Kelly salutes charges after Laois hold on
Laois 1-20 Antrim 1-19
Manager Eamonn Kelly breathed a sigh of relief after 14-man Laois survived a late comeback by Antrim in Dunloy to secure their first win of the competition.
Willie Dunphy's goal early in the second half proved crucial for Laois, who conceded 1-1 in injury time, having had Lee Cleere sent off for a foul on Nigel Elliott with 15 minutes remaining.
"These fellas are very genuine. We're training very well, but it hasn't been transferring from the training field to the match day and I'm delighted for them," said Kelly.
Antrim started better and led by 0-4 to 0-1 after 10 minutes but Laois clawed their way back into it, helped by poor Antrim defending, to lead 0-11 to 0-8 at half-time.
Ross King's accuracy from frees had put the Leinster side lead 1-20 to 0-18 ahead going into injury time. Clarke's goal then gave Antrim a glimmer of hope but James McNaughton's 75th-minute effort proved the last score of the game.
Scorers - Antrim: N McManus 0-11, (9f, 1 '65'), C Johnston 0-3, C Clarke 1-0, E McCloskey, N Elliott, D McKinley, C McCann, J McNaughton 0-1 each. Laois: R King 0-11 (10f), B Conroy 0-4, W Dunphy 1-1, P Purcell 0-2, C Dwyer and A Corby 0-1 each.
Antrim - R Elliott 7; S Rooney 6, J Dillon 7, A Graffin 6; P Burke 7, C McKinley 7, R McCambridge 6; E McCloskey 7, S McCrory 8; N Elliott 7, C Johnston 7, N McManus 8; D McKinley 7, C Carson 7, D McCloskey 6 Subs: J McNaughton 8 for R McCambridge (26), C McCann 8 for D McCloskey (26), N McAuley 7 for S Rooney (45), C Clarke 7 for D McKinley (49)
Laois - E Rowland 8; J Phelan 6, M Whelan 7, L Cleere 6; C Stapleton 7, J Ryan 8, R Mullaney 7; P Purcell 9, C Taylor 7; C Dwyer 7, B Conroy 8, C Comerford 7; R King 9, N Foyle 7, W Dunphy 7 Subs: E Killeen for J Phelan (blood, 9-16), S Maher 7 for C Taylor (60), P McKane 6 for W Dunphy (65), A Corby for N Foyle (69), E Killeen for C Dwyer (74)
Ref - J Heffernan (Wexford)