King scoring masterclass sees Laois past Antrim
Laois 0-27 Antrim 2-16
Laois captain Ross King pointed his side to a crucial victory over Antrim on Saturday night in Division 1B.
King was flawless from placed balls all night, scoring 13 frees and one 65, adding another point from play to finish with a total of 0-15 for the night.
Both teams had come into the game on the back of two positive losses each, as they had impressed against more vaunted opposition in this division. However, when they came face-to-face in O'Moore Park it was Laois who had that bit too much for the visitors.
They had started brightly, with the returning Cha Dwyer putting them ahead in the second minute. Laois bossed possession in the early stages, but four wides in the opening four minutes denied them the chance to pull ahead early on.
Antrim took advantage of that profligacy, and the excellent Neil McManus rattled off four points in a row, two each from frees and from play, to see his team into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead after 12 minutes.
Laois finally dialled in on the target after that, and captain King hit three frees without reply to level the scores. With momentum building, Laois pressed forward, and Dwyer hit his second before Neil Foyle and King (free) made it six in succession.
Another McManus free got Antrim back into it, but having regained the lead, Laois would not trail again for the rest of the game.
James Ryan and debutant Ciaran Comerford raised further white flags for Laois, but Antrim had another good spell after that. They scored three more points, the pick of them a wonderful solo effort from Nigel Elliott after a bustling run down the right wing.
However, with half-time in sight, Laois produced a kick. They scored the last four points of the half, two each from King and goalkeeper Enda Rowland, all from frees, to lead 0-13 to 0-8 at the break.
They continued that good form when play resumed, and scores from Paddy Purcell and King (2) meant Laois were ahead 0-16 to 0-8, and Antrim looked a beaten side.
They finally sprung to life when sub Eoghan Campbell got on the end of a long ball from Neil McManus to hit the net, but it failed to spark any serious comeback.
King kept Laois at arm's length, with Nigel Elliott adding a late consolation goal for Antrim.
Scorers - Laois: R King 0-15 (13f, 65), E Rowland (2f), C Dwyer, J Ryan, N Foyle 0-2 each, M Kavanagh, P Purcell, C Comerford, S Downey 0-1 each. Antrim: N McManus 0-11 (9f), E Campbell, N Elliott 1-1 each, C Johnston, N McAuley, M Connolly 0-1 each.
Laois - E Rowland 8; D Hartnett 7, L Bergin 7, L Cleere 7; P Lawlor 6, M Whelan 6, E Killeen 7; J Ryan 7, P Purcell 7; B Conroy 6, C Dwyer 6, W Dunphy 6; R King 8, N Foyle 7, C Comerford 6. Subs: J Phelan 6 for Killeen (50), M Kavanagh 6 for Comerford (54 mins), S Downey 7 for Foyle (58 mins), C Taylor 6 for Conroy (62 mins), J Kelly for Dunphy (65 mins)
Antrim - C O'Connell 7; A Graffin 6, J Dillon 6, P Burke 6; R McCambridge 7, N McAuley 7, D Kearney 6; J Maskey 6, C McKinley 6; N Elliott 7, N McManus 8, D McKinley 6; J McNaughton 6, C McCann 6, C Johnston 7. Subs: E Campbell 7 for McCann (ht), C Carson 7 for McNaughton (43), S Rooney 6 for Kearney (45 mins), G Walsh 6 for Maskey (47 mins), M Connelly 6 for McKinley (47 mins)
Ref - J Murphy (Limerick)