Shane Dooley delivers 1-14 for the Faithful county
Offaly 1-24 Laois 0-23
Offaly avenged last year's opening round league defeat to Laois when they overcame their neighbours in a rip-roaring clash at O'Moore Park.
Shane Dooley was the difference between the teams at the final whistle, contributing a whopping 1-14 to the winning tally. But the hosts, who played the last 20 minutes with 14 men after Tom Delaney picked up a straight red card, gave as good as they got for most of the match.
Zane Keenan notched 0-10 and also saw two late penalties blocked on the line. Cha Dwyer was heroic for the losers, too, registering 0-6 from play.
Late points from Keenan (2) and Dwyer had the O'Moore County in touch at the short whistle, 0-14 to 0-11. Prior to that, the winners hit four in a row and six points out of seven to move into a six-point lead.
Just a point separated the sides after 20 minutes, Offaly leading by the odd point from 15 after Keenan had earned and converted a Laois free. The hosts had led by 0-6 to 0-4 before Dooley (2), Joe Bergin and Paddy Murphy hit four in quick succession for the Faithful County. This was a high-energy match which could have gone either way.
In the end, Dooley's incredible accuracy decided it, when he caught the Laois rearguard unaware by opting to go for the net from a long-range free. Offaly moved seven points clear, 1-17 to 0-13, but Laois twice pegged them back to two points in an unforgettable contest.
Scorers - Offaly: S Dooley 1-14 (1-10f), S Kinsella 0-3, J Bergin, P Murphy, S Ryan 0-2 each, C Kiely 0-1. Laois: Z Keenan 0-10 (0-7f, 0-1 '65'), C Dwyer 0-6, W Hyland 0-3, N Foyle 0-2, J Campion, P Purcell 0-1 each.
Laois: E Rowland; B Stapleton, C Healy, JA Delaney; J Fitzpatrick, M Whelan, T Delaney; P Purcell, J Campion; C Dwyer, W Hyland, Z Keenan; T Fitzgerald, R King, N Foyle. Subs: S Maher for Foyle (42), PJ Scully for Campion (52), D Palmer for Fitzgerald (55), B Conroy for King (65).
Offaly: J Dempsey; N Wynne, D Shortt, S Egan; E Nolan, C Egan, D Mooney; S Ryan, P Camon; D Currams, S Kinsella, P Murphy; S Dooley, J Bergin, S Quirke. Subs: C Kiely for Camon (51), S Cleary for Kinsella (65), G Mann for Ryan (68), C Mulrooney for Murphy (70+1).
Referee: Alan Kelly (Galway)
Sunday Indo Sport