in each half and half a dozen points from sharpshooter Paul Kingston helped give Laois a winning start to life in Division Four when Billy Sheehan's charges had six points to spare against a disappointing Sligo, 2-11 to 0-11, at Markievicz Park.
Laois excelled in the opening half, with plenty of midfield possession through the diligence of Kieran Lillis and James Finn, stern defensive work and efficiency in attack giving them a 1-8 to 0-6 interval lead.
Eoin Lowry's 20th minute goal was a major score for the visitors, who also kicked five first-half wides, and they got players back to clog up the space that Sligo's dangerous forwards, Patrick O'Connor and Niall Murphy, would have wanted.
Sligo were much better for the opening 20 minutes of the rainy second-half and they got the gap down to two points, 1-8 to 0-9, and a fine save from goalkeeper Daniel Lyons – making his NFL debut – denied Laois a second goal when Evan O'Carroll seemed certain to score.
Laois woke up when Evan O'Carroll bagged a long-range free in the 57th minute – their first score since top scorer Paul Kingston's pointed free after 32 minutes – and they made certain of victory when substitute Lee Walker goaled with three minutes of normal time left.
Sligo, overall poor, applied some late pressure but they failed to create any meaningful goal chances and Sean Carrabine's fourth point, his side's 11th, was but a consolation in the fifth minute of stoppage time.
Scorers – Sligo: S Carrabine 0-4 (3f); P O'Connor, N Murphy (1f) 0-2 each; C Lally, D Quinn, D Cummins 0-1 each. Laois: P Kingston 0-6 (2f); E Lowry 1-1; L Walker 1-0; E O'Carroll 0-2 (1 'mark', 1f); N Corbet (1f), M Barry 0-1 each.
Sligo: D Lyons 6; N Mullen 5, E McGuinness 5, E Lyons 5; P Kilcoyne 5, D Cummins 6, L Nicholson 5; P Spillane 6, C Griffin 5; L Towey 5, S Carrabine 6, D Quinn 6; C Lally 6, P O’Connor 6, N Murphy 5. Subs: D Conlon 5 for Griffin (h-t), P McNamara 5 for Mullen (h-t), M Walsh 5 for Lyons (51), G O’Kelly-Lynch 5 for Spillane (55), A Reilly 4 for Nicholson (64).
Laois: S Osborne 6; S Greene 6, T Collins 6, R Piggott 6; S O’Flynn 6, M Timmons 6, B Byrne 6; K Lillis 7, J Finn 7; M Barry 6, P Kingston 8, P O’Sullivan 6; E Lowry 7, E O’Carroll 7, N Corbet 6. Subs: K Swayne 5 for Corbet (54), L Walker 6 for Lowry (66), B Daly 5 for O’Carroll (68), P Kirwan for Barry (70+2), C Doyle for O’Sullivan (70+4).
Referee: K Eannetta (Tyrone).