Ross Munnelly rolled back the years as Laois defeated a wasteful Carlow for the second time in a week to be crowned Allianz Football League Division 4 champions at Croke Park.
The 2003 Leinster SFC medallist was ably assisted in the scoring stakes by Donie Kingston and Eoin Lowry on a day when John Sugrue's charges led from start to finish. Goalkeeper Graham Brody excelled at the other end as Laois claimed the local bragging rights and marked their return to Division 3 in fine style.
Munnelly was a late replacement for the Allianz League's leading scorer Gary Walsh, who was dropped following his controversial tweet about the rape trial involving Irish rugby internationals Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding, while Lowry started in place of Evan O'Carroll. Between them, they posted 0-7 in the first half to help the O'Moore County to a 0-10 to 0-5 interval lead after playing with the wind.
The winners had five points on the board through Munnelly (two), John O'Loughlin, Kingston and Kieran Lillis before a slow-starting Carlow finally opened their account in the 17th minute through Darragh Foley. Brendan Murphy and Sean Gannon followed up with a couple of excellent scores, but Turlough O'Brien's charges were undermined by poor finishing with free-taker Paul Broderick having an afternoon to forget. He did, however, finish with two late points.
A Lowry free extended Laois' lead to six points on the restart, but Carlow had halved the deficit (0-8 to 0-11) by the 46th minute thanks to efforts from Sean Murphy, Gannon and Foley.
Try as they might, they couldn't get any closer as Laois replied with points from Lowry and Munnelly. Ciaran Moran and Murphy had goal attempts blocked by Brody and Mark Timmons as Laois closed out the game with further scores from Kingston, Lowry and Munnelly.
Laois - G Brody; S Attride, M Timmons, G Dillon; T Collins, C Begley, R Pigott; J O'Loughlin (0-1), K Lillis (0-1); A Farrell (0-1), B Carroll, B Glynn; R Munnelly (0-4, 2f), D Kingston (0-5, 2f), E Lowry (0-3, 1f). Subs: D O'Reilly for B Carroll, D Strong for B Glynn, D Conway for R Munnelly, N Donoher for R Pigott, J Farrell for D Kingston, F Crowley for T Collins.
Carlow - R Molloy; C Crowley, S Redmond (0-1), M Rennick; J Morrissey, D St Ledger, C Moran; B Murphy (0-1), S Murphy (0-1); S Gannon (0-3), D Foley (0-3, 1f), E Ruth; P Broderick (0-2, 1f), D O'Brien, J Murphy. Subs: C Lawlor for M Rennick, D Walshe for D O'Brien, B Kavanagh for C Moran, K Nolan for J Morrissey, L Walker for J Murphy.
Referee - M McNally.
A special feeling. pic.twitter.com/cZiUez0Dfo- Laois GAA (@CLGLaois) March 31, 2018