Wallace strikes late to rescue point for Royals
Meath 0-13 Laois 0-13
The competitive nature of Division 2 was borne out as Meath and Laois shared the spoils at Pairc Tailteann.
For Meath at least, who have high hopes of promotion, it was a point lost, despite snatching the equaliser with a late score from substitute Eamonn Wallace. The Royals surrendered a seven-point lead to a transformed Laois outfit seeking to build on an impressive first win of the campaign against Roscommon six days earlier.
With Mickey Newman contributing seven points, including five from placed balls, the Meath men enjoyed a 0-9 to 0-4 interval lead. It got even better at the start of the second half as Graham Reilly and Newman picked off two further scores to leave the hosts in a comfortable position.
However, Mick O'Dowd's charges then went scoreless for 25 minutes as Laois produced a storming response. John O'Loughlin and the Kingston siblings, Donie and sub Paul, were at the heart of that rousing revival during which the midlanders notched seven successive points to draw level, 0-11 apiece, by the 56th minute.
Meath regained the lead through Bryan Menton but crucially Laois got their noses ahead for the first time when captain Ross Munnelly converted a free on 64 minutes.
However, a surging run from Donal Keogan paid dividends for Meath less than two minutes from the end as the centre-back set up Wallace for the equaliser.
Afterwards Meath boss Mick O'Dowd expressed mixed feelings about the outcome."When you are seven points up two minutes into the second half, it looks like a point thrown away. To get an equaliser with 90 seconds remaining it feels like a point gained," he said.
"I'd give the lads a lot of credit, we lost Andrew Tormey and Bryan Menton to injuries in the closing stages so it was great that the players found a way to get an equaliser."
Laois boss Tomas O Flatharta wasn't too concerned with a five-point half-time deficit but said it looked more daunting when the gap opened to seven.
"John O'Loughlin brought us back into it and we also played much more intelligent football in the second half. It was very pleasing the way we performed in that second half but the lads themselves are disappointed that they didn't get the two points." Man of the Match: John O'Loughlin
SCORERS - Meath: M Newman 0-8 (6fs), B Menton 0-2, G Reilly, S Bray, E Wallace 0-1 each. Laois: D Kingston 0-5 (3fs), J O'Loughlin, P Kingston 0-2 each, D Strong ('45), B Quigley, C Boyle, R Munnelly (f) 0-1 each.
Meath - P O'Rourke 6; D Tobin 7, C McGill 7, M Burke 6; N Judge 6, D Keogan 7, B Power 6; B Menton 7 A Flanagan 6; G Reilly 7, P Harnan 6, A Tormey 7; M O'Sullivan 6, S Bray 6, M Newman 8. Subs: D Carroll 5 for Harnan (59), E Wallace 6 for O'Sullivan (60), J Wallace 5 for Tormey (62), S Tobin for Menton (65), S Carty for Judge (70).
Laois - G Brody 7; P Begley 6, M Timmons 7, G Hanrahan 5; D Strong 7, R Kehoe 7, C Begley 7; B Quigley 8, J O'Loughlin 9; N Donoher 7, C Boyle 7, G Dillon 6; R Munnelly 6, D Kingston 8, E O'Carroll 6. Subs: D O'Connor 6 for Hanrahan (10), P Kingston 7 for Dillon (24), T Shield 6 for O'Carroll (46), S Attride for Boyle (70).
Ref - M McNally (Monaghan)