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King screamer helps Laois to surge past 14-man Antrim

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Ross King celebrates scoring Laois' second goal late in the game

Ross King celebrates scoring Laois' second goal late in the game

SPORTSFILE

Laois' Zane Keenan celebrates scoring his side's first goal late in the second half

Laois' Zane Keenan celebrates scoring his side's first goal late in the second half

SPORTSFILE

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Ross King celebrates scoring Laois' second goal late in the game

Laois secured their status in Division 1B for 2016 after an eight-point win over 14-man Antrim.

Laois had gotten off to a bright start as Joe Campion, a late replacement for Matthew Whelan, fired over the bar from 20 yards out in the opening minute. Neil McManus levelled things up for Antrim soon after, but a quick-fire brace from Cha Dwyer gave Laois a lead they would not relinquish for the rest of the half.

Conor Carson and Paul Shiels (free) pointed either side of a Ross King effort for Laois, and the hosts started to take control after that as two Zane Keenan frees and Dwyer's third of the half pushed them four clear.

Despite playing into the strong breeze, Laois were well on top, but they let Antrim back into it when Neil McManus' long ball into the penalty area was fumbled by Enda Rowland, and Ciaran Clarke tapped the sliotar to an empty net.

Responded

That should have been the jolt that Antrim needed, but it was Laois who responded better, with Zane Keenan, and his free-taking, coming to the fore. He added three more before half-time as Laois took a 0-13 to 1-6 lead into the dressing rooms.

The hosts came out and hit the first two points of the second half to seemingly take a stranglehold on the game, but Antrim dug their heels in after that.

They hit three points in a row to set themselves up, and even Ryan McCambridge's dismissal on a straight red for an off-the-ball foul on Willie Hyland couldn't derail them.

If anything, McCambridge's dismissal upset Laois, as they lost their shape around that time and didn't look like getting it back any time soon.

Ciaran Clarke blazed over from 14 yards out and a Paul Shiels free reduced the gap to one point. Keenan hit back for Laois but Clarke and Daniel McKernan levelled the game with five minutes to go.

That was the prompt Laois needed, and they kicked for home then as two goals, one from Zane Keenan and screamer from Ross King, allowed them to run out winners by a flattering eight-point margin at the end.

Man of the Match: Joe Fitzpatrick

Scorers - Laois: Z Keenan 1-6 (6f), R King 1-2, C Dwyer, PJ Scully 0-3 each, J Campion 0-2, P Whelan, W Hyland 0-1 each. Antrim: C Clarke 1-5(4f), P Shiels 0-3f, O McFadden, N McManus, E Campbell, C Carson, D McKernan 0-1 each

Laois - E Rowland 6; JA Delaney 6, C Healy 8, C Dunne 6; J Fitzpatrick 8, J Walsh 6, P Whelan 7; Z Keenan 7, P Purcell 7; W Hyland 7, J Campion 7, C Dwyer 7; R King 7, T Fitzgerald 6, PJ Scully 7. Subs: D Palmer 7 for P Purcell (56), J Purcell 6 for Fitzgerald (62), B Conroy for Walsh (68).

Antrim - C O'Connell 7; R McCambridge 5, N McAuley 6, A Graffin 6; S McCrory 5, P Shiels 7, O McFadden 6; C Johnson 6, M Bradley 7; E Campbell 6, C Carson 5, N McManus 6; C Clarke 8, PJ O'Connell 6, C Johnston 6. Subs: T McCann 5 for McCrory (26), D McKernan 7 for Johnson (49), M Donnelly 6 for McCann (49).

Ref - D Hughes (Carlow)

Indo Sport