Inspirational Kirwin puts seal on Laois fightback
Laois1-14 Kildare 2-10
Man of the match Adam Kirwin scored two late points as Laois turned this Leinster MHC game on its head in St Conleth's Park on Saturday.
After a close opening 20 minutes, David Qualter's 23rd-minute goal helped the home side into a 1-7 to 0-9 half-time lead in what was a nip-and-tuck battle from the first whistle.
Kildare dominated the early stages of the second half and a brilliant individual goal in the 37th minute by Qualter, followed by a Jack Higgins point a minute later, put them five points clear - but they only scored one further point as Kirwin led the turnaround for Laois.
His 40th-minute cross into the goalmouth was deflected into the Kildare net by Seán Conway and Laois levelled things by the 48th minute after Kirwin and Thomas Keyes scored.
Qualter put the hosts ahead for the final time in the 55th minute and they seemed to have the momentum but Kirwin's late brace of points proved decisive as Laois picked up their second win of the championship in hard-earned fashion.
Scorers - Laois: A Kirwin 1-5 (5f), D Delaney 0-3f, DJ O'Callaghan, T Keyes 0-2 each, C Conroy, Cathal O'Shaughnessy 0-1 each. Kildare: D Qualter 2-4 (3f), J Higgins, C McCabe (1f) 0-2 each, A Hackett (f), D Melville 0-1 each.
LAOIS - F Cuddy; N Fitzpatrick, D Brennan, I Shanahan, C Conroy, F Mahony; B Bredin, T Keyes; T Cuddy, J Duggan, D Dooley; D Delaney, A Kirwin, Cathal O'Shaughnessy, DJ O'Callaghan. Subs: E Naughten for O'Callaghan (35); L Obular for Fitzpatrick (41); Cian O'Shaughnessy for Conor O'Shaughnessy (42); K Mulhall for Delaney (43).
KILDARE - A Hackett; P O'Donoghue, S Conway, Matthew Eustace; C O'Donovan, C Shanahan, P Dolan; E Kelliher, C Boran; F O'Sullivan, J Higgins, C McCabe; D Melville, R Stapleton, D Qualter. Subs: D McMahon for Kelliher (41); A O'Brien for O'Sullivan (55).
REF - J Deehan (Offaly)