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Game at a glance

Man of the match

Neil McManus (Antrim)

The Antrim full-forward not only top-scored on 0-10 (8f) but won countless ball and showed massive leadership once moved out to midfield where he totally bossed the game.

Turning point

The dismissal of Antrim wing-back Neil McAuley. It actually seemed to spur Antrim on and make Laois, bizarrely, just retreat into their shell.

Talking point

Why did Laois leave the spare man in their full-back line when Antrim were cleaning up in midfield and scoring freely from long range?

Ref watch

Alan Kelly (Galway) had an excellent game and worked very well with his umpires and linesmen throughout, correctly overruling the former at one stage to give an Antrim score.

What they said

Dinny Cahill (Antrim manager):

"When we lost the man we had the elements behind us, and we'd have been delighted to go in only a few points down at half-time. It wasn't a big mountain to climb."

Brendan Fennelly (Laois manager):

"It took us 15 minutes to settle with the breeze, which we couldn't afford, and that cost us dearly. We'd lost two vital players before the game and two more at the start of the second half."

Match statistics

Wides: Antrim 9 (5); Laois 13 (8)

Frees: Antrim 13 (8); Laois 11 (5)

Yellow cards: Antrim 1 (Michael Herron 72); Laois 3 (J Delaney 39, B Stapleton 55, S Bourke 72)

Red Cards: Antrim 1 (N McAuley 40); Laois 0

Attendance: 5,000 (approx)

What next?

Antrim play Wexford in Wexford Park on May 29 while Laois go into the All-Ireland Qualifiers, which begin on June 18

Irish Independent