Maher inspires dominant Laois
LAOIS began their league campaign with a comfortable win over Kildare in Newbridge.
The visitors grabbed the initiative from the very early stages, and although Kildare got back to within four points with 10 minutes to play, the home side never really looked like they might close the gap.
The O'Moore men led by 0-6 to 0-1 after 15 minutes, but Kildare gained a foothold in the game when captain Paul Divilly beat Eoin Reilly in the Laois goal to divert Paudie Reidy's long ball into the net.
Laois were able to convert their dominance to scores, however, and a goal by Brian Dunne and point by Willie Hyland left them 1-10 to 1-4 ahead at half-time.
The game followed a similar pattern in the second half with Laois scoring more freely.
The Midlanders even overcame the 63rd-minute dismissal of Willie Dunphy.
Man of the Match: S Maher (Laois)
SCORERS – Laois: S Maher 0-9 (7f), W Hyland 0-4, B Dunne 1-0, M Whelan 0-2 (2 '65s), C Healy, Z Keena, T Fitzgerald, J Walsh 0-1 each.
Kildare: P Divilly 1-5 (4f, 1'65), R Hoban (1f, 1'65') G Keegan 0-2 each, M Moloney 0-1.
LAOIS: E Reilly 6; J Delaney 6, D Maher 6, B Campion 6; J Fitzpatrick 6, M Whelan 7, C Healy 7; J Walsh 7, S Dollard 6; B Dunne 7, Z Keenan 6, W Hyland 7; J Brophy 6, T Fitzgerald 6, S Maher 8. Subs: W Dunphy 4 for Dollard, (46), B Conroy 5 for Keenan, (67).
KILDARE: P McKenna 7; P Keegan 6, F O Muineachain 7, P Curtin 6; K Divilly 6, R Hoban 7, P Reidy 6; N O Muineachain 5, D Butler 5; M Moloney 6, P Divilly 5, R Kelly 5; T Murphy 5, D Kennedy 5, G Keegan 7. Subs: P Downey 5 for Kennedy (h-t), E O'Neill 6 for N O'Muineacháin (h-t), B Deay 5 for Murphy (37), C O'Hehir 5 for P Divilly (58).
REF – T Carroll (Offaly)